Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's So Personal

There has been an amazing series of posts on Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish, titled "It's So Personal." Sullivan has a strong Catholic background and is staunchly pro-life, but in the wake of George Tiller's murder he has opened a discussion on his blog featuring first-hand stories of women (and sometimes their husbands/boyfriends) about their decisions to either have or not have an abortion, with an emphasis on abortions that occur after ~20 weeks--the type of abortion that Tiller was one of only about three doctors in America to provide.

The best part about the series has been the even-handedness of it all. Accounts are published from people who had abortions who regretted it and those who think it was the right choice. There are stories of mothers who chose not to have an abortion and are happy with that decision, even if sometimes the baby only lived a few minutes, if at all. The stories contradict each other, in the sense that they don't all come to the same conclusions or even agree about some of the fundamentals. But they are all real in that you can get a sense, however small, of the heart-wrenching decisions that many women and men go through. The series brings nuance, reality, and detail to a debate that has for too long been characterized by the single word you put after "pro-" in your label. These posts remind us all that this really is not just a black and white issue, no matter how strong feelings are on both sides. [See this Newsweek article that basically says the same thing, more eloquently.]

You can read the first dozen or so posts here, listed chronologically. Since that list was published just earlier this week, there have been a few more published as well. Three that I found very touching were Not Knowing For Sure, A Target of Terror, and, perhaps the most unlikely, A Life Saved By Choice.

My point, again, is this: abortion is a terribly difficult choice. While I don't think it's possible or, ultimately, desirable to outlaw abortion, I also love life and want to see the number of elective abortions drop through promoting adoption, better counseling, and providing much more support for pre-, neo-, and post-natal care, especially for the impoverished. But the bottom line is this: don't vilify and lampoon those who disagree with you. Again, this is not a cut-and-dry issue, so let's all try to do what we can to understand other points of view and try to look with charity on all of our fellow women and men. I'm grateful to Sullivan for helping me see multiple sides of a contentious issue.


  1. Oh I really like that blog, thanks for mentioning it here.

  2. It's really really good, I agree. I'm getting more and more addicted to it (as the next post I just put up demonstrates :) )