Abortion and the Incoming Administration

As the presidential transition approaches, the potential impact of the incoming Obama administration on abortion and other life/reproductive issues is pushing its way into the nation’s attention and discussion. While the specific steps the president-elect will take remain to be seen, the Wall St. Journal recently reported on several of the possibilities:

The outgoing Bush administration this week will finalize a regulation establishing a “right of conscience” allowing medical staff to refuse to participate in any practice they object to on moral grounds, including abortion but possibly birth control and other health care as well.

In transition offices across town, officials in the incoming Obama administration have begun considering how and when to undo it.

The regulation is one of a swath of abortion and other reproductive-health issues under review by the Obama team, which is preparing to reverse a variety of Bush measures, according to officials close to the transition. The review is part of a sweeping scrutiny of Bush-era legislation and regulation on issues across the federal government, from environmental and labor rules to defense spending.

On abortion and related matters, action is expected early on executive, regulatory, budgetary and legislative fronts.

Decisions that the new administration will weigh include: whether to cut funding for sexual abstinence programs; whether to increase funding for comprehensive sex education programs that include discussion of birth control; whether to allow federal health plans to pay for abortions; and whether to overturn regulations such as one that makes fetuses eligible for health-care coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

(Read the entire article here.)

The WSJ’s article comes on the heels of a pro-choice coalition sending the Obama transition team a document entitled “Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration.” The Point Blog’s Gina Dalfonzo summarizes:

The document “urge[s] the next President to articulate and implement a vision for a new, commonsense approach to the nation’s and the world’s pressing reproductive health needs,” and outlines the actions they would like to see him take toward that end — including improving access to abortion worldwide, increasing funding for comprehensive sex education and defunding abstinence-only programs, pushing for the Freedom of Choice Act, and appointing pro-choice judges and government officials.

All of this sparks a number of thoughts:

1. Previous discussion on this blog can attest to the fact there is a legitimate and complex debate among Christians regarding which political parties and individual political candidates are, on the whole, more consistent with a biblical perspective on important issues.

2. Likewise, a mature understanding of biblical teaching leads to the conclusion that no individual or entity—whether they be Democratic, Republican, or anything else—will ever move past the need to be corrected at times by the prophetic voice of the Scriptures.

3. For these and other reasons, The Crossing—or any other church looking to follow Christ faithfully—should remain intentionally non-partisan, yet willing to speak out on particular issues and their potential ramifications in light of biblical conviction, rather than political ideology.

4. That being said, I would contend that the biblical evidence forms a rather unambiguous and compelling case against the practice of abortion and the reasoning that would seek to justify it. (For some of the more central biblical arguments, see Dave’s previous post. Also John Piper has this to offer about the ramifications of the pro-abortion position).

5. For that reason, provided Obama and those surrounding him continue their support of pro-abortion policies, this is one area in which Christians—regardless of whether one voted for him or not—have little choice but to stand in respectful but firm opposition to the President-elect. (This despite the fact that that there may be numerous other areas in which it is entirely appropriate to support the incoming administration.)

Practically speaking, this might lead to any number of concrete steps, but I’ll mention just two here. First, you can visit Obama’s website to read and comment on the “Advancing Reproductive Rights” document mentioned above. I would even venture a guess that the voices of those who are willing to identify themselves as Obama supporters will be most effective in this kind of forum. After all, one tends to give more weight to the counsel of friends than criticism of opponents. Secondly, you can certainly intercede on behalf of the unborn before God. I’m convinced that, ultimately, hearts need to be changed for our country to see significant movement in the right direction on this issue. Of course, that’s exactly what God is in the business of doing.

HT: Justin Taylor

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