I believe every abortion is a tragedy.  If I begin there, will you listen to the rest of what I have to say?  (Sen. Dan Foreman, I’m talking to you…)

I believe every abortion is a tragedy, but I also believe studies (such as the one published in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2012) that clearly show that the most effective way to reduce the abortion rate is to provide access to safe, convenient and affordable birth control, as well as comprehensive sex ed.

I believe every abortion is a tragedy, but I also believe in the right to bodily integrity.  Forcing a person to donate a kidney or bone marrow might save someone’s life, yet we understand intuitively that the donor must freely choose to do so.  Pregnancy carries serious health risk and leads to permanent changes in one’s body and should be freely chosen.

I believe every abortion is a tragedy, but I also believe that the power to choose in difficult situations belongs to the people most impacted by that decision, in this case, the woman and those who support her.  This complex and tragic choice cannot be reduced to something black and white.  Old men who write legislation should not be the ones in control of women’s bodies.

I was raped when I was fifteen.  Luckily, I didn’t become pregnant, but I can say with all honesty that if I had, any of the options open to me would have had tragic consequences.  So I refuse to judge women who choose abortion as the best of several bad options, and I remain whole-heartedly in favor of keeping abortion safe and legal.

Talking about abortion

June 27, 2014

Brief break from the GA blog:

I got an e-mail from our local Planned Parenthood rep, asking me to respond to a letter to the editor written in support of pro-life demonstrators (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/jun/25/unfairly-characterized/).

Here’s what I wrote:

I am responding to the letter by Leonard Johnson on June 25th. All of the labels typically used (pro-life, pro-choice, anti-abortion, pro-abortion) have been used as weapons, and as a result, many people carry scars. Johnson implies that the scars borne by those labeled “anti-abortion” by the media are particularly unfair.

However, the damage done to people walking into a clinic worries me far more. Women who are already making an incredibly difficult decision are frequently traumatized by graphic and disturbing images and bullying behavior. Protestors use shame and guilt and sometimes even physical violence, believing that their ends justify extreme means. Meanwhile, the medical professionals who are trying to support those women are also attacked.

The truth is that we are all pro-life. However, some of us believe that sometimes life is best served by terminating a pregnancy, while others believe that it never can be. Some us believe that the people best equipped to make these difficult decisions are the people most directly impacted. Others believe the government should have hard and fast rules.

We will likely never agree on these difficult issues. Might we, however, agree that all people deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion?