We liberals are plainly losing the front on abortion. This week, North Dakota, following in the footsteps of other conservative states, essentially banned all abortion.
On the issue of abortion rights, we are clearly losing in the legislative arena, but we are also losing in swaying public opinion to accept a woman's right of choice. Young people are more liberal than their parents on nearly every issue, but their views on abortion are nearly identical to older generations. What’s going on here? It’s easy to blame our troubles on overreaching legislators like Gov. Dalrymple of North Dakota, but we shouldn’t be surprised that he and other anti-choice crusaders are doing all they can to advance their agenda.
Actually, I blame us, myself included, the advocates of abortion rights. I blame us for timidity and for a squeamish lack of commitment to our own values.
Abortion is a valid choice and it is a common choice. A third of American women will have had an abortion by the time they are 45. These are good women in difficult situations making the best choice they can for themselves and their families. I guarantee you know these women. They’re your sister, your friend, your mother. Yet still it takes tremendous courage for women to come forward with their stories and to provide comfort to other women who are going through the same thing.
You know, it’s easy for me--I'm healthy, in a loving marriage, with a stable job--to say that I would never have an abortion. But what if my life was in danger? What if I was raped, or struggling with anorexia, deep depression or extreme poverty? Should any woman be forced to deal not only with the trauma of being raped, but of being judged and shamed for choosing not to bare their rapist’s child? Or the child of the con-man who promises a lifetime of love and who is gone in an instant? Or a child with a debilitating nerve disorder who will be dead by age three? The circumstances of a woman’s life are so varied and so personal, it’s simply not for us to judge.
This week, we find ourselves on the verge of a moral victory, where millions of gay Americans, many of whom have been living and loving in the shadows, seem poised to have their love recognized and validated by a government that would have thrown them in prison 20 years ago for expressing that love. But there’s another group living in the shadows by a society that would judge and shame them. The a third of American women who have had an abortion. It’s time for us to bring these tens of millions of American women, out sisters, our mothers, and in slightly different circumstances, ourselves, out of the shadows and into the light.