Facing what they consider “threats” from American culture, prominent Cath olic, evangelical and Orthodox leaders are vowing unspecified civil disobedience against abortion, same-sex marriage and limits on religious liberty.
The status quo on federal abortion funding leaves a lot to be desired, and not just for abortion-rights hardliners. Current law offers antiabortion citizens the peace of knowing that while abortion may be legal, at least their taxes aren't paying for it. In exchange for these clean hands, Americans get a system in which women who rely on the federal safety net for their health coverage don't have access to abortion, while women of greater means do. The Stupak Amendment to the House's health-insurance bill would make this inequality worse.
A rise in contraceptive use has led to a decline in unwanted pregnancies and consequently a decline in abortions worldwide—from 45.5 million procedures in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003, according to a study released by the Guttmacher Institute.
The presiding bishop of the historically black Church of God in Christ, one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the U.S., has announced that its leadership supports the White House healthcare reform proposals, including an optional government-run plan.
In 1984 Ronald Reagan declared that no U.S. foreign aid money would be sent to organizations that perform abortions, provide counseling and referral for abortions, or lobby to make abortions legal or more available. This policy, often referred to as the gag rule, was rescinded by Bill Clinton, reinstated under George W. Bush, then canceled again by Barack Obama. As it’s swung back and forth for the last 25 years, this pendulum of policy on international family planning and women’s health has resulted in unnecessary tragedy. Many health clinics have closed, with women and children as the first to lose.
The 690-member Refor mation Lutheran congregation in Wichita, a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was “shocked by the violent murder” of physician George Tiller, 67, a “longtime member,” who was serving as an usher when he was killed on May 31.
The setting of the murder of physician George Tiller—a Sunday morning inside the Lutheran church where he was a member—counters the image of late-term abortion providers as secularists, casting him more as a churchgoing martyr than a godless murderer.
The murder of abortion provider George Tiller prompts me to do something I do not like to do—venture into the issue of abortion. My hesitation is not because I do not have a position. I do. I believe that matters of reproductive rights and responsibilities are most appropriately left to the woman who is pregnant, her religious and moral conscience and her physician.