Dear Pro-Choice Friends,
You and I disagree, so the media and the politicians would have us believe that we are at war. They tell us that there is a war on women and a war between women. Such hawkish rhetoric is no doubt meant to elicit from us a sense of moral outrage against each other. This kind of divisive talk might boost rating and get votes, but I’m not buying it. We are not at war. We are on the same team. We are mothers and wives, daughters and sisters and friends. We do not always agree, but we are on the same team.
Many of us have dedicated our lives to raising children who are happy, healthy, and safe. We look at a world full of need and greed and excess and want, and we wonder how to make it better for our children – for all children. No matter which end of the political or idealogical spectrum we fall on, we worry about how to teach our children kindness and fairness and justice. How do we give them strength? How do we equip them to choose right over wrong? Good over evil? We work, pray, donate, volunteer, and vote all in the hope, not only of making the world a better place for our children, but also in the hope of raising kids who will make the world a better place or others. No, we do not agree on everything, but we do agree on doing the best we can for our children and for the next generation.
We all want to see changes in the world. We all see problems and injustices that we wish we could fix. Yet, for all the problems facing our world and our country today, one of the biggest is this problem of divisiveness. Us against them. You against me. We live in a world where disagreements make us enemies and where instead of talking we use labels. We call each other Intolerant. Bigot. Hater. Crazy. Brainwashed. Stupid. Leftwing. Rightwing. We don’t discuss. We post memes. We aren’t setting a very good example for our children. And most of us are just preaching to the choir or pissing each other off.
I’m tired of that. We are getting nowhere. And there are way too many problems in the world for us waste time with silly name calling and clever putdowns. Most of us, pro-life or pro-choice, can agree that one of these problems is abortion. Every day over 3000 children die from abortions. Surely we can agree that over a million children lost yearly and as many mothers hurting is a tragedy. How can we even begin to tackle such massive loss and suffering? I think we have to start by talking about what we do agree on.
I think we can agree that women and children deserve better. As a pro-life woman, I could show you gruesome photos aborted babies. You could talk to me about back alley coat hanger abortions and the horrible suffering of so many women who endured these illegal procedures. And we would both be right to feel that the other should be horrified. The history of both legal and illegal abortion are horrifying.
But our culture is telling us that it’s one or the other. We can only be outraged over one of these. Certainly not both. We can be for babies and go around oppressing women. Or we can be for women and ignore the fact that children are dying. Well, as a prolife woman and the mother of two daughters, I oppose any and all oppression and objectification of women. I have no doubt that my pro-choice friends care about the lives of children.
Why can’t we have both? Why can’t we have laws that protect children from being killed in the womb and be a society that supports women who bring those children into the world and either raise them or entrust them to a waiting family? So many who favor keeping abortion legal argue that we have to keep abortion legal so that women who are too poor or alone or desperate or afraid can have safe access to abortion. Really? That is the best we can do for women? Surely we are not so emotionally and morally bankrupt as a society that the best we can offer desperate women is abortion.
I know it’s complex. I don’t pretend to know how to solve the problems of abuse or poverty or fear that drive some women to abortion. But I do believe that we are wasting time talking about choice when we should be talking about compassion and hope and life.
This letter is primarily to my pro-choice friends who have told me that they see abortion as a necessary evil. Again, I do not have the answers, but I’m asking you, I’m asking myself, how is it possible that in the world’s richest nation, abortion is necessary at all, and how can you and I make in unnecessary?
For my prochoice friends who simply see abortion as a normal reproductive choice that every woman should have access to, I would ask you what is normal about taking the lives of children? What choice are these babies given? I can’t understand that line of reasoning, Still, I don’t see you as my enemy. I believe we both want what we think is in the best interest of women and children. I hope you know that that is my desire too. I am not a woman hater. I have not declared war on women. I hope we can have an open dialog sometime free from all the political volleying that so often accompanies these conversations.
In his Letter to Women, Pope John Paul said,.. [that] Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic. Let’s do that. Let’s be honest and authentic and work together for the good of women and children.