Every once and a while, Sam decides to post something on this blog (and this is that once and a while).
I was scanning McCain's and Obama's voting record and I found a bill that was supported by Obama and voted against by McCain that pertains to the abortion issue. It was the Unintended Pregnancy Amendment, which did not pass the Senate. If you click on the title, you will be redirected to a sexy webpage (one that tracks various congresspersons' voting records) that breifly describes this bill. This bill's intent was to spend $100 million to prevent unwanted pregnancy and lower abortion rates. It was sponsored by Sen Harry Reid, a pro-life Democrat, and Senator Clinton. The intent (though one can be suspicious about any so called good intentions from a politician) was to pass bipartisan legislation aimed at reducing abortions through "expanding access to preventive health care services that reduce unintended pregnancy (including teen pregnancy), reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care." It failed by a partisan vote, with pro-life Republicans voting AGAINST it.
This boggles my mind! I can make a number of observations at this point, but I must limit myself. If you believe that abortion is morally wrong (as I do), and not on the level of name calling but on the level of homocide, one ought to take serious measures to prevent it. Overturning Roe v. Wade is one way (though imcomplete, repealing it would simply allow states to outlaw abortion), and taking active steps to reduce abortions in spite of RvW is another. These are not mutually exclusive!
Now, I won't call the majority of Senate Republicans hypocrites (since that is very unfair and childish). It is important to note some principles that they hold that (in their minds) justified their vote. (1) Small government with minimal social-programs spending. This is economic conservatism. It is not the government's job to help people; it is the government's job to create an environment where you can help yourself (through the private sector). I won't analyze this further and must settle with this simplistic characterization. (2) Sex is only permissible within the context of marriage, and the government ought not take steps that condone extra-marital sex. Funding contraception (especially amongst teenagers) would do that. Since the bill violates both those principles, they voted against it.
Now, while seeing those reasons, I have to say that EVEN if you hold (1) and (2), the moral weight of abortion outweighs those (especially if you are pro-life and campaign on that moral weight). Hence, if you put (1) and (2) on one side of the value-scale and 'preventing abortions' on the other, it will tip heavily to the latter.
Unfortunately, our political climate (even moreso within evangelicalism, as I lament) doesn not allow us to really work for common ground. We are not willing to compromise other principles to end a tragedy. Being "pro-life" simply means being against RvW, and fails to be about any real solutions, short term or long term, that could help bring more life to people. Hence, look at both John McCain and Barack Obama to see who will better lead us to reduce and eliminate abortions. Don't settle for a simple answer to that question, because there is no simple answer.