Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Abortion and Mediation

I have two comments on the abortion discussion in general:

I am often disturbed by the lack of understanding between the two main viewpoints. They are each based on a philsophical (NOT religious, unless you are Catholic) answer to the question: When does human life begin? One viewpoint says that human life begins at conception, and that such a human being deserves all the rights and privleges of humans. The other point of view realistically says that human life– as far as rights and privliges go– begins at birth. In the ancient pagan world, human rights didn’t exist until much later in the human development. So, philosophically, there are different points of view. For the first point of view, it makes sense that the fetus has equal rights– not more than– to the mother, and so both should be treated with respect. The second point of view, while honoring all life, gives preference to the mother, and all points follow from that.

The main issue is to understand that the point of view opposed to the one we hold is not evil incarnate, but simply a different point of view. If we react harshly to those who disagree with us, then we will never come to agreement, or even compromise.

And this leads me to my second point. The responses in the abortion debate in society in large has been so dramatic and extreme, that it makes discussion about the subject almost impossible.

Could it not be that Anabaptists, with concern for mediation and peacemaking, could open up this discussion to all, trying to understand the other point of view, even while disagreeing with it, setting aside the propoganda and seeing the true human feeling and compassion on both sides?

I have hope in some of the present discussions about public policy, seeing possibilites that both sides might agree to having abortions reduced by reducing poverty, and increasing opportunities for well rounded education about sex and contraception.


leeann said...

thanks. so evenly presented. which is unusual for this topic. good to read b/c i can't usually talk about it with people who think differently: the reality of babies dying makes me so hot. but then again, my usual response is to say that women who have had abortions need healing and acceptance... vs. talking about morality.

Ailgif Studios said...

I'm glad that you posted this and in the way that you did.

Last year, I had the opportunity to sit with a friend and record her story in audio only. We were planning on making a documentary that spoke about the thought process a woman goes through when deciding to have an abortion or not. I found myself in a place that took me out of my comfort zone; a place that allowed me to listen with out judgement. And I don't mean judgement on her as a person, but my personal judgement on the act of abortion and my personal belief on when life begins.

Our documentary wasn't going to show whether abortion was right or wrong, but it was going to show: the thoughts that a woman goes through prior to deciding and the factors in her life that are a part of her decision...

I prayed before deciding to be a part of this documentary, because I wasn't sure I could go into it with-out feeling anger over the decision to end another life. I won't lie, it was one of the most uncomfortable interviews I've ever done, because as my friend spoke, my love for her and my compassion for what she went through was mixed with my pain that was felt at the thought of this child loosing their life. I began to cry and for the days that followed my heart ached for the loss of this life but it also ached for my friend, who made one of the hardest decisions in her life, and although our views on abortion are different, we were able to share this experience together: with out anger, without judgement, and with out fear.