The Democratic Party’s Deepening Commitment to Abortion

Regular readers of this blog know that I am loath to identify a Christian (or Reformed) perspective on politics with any particular political party or candidate. Indeed, I seek to avoid manifest partisanship even in my own writing. There are many Christians who support both major American political parties, and Christians who find their views aligning perfectly and without exception with one party or the other are probably not thinking very much, or with very much theological insight.

All that said, however, the trajectory of the Democratic Party on abortion continues to make it very hard for many Christians to see how any Christian could support or be involved with the Democratic Party. The conservative Weekly Standard reports:

The 2012 Democratic party will officially adopt an extreme position on the issue of abortion on Tuesday. According to a copy of the party platform, which was released online just before midnight on Monday, “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.”

That last part–“regardless of ability to pay”–is an endorsement of taxpayer-funded abortions, a policy that President Obama has personally endorsed. Obama wants Medicaid to pay directly for elective abortions, and Obamacare will allow beneficiaries to use federal subsidies to purchase health care plans that cover elective abortions….

The article goes on to point out that according to one poll 72% of Americans oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. It goes on,

The 2012 Democratic party also endorses an unrestricted right to abortion-on-demand. According to the platform, on the issue of abortion “there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.” In 2003, Obama was asked if he was pro-choice on abortion “in all situations including the late-term thing.” Obama replied: “I’m pro-choice.”

The Democratic Party was not always so emphatically “pro-choice.” In 2000 and 2004 the party platform declared, consistent with the rhetoric of former President Bill Clinton, that its goal was to make abortion “rare.” That language was dropped in 2008 and was not reinserted in 2012.

A few months ago Christianity Today pointed out that the portion of Democrats in Congress who are pro-life has been steadily diminishing.

Democrats with conservative positions on social issues such as abortion continue to disappear from Congress. Half as many pro-life Democrats sit in Congress today than two years ago, and—thanks to redistricting and retirements—in six months the number may be cut in half again….

“Holding a pro-life stance is toxic in a Democratic primary in most parts of the country,” said Matthew Wilson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. “It can be pretty tempting just to give up.”

Of course, there are still some pro-life Democratic politicians, and even more pro-life Democratic voters. But as the number of the former shrinks, the latter need to ask themselves whether their pro-life convictions hold any influence over their political allegiance. And insofar as Christian teaching requires that Christians be pro-life (which I believe it does), Christians who support the Democratic Party need to ask themselves the same thing about their Christian convictions.

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About Matthew J. Tuininga

Matthew J. Tuininga is the Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Posted on September 5, 2012, in Abortion, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The Democratic Party’s Deepening Commitment to Abortion.

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