Abortion Compromise Language Gets Support from Some Christian Leaders

Abortion Compromise Language Gets Support from Some Christian Leaders


Some prominent pro-life Evangelicals have come out in support of Senator Bob Casey's attempt at a compromise on healthcare abortion language.

I know, I know. These are not your typical Evangelical leaders that are associated with the traditional pro-life movement. And yes, some of these folks have put their support behind Obama during the 2008 campaign. But still, that doesn't mean you can discount them. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, David Gushee and Joel Hunter are definitely pro-life. They just haven't aligned themselves with the traditional pro-life crowd because their pet issues go beyond just the abortion issue.

Here is the statement:

More than three dozen pro-life Christian pastors, leaders and theologians released the following statement Friday morning, December 18, 2009, to applaud Sen. Robert Casey’ proposed alternative language on abortion to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

As Christian leaders moved by our faith to protect life at all stages, we applaud Sen. Robert Casey’s efforts to ensure that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibits federal funding of abortion, ensures conscience protections, and provides funding for long-needed support for pregnant women and children. We believe that with this direction, Congress is closer than ever to reforming an unjust healthcare system that for too long has cost too much while delivering too little.

Sen. Casey’s alternative language, which we expect to be available in its final legislative form soon, could ensure that strong provider conscience protections passed in the House bill are maintained; no federal funds pay for abortions in any way; and no premium dollars from individuals who opt out of abortion coverage will be used to fund abortions. We also enthusiastically welcome its expansion of the adoption tax credit and new support for children, pregnant women and parenting teens and college students. Given that 73 percent of women who have an abortion cite the fact that they cannot afford to have a child as a contributing factor, these economic support measures are critical to reducing the number of abortions in America, a goal we wholeheartedly support. Expanding health insurance coverage to uninsured women and making it more affordable for millions more will very likely reduce the number of abortions in America as well.

Given the complicated set of concerns surrounding abortion funding and coverage in health care reform, this alternative language, which we understand will be included in the manager’s amendment to the Senate bill, is a way forward. We urge all other pro-life people of good will to give it the careful consideration it deserves.


Ron Sider
President, Evangelicals for Social Action

Joel Hunter
Senior Pastor, Northland Church

David Neff
Editor, Christianity Today

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Simone Campbell, SSS
Executive Director, NETWORK

Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA
President, Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Stephen F. Schneck, PhD
Director, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies The Catholic University of America

Dr. David P. Gushee
Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University

Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner
President, Skinner Leadership Institute

Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale
Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church


Brian McLaren
Author, Speaker and Founding Pastor, Cedar Ridge Community Church


James E. Hug, S.J.
President, Center of Concern

Victoria Kovari
Interim Executive Director, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Rev. Richard Cizik

Cheryl Bridges Johns
Professor of Christian Formation & Discipleship, Pentecostal Theological Seminary

Derrick Harkins
Senior Pastor, Nineteenth Street Baptist Church

Rev. Gabriel Salguero
The Latino Leadership Circle

Kenneth R. Himes, O.F.M.
Chairperson, Theology Department, Boston College

Glen Stassen
Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary

Stephen J. Pope
Professor of Theological Ethics, Boston College

David DeCosse
Director of Campus Ethics Programs, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University

The Hon. Douglas W. Kmiec

M. Shawn Copeland
Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College

Richard R. Gaillardetz
Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies, University of Toledo

William O'Neill, S.J.
Associate Prof. of Social Ethics, Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University

Nancy Dallavalle
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies Fairfield University

Vincent Rougeau
Associate Professor, Notre Dame Law School

J. Matthew Ashley
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Notre Dame

Christine Firer Hinze
Professor, Christian Ethics, Department of Theology, Fordham University

Terrence W. Tilley
Professor of Theology and Chair of the Department Fordham University

Bruce T. Morrill
Associate Professor, Theology Department, Boston College

Todd Whitmore
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, University of Notre Dame

Dennis M. Doyle
Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

Bradford E. Hinze
Professor of Theology, Fordham University

Vincent Miller
Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

Alex Mikulich
Jesuit Social Research Institute, Loyola University New Orleans

Elizabeth Groppe
Associate Professor of Theology, Xavier University

Maria Riley, OP
Senior Advisor, Global Women's Project, Center of Concern

Bryan N. Massingale
Associate Professor of Theology, Marquette University

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