August 4, 2013

War on Women’s Rights Continues. We Need Your Voice.


It’s vital that we share our stories and begin to shift the debate from talking abstractly to talking about real people.

This week the war on women’s rights showed no signs of slowing down. North Carolina’s governor signed a restrictive abortion bill into law, effectively closing the state’s remaining abortion clinic, while in Texas, Democrat Eddie Lucio filed a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to take a three-hour course on adoption first.

Meanwhile, senate Republicans Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rob Portman are working on a federal ban to abortion at 20 weeks, as activists admittedly acknowledge it as the first step toward their ultimate goal of banning abortion completely.

We seem to be talking about abortion more and more lately, but our talking points are still focused on the black or white, pro-life or pro-choice arena. What’s missing from these debates are the stories and voices of those who have faced this decision and those who have had abortions.

One of the blogs I regularly follow The Dish, by Andrew Sullivan, has run a series in the last couple of years entitled “It’s So Personal.” The series features readers’ stories about their experiences facing late-term abortion. The stories are heartbreaking and reveal the layers and complications of facing this decision.

One Dish reader shared a story this week about his experience with abortion when he and his wife faced the complications of a monoamniotic twin pregnancy. In the end, they decided not to abort, but he said this about having to choose:

“We felt—and we still feel—that this is a fundamentally personal decision, and we were shocked at the politicization of this medical issue, when of course nobody else can tell you what is right for your family. It is a decision that has the potential to fundamentally alter the entire course of your life, and until you are personally faced with something like this, there is no way to know how you are going to react or what the right course of action will be.”

It’s an important point to remember in this debate—ultimately, none of us can say absolutely what is or isn’t right for another person.

Sullivan also posted reader thoughts on the new documentary, After Tiller, which is about late-term abortion providers in America. One reader expressed support for talking about the issue:

“Until we hear the stories behind life-and-death decisions, we base our judgments on abstracts and absolutes, missing the human part of the equation. We need these points of view.”

This commenter is right. We won’t be able to truly change anything until we start our conversations from a viewpoint that recognizes the men and women involved as people.

In part, this Dish series is what inspired me to first ask for your stories in July and it’s why I’m asking for more now.

It’s vital that we share our stories and begin to shift the debate from talking abstractly to talking about real people. Those who have gone through the experience and those who have faced the choice can shed some light and help us change the conversation. It’s easy to say what someone should or shouldn’t do when we are talking in abstracts, but it’s not when we realize, as Sullivan notes, “it’s so personal.”

If you’ve had an abortion or faced having to make a choice, I’d like to hear about the experience. You can share as much or as little as you’d like. Also, feel free to be creative, and step outside the writing medium.

The stories will be compiled and shared with the community (anonymously, if preferred).

If you choose to share, know that it will be done in confidence and with the utmost care. You can send your submissions to [email protected] by August 15th, 2013.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

{Photo: via Sterling Ely}

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