The 33d Roe v Wade anniversary seemed quiet this year, considering it may well be the last celebration of legal abortion. Among providers, there is a grim despair as all efforts to alarm, persuade, appeal, filibuster, and more have been lost. As a provider in Ohio said, "We can hear the clock ticking on legal abortion."
Interestingly, though, abortion beat reporters and many organizations fundraising for abortion rights are enjoying a resurgence. Fundraisers are well attended; people are paying attention to their disappearing rights. And after decades of trying to get reporters to cover something OTHER THAN the anti-abortion arguments are beginning to write the people involved in abortion experiences back into the stories.
Most amusing to me is the sniping between Wm Saletan, author of Bearing Right, How the Conservatives Won the Abortion War, and Katha Pollit of the Nation. Both are pro choice, both make a lot of sense to me, and yet they are screaming at each other about who is losing abortion rights for all of us.
Saletan, who has analyzed opinion polls about abortion and understands better than anyone how all kinds of Americans feel about abortion, and how that affects policy, says that we should just acknowledge that abortion is bad and focus on getting to zero abortions, better birth control etc etc.
Pollit strongly trumpets the need for legal abortion and the positive good it does for women in providing for their children, contributing to the economic and social well being of our society, and for basically saving women's lives.
It's so odd to live in the day to day world that is so talked about, screamed about, killed over, and agonized over. And of course, I think I have the answer, not only to reconcile Saletan and Pollit, but also our society, or most of it, about the divisive issue of abortion. You see, every single day, I talk to women who do not think abortion is a great thing-- they feel bad, they cry, but they face something that the opinionated public does not: a decision about how to have life, how to bring life into the world. Every single woman wants to make life better and their conclusion is that by ending the potential life inside them, they can better provide, or realize their dreams, or contribute, or just be healthier. They don't love that they have to make such a decision, they know that society looks down on them, that their family or partner or co worker might judge them, but they cannot avoid a choice so they look at their lives and make the best choice, the least bad choice, their choice. And if anyone can tell me how to put that on a bumper sticker or in a sound bite for middle America, please let me know. In the meantime, I will continue to post what I see and hear on the real Abortion Front--in the hearts and minds of women who are pregnant and don't want to be.
Thanks for listening.