I just ran across an excellent opinion piece from Newsweek about the abortion debate. The author, Anna Quindlen, says that the dialogue between the two sides has been lacking, and that the reproductive rights advocates need to take the initiative in remedying the situation:
Those of us who support reproductive rights like to say that polls show many Americans are on our side. The truth is that they are on our side, but. But they are troubled by what they’ve heard about certain methods. But they’re concerned about what they can see on the sonogram. How come, they ask, an unaccompanied 14-year-old can’t get a tattoo but can get an abortion? How come when you want it it’s called a baby and when you don’t it’s called a fetus? And how come they’re made to feel unreasonable and ignorant when they ask such questions? How come we don’t call it as they feel it?
She brings up some points that have long bothered me. Ultimately, my opinion doesn’t matter, because as man it’s a decision I’ll never have to face. But as one of many politically pro-choice, but morally and emotionally conflicted bystanders to the conflict, I wish I felt that I could discuss things like post-abortion depression and medical complications without fearing being accused of spreading propaganda for the other side. To be honest, the impression I’ve gotten from a lot of pro-choice activists is that they think abortion is always OK, that it should be no more morally or philosophically troubling than having a mole removed; that up till it’s born into the world a fetus is just a “blob of flesh”; and that any questioning of the above means you’re with the other side.
As a former blob of flesh who has shaken hands with a former aborted baby, things are not as black and white from my point of view. And I want to be able to talk about that. I want to be able to talk about things like depression and medical complications, and how often they really occur. I want to be able to ask why records are not kept on those outcomes. I want to know the real stats on third-trimester abortions, and whether it’s true that it’s a rare procedure that’s only used when it’s a medical necessity. I want to know how much, if any, of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from the abortion business, and if so whether it is really the interests of women that they put first.
Basically, I have concerns, and I would like to put them to rest, or at least feel like they have been addressed. But as it is I don’t feel comfortable talking about them. I’m nervous writing this, in fact. Maybe I’m just paranoid from years of hanging out with pro-lifers. I’d like my fears to be proven groundless.
EDIT: Oops, forgot to include a link to the article.