How to Talk to your Conservative Parents about Abortion
** I wrote this letter to my conservative, Republican-voting parents on the morning of May 17th, 2019 shortly after Alabama passed their anti-abortion bill. I seek to be a voice of reason and hope within these dark times, and wish that this letter might help you find the words for your own family about such matters. **
If you’ve seen the news at all, you know that Alabama has passed a law banning abortions even in cases of rape and incest, with other states following suit.
Personally I’m woefully perplexed that other people who don’t know me might think it’s a great idea to force me to carry a rapist’s baby in my body and then raise it as a single mom, forever changing the course of my life.
Would either of you actually want to watch me go through that?
No, Mom and Dad, I would have an abortion.
Or that I would even be forced to raise a child that for whatever reason I or the father didn’t want or wasn’t ready for. We really don’t need more kids brought up in broken homes with absentee parents..
My FB news feed these past days is filled with friends’ vulnerable stories about abortions they have had and why, how difficult the circumstances were and how glad they were they chose what they did because otherwise they wouldn’t have graduated college, pursued their dream, met their current husband or wife, or had the beautiful healthy kids they currently have if they had stayed with the sleazy ex boyfriend that knocked them up that one summer.
In a lot of cases, it was just a practical decision, the right thing to do, and it’s a very personal decision, not a political one in my opinion.
It seems like these laws are reflective of a deeper reactivity, repression and moral backlash, not based on what is truly the best for humans and our country..
It feels to me like with the #MeToo movement there has been a rising up of women’s power and confidence and speaking up against the wrongs men have perpetrated. Now these laws seem to be coming as a bit of an attempt to put them in their place, control women and their autonomy and shame them for their decisions.
“Remember,” an article I saw stated, “100% of unwanted pregnancies are caused by MEN.”
I got a giggle out of that one.. :)
I’m personally looking forward to the time when, as a culture, we can get past all the old-school demonization of sex, generalized suppression of women and all the guilt and shame we carry around sex, and learn to celebrate and respect it as a force of nature, one that is beautiful and sacred in itself.
I think that one thing that those Right-Wingers and I DO have in common is a belief in the preciousness of human life, I guess we just go about expressing that in really different ways..
So instead of pointing the finger in shame, let’s MINIMIZE the amount of abortions and unwanted pregnancies, because hey, it’s not exactly a joyous occasion for anyone.
Let’s educate people about the beauty and power of sexual intimacy, that it’s something to be respected and engaged in with care.
Let’s teach boys and men how to treat a woman with love and honor, and stop putting up with locker room talk.
Let’s educate about pregnancy and ways to avoid it and make condoms and birth control universally available (and men’s birth control which is apparently coming soon).
Let’s give people ways to have abortions as soon as humanly possible once they find out, and then compassionately give them adequate counseling afterwards to support them in one of the hardest decisions they ever had to make.
My attitude is way more of a scientifically based harm-reduction model which would likely be supported by the vast majority of healthcare workers.
Here’s one that would NOT be supported..
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that thing down.” -U.S. Representative Todd Akin of Missouri
So if you’re wondering why me and my friends think the far right republicans are whack, here’s some fact-checked statements (as well as the context they were stated in) about rape and abortion that right wing lawmakers “actually” said and the attitudes which are influencing their policies. I can’t imagine either of you would agree with a single one of these statements..
Sadly, I *can* imagine that old guy we met the other day with the motorcycle having a chuckle at some of these..
Read the article, they’re all real statements.. let that sink in..
It’s a worrisome, polarized time we are living in, and I hope we can all find our way out of it together into a just and thriving world.
Love you both,