July 30, 2006
Religion Is Changing the Terms of the Abortion Debate--For the Better
The July 30 Boston Globe reports on the growing influence of the Religious
Coalition for Reproductive Choice in the policy and political arenas. The
article is titled "Pious and Pro- choice," but the subtitle is more
to the point: "The abortion rights movement rediscovers religion."
Journalist Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow reports that the debate about abortion is
changing, and for the better. The religious pro-choice movement's "emphasis
on conscience and morality has begun to seep into the traditional abortion-rights
movement, and their increasingly active role has the potential to change the
terms of the abortion debate- -for both sides."
In short, the religious pro- choice perspective grounds its understanding
of abortion in the Bible, is frank about acknowledging the moral complexity
of abortion, and stresses education and prevention.
In the antiabortion view, life begins at conception. Abortion opponents cite
passages such as Jeremiah 1:5: ``Before you came forth out of the womb, I
sanctified you." Yet the religious pro-choice movement points out that
the Bible distinguishes between a person and a fetus. Exodus 21:22-25, for
instance, stipulates the punishment for accidental harm done to a pregnant
woman. If she miscarries as a result, a fine is owed to her husband. If she
herself suffers injury or death, however, ``the penalty shall be life for
life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth."
RCRC does not present these biblical readings to promote abortion, but to
affirm that it is an option, says Reverend Carlton W. Veazey, president of
the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The movement works toward
what it calls true ``reproductive choice," envisioning a society in which
education and contraception prevent unintended pregnancies, and widely available
healthcare and child care foster conditions supportive of childbearing. The
religious right has largely neglected these goals in favor of pressing the
fight against abortion. ``If you say you don't want to see abortions, let's
try to prevent them," says Reverend Veazey.
To read the article at
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