One of the big news items in the faith/politics world over the last week has been an abortion-related bill proposed by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Tim Ryan (D-OH). The bill aims to help reduce the need for abortion by providing contraception, comprehensive sex ed, support for pregnant (and new) mothers, and an increase in the adoption tax credit. The pro-choice DeLauro and pro-life Ryan teamed up to offer an alternative to the culture war that our country has endured for the last generation. Their goal is to create workable solutions on abortion rather than to keep the debate mired in the dichotomies of the past.
The legislation has the support of Planned Parenthood and NARAL on one side but also a number of conservative evangelical leaders like Rev. Joel Hunter on the other. Arch-conservative groups like Focus on the Family and the Catholic League (i.e. Bill Donohue) are against it because some dollars will flow to contraception in general and Planned Parenthood in particular. But for the most part, this bill — if passed — would constitute the best example of common ground that has ever been reached on this issue in the United States. In some ways it already does. And indeed, four years of negotiation were required to produce the bill in its current form.
The question now is whether the legislation will pass the full U.S. Congress — and the extent to which it will have to change along the way. What we do know is the pro-choice community and a number of pro-life evangelicals are rooting for it. That in itself is a triumph of sorts.
Jesse Lava also blogs at jesselava.com.