Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our voices our stories: Abortion


First Person: Your Voices, Your Stories

“I wish we could offer each other the kindness of respectful listening.”

In 2008 the radio program "On Being" (formerly "Speaking of Faith") asked listeners to write to them about the topic of abortion.   I was moved to respond and now they are updating and re-airing the program they have selected among the comments offered, and mine was posted on their main page.  Check it out.

Our voices: About abortion and how we talk to each other

Moreover, not long ago, Jane Flink sent me this story as part of a conversation we had on the topic of abortion.  One of the wonderful things about it was that I had no idea what her opinion was and so I had to listen carefully and open my mind.  Another wonderful thing is that the story is full of forgiveness.  That is always a good thing when important issues are being discussed.  So, I include a link to her short story.  It is excellent and its is called "God has a good idea"

God has a good idea: Many voices of women

I believe that we must move the topic of abortion back into dialogue, particularly among women of all ages and tell each other our stories and what is in our hearts.  It is a topic so laden with emotional meaning  and political significance that it has become unspeakable.  This sense of danger is often a sign that an issue has become wholly symbolic and is no longer connected to real peoples' lives.  Reductionism has occurred and this is a great pity because polling from many sources show that almost 80% of people agree while only 20% of people are in conflict. This is where the media and our fear of conflict collide to make a difficult situation worse.  I think there is more agreement and forgiveness than we know.



citizen said...

I think there is another component to this discussion. If it were truly about the precious nature of infants and children, more would be done to ensure that the lives of children were safe and healthy. The same people who oppose legal termination of a pregnancy oppose public housing, welfare, and maternity leave for both parents. They also continue to speak ill of single mothers. Criticism is working mothers is again entering the discourse. This ultimately about women and autonomy. The Puritan/Calvinist strain is still strong in some American circles. Women should not be able to live on their own and make decisions about their reproduction, their lives. It's a dreary time. I have to believe that the vast majority of voters, and Supreme Court Justices, will guide their votes by holding strong to the idea that liberty is a right that must be protected for all citizens. The liberty to continue a pregnancy as well as to terminate a pregancy cannot be left to the clashing belief systems of the public. It's private and should be honored as such. If the government can tell a woman that she cannot terminate a pregnancy, they are also empowered to tell a woman that she cannon carry a child to term, as in China. The government must stay out of such a private moment. I could go on.

Unknown said...

You are right. There is a lot tangled up in it that has been vilified. Race, women, poverty, taking things without earning them. All sorts of code words and symbolic speaking that makes it crazy.

You bring up good points about the unintended consequences of telling women what they can and cannot do.

I respect people who feel strongly for their own lives but I am really tired of the public harassment and the whole country pivoting on this issue. Thanks for your comment.

Ben Bellows said...

Interesting posts. Reductionism helps no one but people looking to
score points.


Andra Hibbert said...

brave and wonderful. i couldn't agree more.
"I have five things to say
five fingers to give
into your grace"

Gib Parrish said...

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for sending the link to the post. I read your thoughtful comments, now posted on the “On Being” site, and applaud you for your wise council and suggestions. I thought that the comment from “the citizen” reminded us of other aspects of the context within which women act.

Love, Gib

citizen said...

Citizen is Julie--I have not idea why it put that -- I think from an old blog about two years ago! i don't like anonymous posts so I am just correcting myself. cath