Thursday, January 22, 2009


1. That's right. Today is indeed the 36th anniversary of the landmark court decision to overturn state and federal laws concerning abortion.
Although I do lean toward "pro-life" in the richest sense (including pro-life in regards to war, euthanasia, abortion, victimization and violence) I am never a black and white person. I like to tread where the ground is muddy and the lines are blurred. When it comes to abortion I am actually neither completely pro-life nor pro-choice.

2. In my post a couple of days ago I suggested that one of the outcomes of liberalism is that we, especially in American culture, have a social construct of politics, culture, religion (ie life) that we tend to think things are either "black" or "white", "conservative" or "liberal", "religious" or "secular", etc etc... However, when we create narrow categories and have to communicate within those categories our imaginations are stifled and the outcomes are limited.

3. So when I say that I am neither pro-life nor pro-choice completely, I am not saying that I am indecisive or riding the fence, what I am actually saying is that because of the way our culture is currently shaped there are not many spaces for meaningful conversations that include alternative positions.

4. I'll expand this a little more. I am in favor of "life-giving" policies; regulations that enhance the quality of life for people, reduce harm and violence and promote health. If I were to be pro-choice then I would be supporting a woman's right to choose whether or not the environment is right for her to bring a child into this world. There could be all kinds of other issues as well to not bring the child into the world, mental health, physical health, etc... If I am pro-life then I believe that unborn children's lives, no matter what the environment or social context is, are valuable enough that children should have the right to be born and a chance to have a meaningful life.

5. Here's my first problem with the argument as its currently played out over and over again: I do NOT want to be part of an argument that pits mothers against children. That in affect is what our current abortion stances do. If you are pro-choice you side with mothers who have a choice to abort their children. If you are pro-life then you side with "at-risk unborn children" while silencing the many tragic stories of "at-risk pregnant mothers-to-be" who are victims to many social ills and forms of violence.

6. You see when we take sides, such as "pro-life" or "pro-choice", we exclude the stories of particular people, the hardships they face, and the often time painful experiences they have faced. We also exclude the willingness to imagine what an unborn child's story might be, as well.

7. Liberal politics (both that of republicans and democrats) want us to accept positions and platforms that are easy to choose. When we come together to discuss social issues such as war, abortion, or even something like school zoning and we do it in the context of our own stories of who we are and where we have come from then the arguments get muddy and less categorical.

8. The last reason that I cannot agree with either the "pro-life" or "pro-choice" position today is because of this: The current positions do not take into account that both choices are not just affecting a mother or an unborn child, these choices affect entire families, and communities. Hilary Clinton coined "it takes a village to raise a child" and yes, after it was said over and over again I began to make fun of the phrase. But Hilary wasn't telling America anything new. The village mentality is what got Americans through 2 world wars, a depression and countless other crises. So surely we can understand that when a mother-to-be is making the hard decision to have an abortion, that choice should not be solely her own choice...

9. Maybe the choice on whether a woman should or should not have an abortion should be determined by the mother-to-be, the particular people that make up her social support, her community, and those most knowledgeable in the areas of physical and emotional health. I'm always open to conversation.


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