An Open Letter to the Polarized Camps of the Abortion Debate
Dear pro-choice crowd: it is dishonest and immoral to discretely stick abortion under the label "women's health" or "reproductive rights."
Dear pro-life crowd: there's a mother involved too. The fetus is hard-wired to her.
Dear pro-choice crowd: there's a baby involved too. Stop talking as if the "choice" only affects the woman.
Dear pro-life crowd: you are rightly criticized when you fill up a room with men and Catholic priests to talk about issues that directly affect women.
Dear pro-choice crowd: you are rightly criticized when you dismiss those with religious convictions about a fetus as somehow "anti-woman" or when you act as if questions about the value of unborn life are not at stake.
Dear pro-life crowd: you are rightly criticized if you can be found in other forums supporting things that are not pro-life at all, like guns, the death penalty, or harsh immigration laws.
Dear pro-choice crowd: you are rightly criticized if you talk in other forums about defending the cause of the helpless and vulnerable but don't apply that principle to an unborn baby.
Dear pro-life crowd: you're not helping your case if you can be found in other forums opposing practices that have been statistically shown to decrease unintended pregnancies, like access to contraception and publicly-funded sex education.
Dear pro-choice crowd: you're not helping your case if you stubbornly avoid discussion about how to decrease unintended pregnancies for fear of appearing pro-life. The other side already thinks that you're out there looking for more babies to abort, so don't be afraid to make it clear that you ideally don't want women to be faced with the choice to begin with.
Dear pro-life crowd: you're not helping your case if you try to change laws and policy by appealing to religion and scripture. If you really want to make it about saving the unborn, don't alienate people by using a platform that sounds like an attempt to entangle church and state.
Dear pro-choice crowd: you're not helping your case if you try to talk about a broad range of women's rights and issues when the abortion question is on the table. If you yourselves lump abortion in with other women's issues and things like Planned Parenthood, don't be surprised when the other side does the same thing and demonizes the whole package.
Dear pro-life crowd: pay attention to testimonies that could stretch your position, like a rape victim who could not bear the psychological trauma of giving birth to the rapist's baby.
Dear pro-choice crowd: pay attention to testimonies that could stretch your position, like those who put a face on the issue by sharing that their mother considered abortion but changed her mind.
Dear everyone: we need a reasonable, inclusive, honest discussion about abortion that honors all who are involved and is focused on the real issue where we still generally agree: the need to reduce unintended pregnancies.