Having read with great interest your "Open Letter to Dennis Kucinich" (by Danny Duncan Collum) in the September-October 2003 issue of Sojourners, I welcome this opportunity to respond. You are quite right in observing that at the heart of my presidential campaign is a compelling desire to build up the democratic culture of this nation, and to encourage an economic order that serves the needs of ordinary citizens.
I suspect that, indeed, you and I are in agreement about a good number of issues that affect the everyday lives of Americans. So it is with respect that I listen to your concerns about my personal and public views concerning abortion and a woman’s right to choose. I was previously a supporter of anti-choice legislation. My position on this sensitive issue has changed. The change was gradual, and often painful, but always immersed in a contemplative awareness of the very real ways that lives are affected.
I had candid, open conversations with many women as I sought to better understand the complexities of this issue. The heartfelt stories and decisions that I heard caused me to reconsider the impact of my personal and political voice. I do not take lightly the serious nature of pregnancy, nor of the responsibility a woman holds in deciding either to terminate a pregnancy or to carry a pregnancy to term. But, I also must respect the many factors that only she can weigh in coming to her decision. And when decisions are made, it is my sincere hope that she will seek the counsel of others whom she trusts and respects, such as her doctors, her partner, perhaps other family members or close friends, and certainly her spiritual leaders.