Abortion and Poverty Are Intertwined


A friend recently expressed to me some dissatisfaction over the lack of viable pro-life presidential candidates. He asked me about my support of Barack Obama and why others should support Barack—especially in light of this specific issue of abortion. I’m still formulating my personal response to this friend (if you’re reading this, hey!), but I think my answer on the issue of abortion is close to what Jim Wallis articulated at the recent “Values Voters Summit” (see video below).

Although he never says it directly (maybe that part got edited out) I believe abortion and poverty are directly tied in this country (there are studies and surveys that confirm this), and unless we have a President who is concerned about poverty and other systemic inequities—and has, as Wallis calls it, “a consistent ethic of life that carries all the way from womb to tomb”—we will never adequately address abortion in this country.

That’s why I support Barack Obama, even though he’s “pro-choice.” I do not believe he is “pro-abortion,” in fact, I believe, as an anti-poverty Democrat, he is a better hope for addressing abortion than any “pro-life” Republican, in my opinion—as hard as that is for good folks (like my parents!) to understand or believe.

BTW—The same issue of extreme poverty, as Wallis clearly states, determines national security to large extent, as well: “A world where half of the people live in extreme poverty is neither just nor secure.”



Posted on 10-22-2007


  1. Chris says:

    October 22nd, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    I really appreciate this perspective. To this day, I am still having difficulty determining which candidate to back, since none consistently match my understanding of what those in political office should represent. That being said, the upholding of life from ‘womb to tomb’ is a very valuable (and biblical) stance, and so much is placed on ‘womb’ above all other political areas. I think there’s a conservative perspective that all Democrats are out to kill babies. Just because a politician isn’t as interested in forming any more laws that aren’t in place, for or against abortion, they are automatically labeled. Quite frustrating.

    Btw, thanks for checking out my site. I forgot to post this video about TOMS http://youtube.com/watch?v=kJ8c5QWsCRQ .

  2. Jason says:

    October 23rd, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for stirring me to think more thoroughly on the connection between poverty and abortion. Two areas that I feel passionate about.

    One initial question is what kind of hope we ought put in the goverenment in dealing with poverty and what kind of hope/responsibility ought we put on the church. It seems that the church is the primary vehicle in God’s program of redemption to effectively minister to the poor. Then on the other hand, while both poverty and abortion are justice issues, abortions seems to be something that the gov’t actually has the ability to do something about, much like slavery.

    I would love to hear your thoughts!

  3. Steve K. says:

    October 23rd, 2007 at 9:24 am

    Hey Jason,

    I think you’re absolutely right about the role of the Church in addressing these issues, but (in typical pomo fashion) I don’t believe it’s an either/or, but rather a both/and — Church and government must both be engaged on these issues. Government is going to be regardless, by the nature of it’s business. The Church seems to be waking up and taking poverty (both locally and globally) more seriously post-Katrina, but we’ve got a long way to go.

    For further thought on this election and these particular “values,” I’d encourage everyone to read Will Samson’s blog post on “Do Theology-Free Values Exist?”

    Thanks for commenting! I hope others will chime in, as well. I’m kind of putting my political views out there because I want to be challenged in my thinking, as much as I want to challenge others in theirs’.

  4. dave says:

    October 23rd, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    I grew up in an environment where pro-life vs. pro-choice was the single litmus test for a candidate. We’ll have had a pro-life president in office for 8 years after having a pro-choice president in office for 8 years, and neither of them really did much one way or the other on the abortion issue, but one of them was responsible for warmongering based on faulty intelligence, and it wasn’t the pro-choice president. Even though I’m firmly pro-life, I’ve reached the point where abortion is becoming a political non-issue to me, due to the issues you mentioned in your post – I think there is a disconnect with the Republican’s stance on abortion and their stance on any number of other issues. So I’m also in Barack’s camp.

    On a related note, it’s kind of interesting to ponder what ultra-conservative evangelicals will do if faced with a choice between Guiliani and Obama. I suppose they’d try to convince James Dobson to run.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment via Facebook