The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Abortion: The Crucial Issue

It would be difficult to prove this beyond doubt, but my guess is that the root cause of eight years of Bush-Cheney and the consequent critical condition of this nation is the abortion issue. I don’t think Bush would have gotten in once, let alone twice, had it not been for abortion. The votes of Evangelicals, Catholics and other religious groups were crucial. They made the difference. And the difference was monumental in terms of the welfare of our country.

Then Barack Obama came onto the scene. Before the extent of the economic disaster brought on by Republican de-regulation became more than readily apparent, the polls were quite close between Obama and McCain; and McCain might well have edged in just as Bush had- twice- before him. Another disaster for the nation barely averted.

As unwise as single-issue voting is- and it is very unwise- the fact of the matter is that it can be- and has been- the determinant factor governing the fate of the nation. And the single issue I am referring to is abortion.
Liberal and moderate pro-choice candidates are viewed by millions of Americans as the purveyors of what they refer to as “the culture of death.” Voters close their eyes to the wholesale slaughter and destruction caused by the right-wing war-mongerers and profiteers, whom they put into office time and time again, responding to their hypocritical cries of “pro-life.” A sad irony but unfortunately the fact.

The issue of abortion has to be dealt with decisively and without delay- unless we feel comfortable handing over the nation to the for-profit-only proto-fascists on a silver platter.

I think Barack Obama has shown the right instincts in this matter. His choice of a pro-life evangelical pastor to deliver the invocation at his inauguration was a step in the right direction. And we have to follow Obama’s lead and pursue an objective course on the issue of abortion.

Not only must we listen respectfully to what pro-life adherents are saying; but we need to take the initiative in the area of studying the causes of widespread abortion in this country and of advocating for and implementing means of significantly reducing the number of abortions which are currently taking place. Above all, we cannot appear to be indifferent to or pleased with the fact that there have been 50 million abortions since Roe vs. Wade was decided. Whether one is pro-life or pro-choice that is an awfully high abortion rate. I think we can all acknowledge that.

What to do? I won’t pretend to have the definitive answer. But I think the key word is initiative. Liberals and moderates need to be perceived to be the leaders in terms of actively examining the causes of high abortion rates. They need to be seen as innovators in terms of developing and implementing methods and programs calculated to decrease the number of abortions. One obvious area for development would be the expansion of adoption agencies and the updating of adoption procedures, perhaps under federal guidelines. These and many other possibilities need to be actively explored. And the effort has to be sincere, on-going, well-organized and highly competent. This cannot be and cannot be perceived by the public as a political stunt by the Left. It has to be real and it has to show positive results.

Yes. A volatile issue and a dangerous one. How to accomplish the objective without alienating millions of pro-choice people and feminist groups? How to avoid fostering guilt and depression in women choosing abortion? The utmost in objective thought, tact and superb judgment will be required. We have good reason to believe that President Obama will have what it takes to initiate the process of resolving this crucial issue. The process has to begin. This weapon has to be taken out of the hands of those who would use it for their own purposes.