It’s hard for Americans to talk about abortion, believing, as so many of us do, that the “other side” is overly emotional, unreasonable, hostile, and shrill – no matter which side the other side is. A group in Asheville is committed to overcoming this division and talking honestly and openly about this most sensitive issue. The Citizen-Times endorsed that approach today with an editorial praising the Blue Moon Group‘s attempt to bridge the pro-life/pro-choice gap. Let them be a model for the rest of us who want so much to stop being civically divided by issues that aren’t even truly political.
Given that, as the Citizen-Times points out, most Americans want abortion to remain safe, legal, and rare, there should be a way to make that happen. Abortion must remain legal to be safe, and, frankly, it amazes me that there could be anyone who doesn’t see this. Making abortion illegal will not end abortion, it will only endanger women and criminalize them at a desperate time of their lives. I know our health-care system stinks, but I think we’re better than that. Doing the right thing means offering girls and women comprehensive education about their sexual and reproductive choices, and supporting them no matter the choice they make. Notice, that’s not an either/or proposition, and it’s not abstinence-only sex ed with dash of castigation and shame thrown in for good measure. It also means moving the discussion out of the political realm and into reality, meeting women where they are. When we can’t even talk about the issues that divide us, when we can’t agree that hostility and abuse have no place in our debate, we are truly lost.
If the Blue Moon Group in Asheville, comprising evangelicals and an abortion providers, can not only speak civilly to one another, but actually become friends, surely there is hope for all of us. In this dawn of a more progressive politics (it’s like a dream!), we have a very real chance to put abortion out of work as a hot-button political division. To achieve that, we’ll have to reach out, with a real spirit of openness and respect, to the pro-life (though I reject that label, since none of us are anti-life) community, and listen to what they have to say. Can we do that? Yes, we can.
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