The Common Good

During Final Debate Presidential Candidates Seek Common Ground Solutions on Abortion Reduction

Source: Sojourners
Date: October 17, 2008

October 17, 2008

Contact: Jason Gedeik, Sojourners, (202) 745-4633,

During Final Debate Presidential Candidates Seek Common Ground Solutions on Abortion Reduction

Sojourners Applauds New Direction That Offers Real Results Rather Than Continued Polarization and Deadlock

WASHINGTON, DC - October 17, 2008 - Sojourners noted the beginning of a better conversation on abortion in the third and final presidential debate Wednesday evening, and affirms this as a positive new direction in finding common ground to reduce the abortion rate. Despite their disagreements on this issue, both Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain publicly agreed on the need to work together to address the alarmingly high abortion rate in America and cited a number of cultural changes and public policies to achieve that goal. Sojourners has long championed abortion reduction as a goal that both sides should support in order to break the ideological deadlock that prevents any lasting change or real solutions to this serious moral problem. During this election season and before, Sojourners has pressed both the Democratic and Republican parties to commit to working towards abortion reduction through a broad range of social and economic policies, as well as cultural changes.

"In the final presidential debate, the first steps were taken toward a new national conversation about abortion,” said Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners and author of the best-selling book The Great Awakening. "For too many years, the old one hadn't changed very much. It came up every four years during elections, and seldom in-between. The Republicans repeated that they think abortion should just be completely illegal; and the Democrats repeated their only mantra of a 'women's right to choose.' And the number of abortions remained mostly unchanged.”

During Wednesday night's presidential debate Obama described abortion as a "difficult” and "moral” issue and acknowledged that there is common ground to find in actually reducing abortions. McCain cited the need to "change the culture in America” while coming together on this issue. Obama agreed on the need to educate the youth that sexuality is sacred and not to engage in "cavalier activity.” Both presidential candidates championed greater options for adoption that would support mothers who chose to keep their child. Obama and McCain also said that they would not use Roe v. Wade as a litmus test for appointing Supreme Court Justices in the future.

Leading up to the debate, Sojourners heavily encouraged both political parties and presidential candidates to recognize abortion reduction as an important goal to address. For the first time in history the Democratic Platform supported a woman's decision to keep her child with the promise of economic support, health care, and adoption services; and also committed to "reducing the need for abortion.” Sojourners also sent a letter to the Republican Platform Committee offering counsel in developing a policy platform also committed to abortion reduction rather than an exclusive focus on their legal opposition to abortion. The partys' different positions on the legal questions still allow for common ground in preventing unwanted pregnancies and abortion reduction through various kinds of support for women facing difficult choices.

On the Monday prior to the third presidential debate Sojourners issued an action alert asking over 200,000 Christians to come together across our divisions to support life and human dignity at all stages of life. Thousands of people responded by calling upon the presidential candidates to lead the way with common ground solutions on abortion.

"There is also now some movement in the Congress with pro-life and pro-choice Members looking for common ground solutions for reducing the number of abortions that are proven to work,” Wallis said. "New and compelling studies make the clear connection between abortion and poverty, with fully ¾ of the women who have abortions say that they just couldn't afford to have the child. It will be a great day when both poverty reduction and abortion reduction become non-partisan issues and bi-partisan causes.”

To read more on this issue from Jim Wallis please visit:


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