The Common Good

Jim Wallis Encouraged by President Obama’s Call for Common Ground on Abortion Reduction

Source: Sojourners
Date: January 23, 2009

January 23, 2009

Contact: Jason Gedeik, Sojourners, (202) 745-4633, jgedeik@sojo.net

*******MEDIA ADVISORY******

Jim Wallis Encouraged by President Obama's Call for Common Ground on Abortion Reduction

Delay of Rescinding Mexico City Policy Sends Signal of Compromise

WASHINGTON, DC - January 23, 2009 - Jim Wallis, progressive evangelical leader, author of The Great Awakening and president of Sojourners, the largest network of progressive Christians in the United States, issued the following statement in response to President Obama's statement commemorating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the delay of rescinding the Mexico City policy:

I am encouraged that President Obama's first action on abortion was to release a statement supporting a common ground approach to reducing abortion, even as he also reiterated his policy of supporting legal choice. Even more significant was his decision not to issue an executive order rescinding the "Mexico City policy” on the day of the anniversary of the Roe decision and the annual March for Life. For the past two decades, this particular rule has become a back-and-forth of instituting and repealing as administrations have changed - almost as a partisan tit-for tat.

In breaking the symbolic cycle, President Obama showed respect for both sides in the historically polarized abortion debate, and called for both a new conversation and a new common ground. I hope that this important gesture signals the beginning of a new approach and a new path toward finding some real solutions to decrease the number of abortions in this country and around the world.

In his statement, Obama acknowledged that "this is a sensitive and often divisive issue,” but went on to say "no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.”

I support the President's call for a new dialogue on the best ways to achieve abortion reduction while retaining his position on choice. And I hope the discussion can now move beyond the usual politics of abortion, changing the polarized debate, and building a new common ground movement to dramatically reduce abortion. This is a goal to which we can all agree.

Jim Wallis follows up his New York Times bestseller God's Politics with a call to action for people who want to address urgent problems that politics has failed to solve. The New York Times bestseller The Great Awakening: Seven Ways to Change the World, Reviving Faith & Politics (HarperOne, January, 2009) heralds a new era for faith and politics.

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Jim Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, preacher, and international commentator on religion and public life, faith and politics. His previous book, "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It” was on the New York Times bestseller list for 4 months. He is President of Sojourners; where he is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine, whose combined print and electronic media have a readership of more than 250,000 people.

Sojourners' mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Visit www.sojo.net, and www.GodsPolitics.com.