Being a Democrat is often a result of a concern for ordinary folks, for working people, for those who are discriminated against (as rural people or rural counties sometimes are), or for those who have unusual vulnerability to abuse or neglect (like children, the elderly, the handicapped). It always seemed to me a very Christian and a very American set of concerns.

Being “pro-life” fits right in with that outlook. I know that many Democrats (and quite a few Republicans) don’t see it that way. But I do. And in fact there are quite a few of us around – pro-life Democrats.

There has been so much crass political manipulation of this issue! It’s time to move on to more appropriate and beneficial tactics.

Actions That Will Directly Reduce Abortions

I, for example, subscribe to the agenda of a pretty impressive group that calls itself “Democrats for Life of America.” They have a list of policy proposals they call “95 – 10,” which they fully expect would reduce abortions by 95% (that’s a HIGH rate of reduction!) over the next ten years. Too bad it didn’t start ten years ago.

And not one of their proposals requires a dramatic new stance by the Supreme Court. That is important, since the make-up of the court is in flux, and besides, the vote of any given Justice on any given case is never entirely predictable. And none of the “95 – 10” proposals requires criminalizing abortion.

Democrats for Life say, on their web-site:

“For once, a pro-life group got it right … they’re introducing a plan that will start to address the abortion problem in America instead of just talking about it.”

Some pro-life activists are really making a direct difference in individual lives. I sincerely thank them. Unfortunately, many others who are loudly “pro-life” do not seem to be effective in really helping women (and the men influencing them) see or make different choices – in real-life situations in our real-life towns and counties. We need to start providing that effective, concrete help more consistently, or we are not walking our talk.

“The 95-10 Initiative is a comprehensive package of federal legislation and policy proposals that will reduce the number of abortions by 95% in the next 10 years.

While both Democrats and Republicans talk about reducing the number of abortions, Democrats for Life of America offers real solutions to make this goal a reality.”

See The List

I’ve made a copy of their on-line brochure which you can see by clicking here. If you care about this issue that page is definitely worth some of your time. It lists a number of specific actions.

None of these initiatives will end abortion. None is strikingly dramatic. If we’re waiting for one completely effective law or ruling or strategy, I expect we’re kidding ourselves. But I think you’ll have to agree that when we start to get several of these things happening we will see major changes in actual abortion rates in this country.

Respect and Consideration Get Better Results

I think that if we would be more careful to treat women (and the men in their lives) with the attentive respect and openness that Jesus used, instead of the bullying, political manipulation, and judgmentalism that are so common on this issue today, we could start to see some really beneficial results.

So, as a Democrat for Life, my stance is that we need to pursue these more careful, more nuanced, more focused, and – yes – maybe more costly actions. Then we can actually alter the numbers. THAT is a very significant thing. Let’s remember what Jesus said: “What you have done to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you have done unto me.”