Monday May 31, 2010
Evangelicals Launch Effort to ‘Reduce Abortions,’ Float Contraceptive Advocacy
By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 31, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The National Association of Evangelicals has issued a new resolution on abortion advocacy that calls for pursuing “common ground” towards reducing the abortion rate in America, and included contraception as among possible means of achieving that goal.
The “common ground” talking point is often heard from the likes of pro-abortion giants such as President Obama, who famously lectured University of Notre Dame graduates on using “fair-minded words” and not “demonizing” proponents of the legalized killing of unborn children. The leader of the new initiative nonetheless told LifeSiteNews.com that the statements were not intended to soften the group’s stance against abortion, and that the group still considered making abortion illegal a primary goal.
The NAE announced in a May 20 press release the launch of a new initiative for grounding respect for life in a Biblical ethos on sexuality, as well as a new abortion resolution, calling it “an effort to pursue common ground towards reducing the number of abortions” that will “explore practical and realistic approaches to curtail” abortion.
Leith Anderson, the president of the NAE, said in the press release that “a million abortions in the United States every year is unacceptable.” “The NAE is engaging a fresh national dialogue seeking effective ways to significantly reduce the number of abortions,” he said.
While stating that the NAE “actively, ardently and unwaveringly opposes abortion on demand,” it goes on to say: “However, we do not dismiss those who advocate for legal access to abortion as unconcerned for human life or unworthy of our respect and attention.”
The group pointed to a Gallup poll commissioned by the NAE that found “significant majorities” of evangelical respondents favoring “a wide range of possible methods for decreasing the abortion rate – from parental consent and waiting periods before abortions to efforts at making adoption, pre- and post-natal care, and contraceptive services more accessible.”
“The Church is understandably reluctant to recommend contraception for unmarried sexual partners, given that it cannot condone extramarital sex,” said the group. However, it continues, “it is even more tragic when unmarried individuals compound one sin by conceiving and then destroying the precious gift of life.”
The association simultaneously launched the NAE Generation Forum, with the tagline “conversations without compromise,” as the locus for the new initiative.
LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) asked Aaron Mercer, the project director for NAE Generation Forum, whether the NAE felt that advocating contraceptives could drive a wedge between the pro-life efforts of evangelicals and the Catholic church, whose teachings reject contraception as part of the modern-day attack on the family.
Mercer replied that the issue was “a subject that needs more exploration right now.” “We haven’t made any statements on that front,” he added, saying that the group had thus far merely pointed to what the Gallup poll indicated most evangelicals believed.
When it was pointed out that the “common ground” approach is often interpreted as a softened stance against legalized abortion, Mercer insisted that NAE officials “see it as part of the same effort” as previous pro-life advocacy. “The resolution makes that clear and we’ve stated all along that we continue to oppose abortion firmly, and we’re going to continue in that vein just as we have all along,” he said. “We know that ultimately abortion is going to be a problem if Roe v. Wade is on the books or off the books… and so we want to look at what are some practical ways that we can bring down that rate.”
Asked if the NAE considered making abortion illegal one of its goals, Mercer replied, “Yes. We haven’t changed our goals at all.”
Asked to explain the difference between NAE’s approach to “common ground” and the position established by deeply pro-abortion figures such as President Obama, Mercer replied, “I can’t speak to what the White House or any other group is saying right now, but the NAE has a strong pro-life position for decades, and we’re going to stick to that position.”
The issues of a frequently observed jump in abortion rates in nations with increased contraceptive use and the abortifacient nature of contraceptive pills and the IUD were not addressed or discussed.
See related LifeSiteNews report:
The Contraception Misconception