Abortion common ground … Joel Hunter gets it right (along with Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro)

On abortion …
Here’s a public statement I offered on the abortion-reduction bill proposed by Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Rosa Delauro. The Ryan-Delauro bill should be (or may already have been) presented in Congress today. The bill seeks to reduce the number of abortions by addressing the causes of abortion; it seeks to prevent unintended pregnancies, provide support for pregnant women and new families, and expand support for adoption.

Short-term polarization on certain issues may be inevitable, but long-term paralysis is not. I’m thankful to (and for) Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Rosa Delauro for seeking the higher ground of common ground on the abortion question. They are demonstrating that people can disagree on the moral and legal status of abortion and yet agree on something deeper and higher – the wisdom of seeking to reduce the number of abortions. Where partisanship may produce paralysis, wise leadership finds a way forward, seeking good-faith progress. I hope the Ryan-Delauro bill’s passage in the coming days will build a new momentum for this kind of creative third way in public life.

For more on the bill, see this report. The range of reactions – from reactionary to welcoming – is clear in this passage from the article:

The bill’s backers hope President Barack Obama, who has appealed for a more civil tone to the debate, will embrace it as a step toward reducing the need for abortions, but many staunch anti-abortion leaders remain hostile. “It’s part of a big political scam,” said Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee.
At issue is the so-called Ryan-DeLauro bill – first introduced in 2006 and being reintroduced Thursday by Reps. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. Supporters range from abortion-rights activists to Roman Catholic academics who consider abortion an evil.
“This is a landmark bill for the culture wars – a prototype for how we can approach things in the future,” said the Rev. Joel Hunter, an evangelical megachurch pastor from Orlando, Fla., who opposes abortion.
Hunter, who serves on the White House faith-based advisory council, said the key to the bill is its breadth – appealing to liberals with proposals to prevent unintended pregnancies and to conservatives with provisions to support women who choose to carry unintended pregnancies to term.
“When you realize you need someone who’s been an adversary to help you advance your own projects, that’s a big deal,” Hunter said.