Searching for Common Ground on Abortion at the Republican Convention

By Jim Wallis 9-02-2008

I'm here at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul, as I was at the Democratic Convention in Denver. We pushed for strong language on poverty and abortion reduction in Denver, and we are pushing for the same things here.

The Republican platform draft sent to delegates last week contained this sentence in its section on abortion:

We invite all persons of good will, whether across the political aisle or within our party, to work together to reduce the incidence of abortion;

But when the platform committee met to approve the platform and send it to the convention, that sentence had disappeared. The removal of this important platform language is a real disappointment to those of us who are working for a productive and practical discussion about how to reduce the incidence of abortion in America. I joined with several others to issue a statement urging Republican leaders to demonstrate a willingness to bring Americans of diverse political backgrounds together behind common-ground solutions to the abortion crisis by reinstating this language:

As pro-life religious leaders and people of faith who care deeply about ending abortion, we are calling on the Republican Party to restore language in its platform calling for efforts to reduce abortion.

The original draft of the Republican Party Platform stated:"'We invite all persons of good will, whether across the political aisle or within our party, to work together to reduce the incidence of abortion; to protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement; and to oppose sex selection abortions. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy."

According to the Associated Press, the Republican Party Platform Committee removed the language calling for bipartisan support to reduce the "incidence of abortion." We exhort party leaders to reinstate this language.

Too often the abortion debate has been used to score political points, rather than to identify what kinds of public policies will actually prevent and reduce abortions in America. Recent research affirms that social and economic supports for women and vulnerable families are essential components of efforts to end abortion. Policy makers on both sides of the aisle have a moral imperative to enact legislation that will reduce abortions.

Rev. Jim Wallis, Founder and CEO, Sojourners
Alexia Kelley, Executive Director, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
Ronald J. Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action
Brian McLaren, author and chair of the Sojourners board of directors
Sister Sharon Dillon, SSJ-TOSF, Executive Director, Franciscan Mission Service
Russell Testa, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network
Chris Korzen, Executive Director, Catholics United

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