I’ve always thought of the pro-life/pro-choice issue as polarizing, and in today’s political discussion, it sure feels that way. Recently, however, I realized something: it doesn’t have to be.
When I was in high school, I used to roll my eyes as my guy friends argued and postured with each other. Their classic argument:
Guy 1: I’m stronger.
Guy 2: No, I can swim faster.
Guy 1: No, I’m stronger.
Guy 2: But I can swim faster!
They thought they were in disagreement when they weren’t even expressing two opposing viewpoints. It was ridiculous; they were defensive and insecure and/or just liked to argue.
Similarly, the pro-life and pro-choice viewpoints don’t have to be diametrically opposite from each other. You can believe that life is sacred and still believe in a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion. But really, whatever you believe about the legality of abortion, I bet there are a few things — vitally important things — most of us on both sides of the issue can agree on.
No one is like, “Yeah, abortions are awesome. SO much fun!” Even those of us who believe they ought to be legal see it as a last resort. What I’d much prefer is that we dispense with arguing with each other and start talking about what we can do to support women during their reproductive years to reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancy — something we can do through improved health care; more robust, consistent sex education; and access to birth control. What would happen if we took all the energy we spend shouting, “Get your laws off my body,” and, “Abortion is murder,” and used it to solve those issues?
We can all stand around with our signs, our chants, and our self-righteous rhetoric, or we can talk to each other like rational adults and actually DO something to improve outcomes for women of all races, religions, sexual orientations and socioeconomic statuses. We are all in this thing together, and I do mean ALL of us — not just white people or women or straight people or able-bodied people — every last person on this earth. Let’s finally act like it.