Sunday, February 1, 2015

Us Versus Them

I made this. All by myself.

I don't know if you know, but the March For Life just happened. I have never attended. I hear it is fun. Or something. I'm not really sure how a protest is supposed to be fun, but I came across an article that was written by someone that advocates for abortion rights, and the way she described the March was helpful to me. It also made me think about some things. (Click here to read it. I'll wait.)

So. How about those under-inflated balls? Oh. My bad, you can't talk and read.

Finished? Alright then.

What I most liked about this piece is that it made the giant misunderstanding between pro-life and pro-choice majorities evident. Here are a few things worth mentioning:

Marty makes a point to use specific terminology: anti-abortion vs. pro-life. Both are true, but each speak more to what each "side" deems to be the most important part of their cause. I submit that we own it. I absolutely am against abortion, so anti-abortion hits the nail on the head. Sure, it is more negative sounding than 'pro-life' but I'm okay with that. I don't think it does us any good to continue to use the terms 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice' to be honest. Sure. The implication is that we are focused on life, but are they the only ones focused on choice? Not by a long shot. The problem with focusing the terminology on 'anti-abortion' and 'pro-abortion' advocacy though, is that it isn't really about just abortion, is it?

Sure, I am against abortion, but I am against it because it ends the life of a person. A person with inherent value and dignity. However, I would wager that the majority of those that support access to abortion are not really just crazy for abortion. Marty reminds us of this by mentioning (more than once) the woman that might be convinced she has no other option. 

Herein lies the biggest misunderstanding between these two movements. Ideally, we fight for the dignity of every person, and they fight for women in tragic situations. 

So... aren't we also?

Marty also sums up the cause in a way that she identifies as being "against safe and legal access to abortion". Not untrue, but not really the main issue as we see it. We absolutely are against legal abortion, but our main goal is to avoid the taking of innocent lives. 

The way I see it, we aren't being very clear on our intentions. We absolutely want to eliminate abortion, and often that is the only truth we show. We hide behind rhetoric and our righteousness at times, but we never take that next step: how will we support the women that find themselves believing they must end the life of their child to survive themselves? 

Marty correctly points out the exact reason that many support abortion rights, no matter how misguided we might believe it to be: they truly want to see women have options and be supported. The problem? Perhaps the cause is a bit more cynical. The way I see it, abortion advocates plan for a woman's support system to drop the ball. They are planning on women being abused, raped. unable to support themselves and a child, forgotten. They plan for all the things that we do not seem to want to admit happens in this world. We don't. We have the truth. We know those lives matter, but often we forget or we don't know how to follow through on eliminating the reasons a woman would feel forced into abortion.

It should not be Us vs. Them. We have far more in common than any of us care to admit. That is the issue that deserves attention right now. Will we ever get there?


  1. Hi Jess. Just got back from the March for Life a week ago. I was on a caravan with 400 students from North Dakota traveling 50 hours round trip. We slept on the bus on the way down and back, and our bodies ached, but we pushed forward. And on the day of the March, our students headed to the front of the pack, where they were honored with the carrying of the lead banner. It was interesting to read the thoughts of someone who has come from a different perspective. I'm glad she got a chance to see that this really is a large event, and very youthful. At times, though, as one who was there, and who went two years ago too as a parent chaperone, I found myself wincing a bit at her perception. For example, the chanting of "we love babies yes we do," on at least one occasion, our group was involved in that back and forth. And I will tell you that it wasn't about flirting. It was about coming together for a common cause, and just stating the truth of it all: we love babies. And we want all of them to have a chance to live. One thing I did want to point out relates to the end of your post. You seem discouraged that pro-life people aren't doing enough to help the women in this situation (I think?). In our community of Fargo, perhaps we're spoiled in being small enough that the same pro-life community that attended that March largely supports our local pregnancy help center. We are not just there to change abortion laws, but to change hearts. And new groups like the one started by my friend, Lauren, from Texas, Sidewalk Advocates for Life, are trying to approach abortion-prone women in love and with a true desire to help her. So, I do think those efforts are indeed happening. The only question is, can those who want to keep abortion as law be convinced to let go of some of those wonderful dollars they earn from ending babies' lives and, instead, put them toward helping the women who are in that position? The efforts are happening, but blood money is compelling. It's very tempting to go in that direction, and it skews one's thoughts, motives and actions. Obviously I have much to say, but I'll stop now and just share a few pieces I wrote on the topic. I hope you will take the time to read them from the perspective of someone who was there, and there trying to be part of the solution. Also, I hope someday we won't have to use "them" vs. "us." and

    1. Hi, Roxane, thanks for commenting! You're right- I did say "never follow through" and that really is false: I work with and follow a number of pro life advocate groups that absolutely follow through and are turning the movement around completely! I think when I wrote this I was thinking more in regards to how we treat things on a national level and the leaders we elect to speak for us. I am so beyond tired of hearing our political leaders or extreme members of our group get it wrong when it comes to why this cause is so important. I mean, we know it is too important to mess up, yet the wrong arguments are made time and time again. It also feels discouraging to see many of my pro-life friends and acquaintances fight for babies, but miss the point when it comes to domestic violence and sexual assault. Those things are real and happening all around us, yet we stay silent. We victim blame and stay focused on what feels like a sound byte (it is easy to point to a person that survived abortion or was a product of rape and say "case over!") instead of acknowledge the real violence and our own allowance of violence because we stay silent or victim blame.

      Just as Marty uses phrases that are true but off the point, we shoot ourselves in the foot the same way: the focus on religious reasons to be against abortion for instance when we have science and logic to back our claims.

      I have not been to the March as I stated, but I really appreciated her perspective as far as it being more than a protest or a get together. I mean, many of the photos I saw on Facebook seemed like a giant party with few people talking about the talks or conferences... viewing it as a protest and training grounds is comforting to me.


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