Thinking Constructively About Abortion

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1991


Crossroad/Continuum Publishing Group


By way of introduction to the admittedly thorny and emotionally volatile subject of abortion I want to insist on my title, "thinking constructively" about abortion. I am neither a politician nor a moralist and have no desire to lobby anyone or to convict anyone on the subject of abortion. I want, as a theologian and as a committed believer, to introduce some themes for reflection that might shed some light on the issue for those of us who must, as citizens and as Christians, form our own consciences and vote on this matter. And I want to foster constructive thinking. Every responsible person with whom I have ever discussed the issue of abortion (and that is admittedly a self-selected group of people interested in morality), whether the person is politically prolife or politically prochoice, is resolutely anti-abortion. In other words, decent and reasonable people do not think abortion, even if and when it is chosen as the only possible solution in some case, is anything other than a tragedy; and surely no one is proud of the national statistic of 1.5 million abortions per year in this richest nation in the Western world. The question I am concerned with is not whether abortion is a good thing because no one thinks it is, but how to do something effective to reduce the recourse to abortion