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Things Both Sides Agree On

On January 18th, 2014 I was able to attend a ProLife rally in Augusta, Maine.

Pastors, priests, and political officials spoke in favor of dismembering abortion, while I sat in the audience shaking in fear. They made places like Planned Parenthood a target. They said that abortion is murder, and x-amount of babies have died since Roe v Wade was passed 41 years ago. They marched with stop signs that read, “Stop Abortion Now” to the capitol building.

A counterpart and I took several ProLife pamphlets for research and attempted to engage with people to gather an understanding of why they’re so adamantly against abortion rights. And while the two sides have many differences, today’s post is going to focus on the similarities that both sides are fighting for that rarely get recognized because we’re all so focused on how ignorant “The Other Side” is.

*Support
One thing I was incredibly impressed by at the rally were some pamphlets that addressed, “How to talk to a friend who’s had an abortion,” or “Father No More, Where are the FATHERS of abortion?” Both pamphlets say things like, “There are counselors, priests, deacons, support groups and retreats prepared to help.” They address giving yourself time to grieve. They say, “Assure the person of love and support.”
This is incredibly similar to what Planned Parenthood, ProVoice, and what AbortionChat does. Everyone involved recognizes that this is not an easy decision. People will need support after their abortions.

*Pressure
Both sides are adamantly against the person who is pressured into seeking an abortion. Whether it is a significant other, a family member, or a friend telling the pregnant person to seek an abortion, both sides fight against the coercion.

*Lowering Abortion Rates
One side venomously opposes abortion. The other supports a person’s right to choose. Both, typically, work to lower abortion rates. One side does this by comprehensive sexual education, and having people understand the wonder of contraceptives. One side does this by prayers and picketing. Either way, both sides fight to lower abortion rates.

*Families
Governor Paul LePage spoke during the rally and identified himself as “ProChild.” As he talked, he spoke of broken families in Maine, young men in correctional facilities at young ages, and child abuse. He addressed the fact that families need help.
Again, Planned Parenthood and several ProChoice activists rally for this cause, the assembling of a family. Bringing a child into a broken household is dangerous and destructive. Helping families come together and be ready for a child is a miracle that both sides appear to recognize.

*Ending the Shaming of Single Mothers
LePage also spoke of lessening the shame and stigma of a single working mother. Many who support abortion rights also attempt to do the same thing by offering support, counseling, and government programs to assist single mothers.

*Older Generations Are Set In Their Ways
Though both sides often try to change people’s minds, typically there is one thing both recognize: The older generation is typically set in their own ways and belief systems. It is incredibly difficult to engage them in conversation, especially political, without feeling some form of wrath.
Therefore, it appears that both sides aim to reach out to the youth.

This is a small list, but it is a list that at least starts the conversation of how we can all work together to lower abortion rates, mend broken families, support single parents, support people who’ve sought abortion, and end the pressuring of a person to obtain an abortion.

What else could we add to this list?

2 Thoughts on “Things Both Sides Agree On

  1. So, unpopular opinion time, folks. I actually don’t agree with one of the items on this list. (Though I do agree that it’s a good list – keep up the great work, abortionchat peeps!).

    I don’t actually agree with the idea that we should be working on lowering the number of abortions. Why? Because the problem isn’t the number of abortions. The REAL problem is the number of unintended pregnancies. The vast majority of abortions are performed when a pregnant person is experiencing an unintended pregnancy. So what we should REALLY be focusing on is lowering the number of unintended pregnancies (which, coincidentally, will lower the abortion rate).

    When we say we want to lower the abortion rate, we necessarily place stigma on abortion. Why would we want to reduce something if it wasn’t bad? And we all know that abortion is far, far, far safer than childbirth for pregnant persons, at least in the first trimester. So why would we want to reduce something that was safer for pregnant persons?

    My goal is to help people make the best choices and decisions they can for their reproductive futures. And preventing unintended pregnancies will do far more to help individuals in that regard than reducing the abortion rate.

  2. Thank you for your thought-provoking blog and wise insights. I admire you for seeking, finding & reporting on the overlapping interests of the polar groups involved in shaping women’s reproductive health rights.

    I especially appreciate the kind & compassionate tone of your words. Kindness & compassion so often are drowned out in the rivers & floods of angry rhetoric.

    I felt my heart catch when I read that advocates on both sides dismiss older people.

    Millions of older women have lived for decades in silent isolation, forced to hear shaming messages that will never end. These older women are the spine of the world today, because they have bravely borne the cruel judgments of others and yet have lived responsible, productive, creative and loving lives.

    These women fill every occupation imaginable. They have taught your children in elementary school. They have treated your illnesses & injuries in hospitals. They have had a hand in everything from the clothes you wear, to the food you eat, to the medicine you take.

    Not only have these millions of women lived & worked valiantly amid brutal social shaming, they also have raised millions of children who right now are young adults living responsible, productive, creative and loving lives, filling every professional role you can name.

    And these millions of older women — stoic & strong despite decades of malicious social judgment — also have raised millions of grandchildren who now are poised to become the responsible, productive, creative and loving leaders of tomorrow.

    I am one of these millions of older women. I fully understand that the fight for reproductive freedom must focus on the young. And yet, I ask you to reach deep into the shadows & help older women come out into the light of day with the dignity they deeply deserve. Teach them how to use social networking, so at long last they can find each other, and so at long last they can find you – young, caring people who can overpower the shaming messages with your voices of kindness and compassion.

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