How do I even start on this topic? I’m not sure.
So why even bring this topic up? I’m not sure. I run the risk of offending, touching a nerve, or, maybe, quite possibly, getting people to think a little about this topic differently. Maybe. I’m not holding my breath on that though.
When I say or write the word abortion, I’ll bet you already had a reaction – a strong emotional reaction. It was probably much like other controversial issues that you have taken a stand on. It was either a very negative view of the word equating the word with death and murder or it was something else, but not quite positive. Maybe it was a sad reaction or maybe anger with a thought going through your head – “oh boy, here goes another person who doesn’t understand.” Maybe it was something else.
I’m not here to try to convince you to change your mind about abortion. You’ve come to your conclusion for what you see are good reasons. I can respect that.
Let me say something different. Abortion is one of those topics that are hard to even talk about. So many people are so entrenched in one side or the other. They are invested in their belief about the topic to the point that they know all the tweets and one liners to say in response to the opposing side’s tweets and one liners. And the more invested a person becomes in their side, the more they feel the need to defend their position. We become more entrenched and less willing to listen to anything that might hint that there is another way.
An interesting observation about abortion is the language. Language is a good predictor of outcomes. When I look at the “debate” around abortion, what I observe are two vocal sides who are very good at keeping their supporters in check. What I mean is that these two sides do not adopt the language of the other. pro-Life vs. anti-Abortion, pro-Choice vs. pro-abortion. The new one is pro-Life vs. pro-birth. It’s yet another attempt by one side of the “debate” to get the upper hand on the argument to sway people in this ongoing battle.
Now let me change gears on you. Abortion has been a debate for several decades now. Actually – the legality and morality of abortion have been a debate for several decades now. This entire time I can’t recall the focus shifting away from the one-liners, the statistics, the procedure, using “woman” and “baby” as a verbal fighting tool in the battle. That’s what happens when we get locked up in an “us” vs. “them” situation. You either have to be for a position or against it – no other way.
God forbid we look at a situation and recognize that polar opposition does nothing to help what each of these two sides actually stands for. It’s like watching two kingdoms hole up in their castles defending themselves. Meanwhile there’s a whole group of people looking at the situation and saying – “what the hell’s wrong with these people? I’m staying away from here – at some point it’s going to be a blood bath.”
As hard as it may be to understand – both sides have valid points and considerations. Surprisingly, both have a similar ultimate goal (if the rhetoric is accurate) – a lower number of abortions. Pro-Life people want to reduce abortions. Pro-Choice people have said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” That’s been the motto for as long as I can remember. So why can’t we tone down the rhetoric and figure out how to make that happen?
Instead both sides have chosen a different path – the total victory path. It’s the path where there are only winners and losers. There are only hurting women and (I’ll let you pick how you want to talk about the result of an abortion – child or fetus or material, etc). It’s a path where we have hidden videos to catch people in the act and we have heated rhetoric. Because we all know that fighting is so much more appealing than dealing with something. There gets to be bad guys when you fight. And “our side” gets to be justified in demonizing the other side.
I pray that God have mercy on us as we continue to fight. I pray that we stop and listen. I pray that we get out of the us versus them mentality. I pray…