Magazine article The Christian Century

Pro-Choice Perspective

Magazine article The Christian Century

Pro-Choice Perspective

Article excerpt

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. I believe that the father of the child has a role in the conversation and that the state has a stake in the issue. I do not want abortion to be totally unregulated. But the primary place for difficult decisions in this area is with the woman, her God and her physician. I support Roe v. Wade and I contribute to Planned Parenthood, which provides desperately needed reproductive health services, including abortion, to women who otherwise would not receive them. I do not hide my convictions; nor do I parade them. People I know and respect do not share my convictions, and they oppose abortion with the same moral passion with which I defend freedom of choice.

I have had experiences, certainly not unique to me, that have been instructive. I have counseled couples for whom the wife's pregnancy included a seriously impaired fetus with virtually no possibility of survival, let alone a meaningful life. I am the proud grandfather of a magnificent granddaughter with Down syndrome who blesses her parents and grandparents, her congregation and friends simply by being who she is. I have never had a conversation about abortion that was not exquisitely painful for the pregnant woman, nor one in which moral conscience was not very much at the heart.

When I heard the news of Tiller's murder I made two telephone calls. The first was to my brother Bill, who is county manager in Sedgwick, Kansas, whose jail is holding Tiller's accused killer. Bill's pastor was organizing an interfaith service of reconciliation--for which she is being denounced by abortion opponents who regard Tiller's murder as justifiable homicide. …

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