It is becoming obvious to most people that there are many casualities of the Culture Wars in the U.S. Barack Obama’s famous rhetoric “there are no red states or blue states, there are only Americans” now seems quaintly naive. Bipartisanship, freedom of speech and thought, civil discourse, and democracy itself are severely wounded.
The battlefields of the Abortion War are littered with casualties. Women and their loved ones and abortion caregivers are obvious victims, but so too are those caught in the crossfire of the extremes and those who have been forced to choose sides. What cannot be heard, and is mostly silenced, is the complexity of an individual abortion experience, the deep moral thoughtfulness that can go into a pregnancy decision, the range of beliefs, feelings, experiences of all who are touched by abortion.
Against the din of the Abortion War, a small group of people who care about women and support quality abortion access have decided to re-start the Abortion Conversation Project. Courage or folly or both? Time will tell.
This time we want to employ a “conflict transformation” approach for our work. We do not expect those who are pro choice and pro life to sit down and talk like lambs and lions. Not at all. We want to talk to the people next to us, and those next to them, and the colleagues and friends of those next to them. We want to learn to listen to their complexities and teach them to listen fully to others and on and on, until we can hear more voices and more stories. We believe the war culture will have less opportunity to damage if we have a deeper understanding of people’s realities. We hope to heal some of the damage done.
Let’s start with some simple, small steps and get some practice listening to others who may not completely agree with us. Conversation exercises will be posted here regularly along with some thoughtful presentations. Comments and feedback will be moderated carefully and updated regularly. To join our circle, register if you are not already a wordpress user. We also encourage you to sign up for our mailing list on our website.
Let the conversation begin. It’s time. More than ever.