How can we elevate the discussion on abortion – that is, how can we face policies and politics in a manner that overcomes the traditional divide between liberal and conservative – in a way that benefits both sides? I think that we need to refuse to fall in with the rhetoric and propaganda of either side (and admit that both sides employ rhetoric and propaganda).
Slogans, rhetoric and name-calling will not get us there, nor will demonizing those with different opinions. If we truly give an honest look at the debate, we will find that neither side is anti-choice or anti-life.
In her letter to the editor (11 Feb 2005), responding to an earlier article, Beverly Marcus makes the assertion that “pro-choice activists have worked diligently over the last 30 years to ensure that abortions remain safe, legal and rare in the United States.” This is not a fair assessment. As seen in the slogan of Refuse and Resist, “Abortion on demand and without apology,” some of the extremists on the pro-choice side have been advocating abortion’s legality at the expense of all else.
Abortion providers are one of the least-regulated medical facilities in the U.S. The laws in place for inspection and regulation are not even enforced in many cases because of the politically charged nature of the issue.
Kudos to those in the pro-choice camp who have been taking steps to bridge this divide between us that is largely polemical. Thank you to Nancy Keenan of NARAL, John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton for beginning to reach out to the pro-life side. I pray that all Americans will begin to work together to create a safe, nurturing environment for all children, a culture in which abortion, this “failure of our system” (Hillary Rodham Clinton) is no longer seen as a necessity.