Changing Hearts: New Op-Ed Urges Pro-Life Pro-Choice “Partnership”

NARAL logo RH Reality Check has an interesting article by Anna Clark called “Changing Hearts, From Pro-Life to Pro-Choice.”

She chronicles her tale from fervid anti-choice to passionate pro-choice. And no, her change of heart does not involve her own (or any particular person’s) abortion.

What I love about this piece is that it humanizes the struggle itself. Clark dislikes the idea of two warring sides and laments that her ideas on reproductive rights would have changed much sooner had pro-choicers bothered to talk to her about their beliefs rather than eying her up as the enemy.

It’s difficult not to become enraged about the issue itself, but do we need to be constantly enraged at each other? Pro-choicers watch religious, political, and largely misogynistic rhetoric take away the right to our own bodies and futures (let alone our own personal and/or religious or spiritual beliefs.) Pro-lifers believe that sex-hungry women defile their bodies and wipe away their sin by conveniently aborting their innocent babies.

It’s emotional. It’s volatile. But is it, essentially, for the everyday women who find themselves on one side of the issue or the other, the truth? Are the assumptions made by each side about the other really what’s going on in the hearts and minds of women?

I would argue that it isn’t. That those at the polar extremes of the abortion issue speak the loudest and get the most media attention. And then I wonder if, when someone tells me she’s pro-life, it’s only my own smallness that causes my knee-jerk dislike, even disrespect for her.

Clark writes:

Enemy caricatures mask the greatest strength of pro-choice philosophy: inclusiveness.

Pro-choice society, like democratic society, is predicated on space for those who disagree. When we play sides, we forget there are no enemies in the vision we pursue. Our inclusiveness of those who choose not to have abortions, and even those who judge abortion to be morally wrong, is our movement’s power. When we approach anti-choicers as friends, not only do we act on the heart of our beliefs, but we create space for anti-choicers to become our allies.

I’m not sure how I feel about my ability to embrace the total inclusiveness thing, but women speaking openly and non-divisively to other women (and men) about this critical issue, can only be a good idea.


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