Craig O'Dear on the Abortion Issue
Abortion is one of the most difficult and divisive issues in our country. Extremists on both sides of this issue demand a binary choice--you must either be pro-life or pro-choice. Neither label describes my views. I am pro-life AND pro-choice. Traveling the state and talking to people, I have come to believe that most people share this view.
I understand the strong feelings many women have about their right to make decisions about their body and reproductive issues. I support a woman’s right to choose.
But I also believe reasonable restrictions are appropriate on late term abortions. I believe that when a pregnancy is allowed to progress past the stage where the fetus is clearly viable outside the womb, and the fetus is healthy and the pregnancy is progressing normally, the balance of protectable interests changes.
What I also favor is the common ground that I believe a significant majority of people share. We should do what we can to reduce the number of abortions. The primary cause of abortion is unwanted pregnancy. We know how to reduce unwanted pregnancies. We do that through education and access to birth control. Another option many young people are choosing, and which is taught in the faith community, is abstinence. We also need to make our adoption system more accessible and user-friendly, to make adoption a more attractive option for a someone facing this difficult decision.
Looking more broadly, my pro-life orientation heavily influences my views on other political issues. We should provide for children who are hungry, require medical care, and need education. Access to basic, affordable health care for all people is a pro-life issue. Gun safety is a pro-life issue. Criminal justice reform, as well as the elimination of the death penalty for all but the most extreme cases, is a pro-life issue. Protecting our law enforcement personnel is a pro-life issue. A commitment to never placing our military personnel in harm's way absent a well-considered, compelling, and well-planned national defense need is a pro-life issue. The list goes on. My pro-life orientation heavily influences my views on a broad range of issues.