America’s abortion debate

So how do we navigate through an issue that’s laced with passion, emotion and conviction? How do we talk about a topic that is nothing short of a rhetorical, ticking time bomb?

The so-called “sides” aren’t talking; they don’t seem to know how to any more. Hence, they only insult and scream. 

But geesh… we can’t even agree on who the “sides” are…

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

Pro-Choice vs. Anti-Choice

Pro-Abortion vs. Pro-Life

Pro-Women vs. Pro-Birth

We even fight about what to call each other. We then judge the other side, exonerating self in our decision to stop listening to, learn from, and sadly, respect.

Friends, walk with me here for a minute, through the ticking time bomb. I pray my gentleness and respect will be evident to all.

Throughout my life I’ve been in different places on this issue. I have grieved with those who have made the choice — and grieved with those who did not. I have grieved the stoppage of a beating heart — and I have grieved the lack of compassion offered to one who has stopped it.

I am troubled, too, by the extremes. As with most issues, there are extensive middle perspectives. Adherers of these convictions are typically more silent than the rest, as the extremes are always louder. But on abortion, especially, that middle is incredibly messy. 

According to Pew Research, about 20% of America believes abortion should be illegal in every and all circumstances and about 30% of America believes it should be legal in every and all circumstances. That means the 20% would not allow abortion in cases of rape and incest, and the 30% would allow abortion any time in those nine months. That leaves 50% of us somewhere in the messy in-between.

I mentioned that throughout my life I’ve been in different places on this issue. The primary reason I have had trouble discerning what I believe and having peace with my own conviction is because I have been deeply disturbed by the behavior of those 20 and 30 percent.

There are all sorts of angles to consider here… the angle of the mother… the father… the baby, fetus (or whatever name one considers most expedient to support their perspective)… not only those three, but also the angle of the great big God of the universe. What does he require of us?

My sense is the reason for the screaming is the tendency to accentuate solely one of the above angles. So let me humbly ask the obvious: aren’t all angles in play?

What would happen if each of us learned to consider the other three angles?

Would we learn more? Would we grow? Would we come to a solution?

We don’t have to necessarily change our conviction or opinion, but wouldn’t it be wiser if we actually had compassion for all?

I get it. It’s a tough issue; it’s hard to talk about. It’d be far easier to ignore and insult instead of wade through the ticking time bombs.

But I believe in respect and compassion for all. That’s not the same as compromise, as it remains true; we can’t “split the baby in half,” so-to-speak.

But we can learn to listen better.

We can learn to have more compassion.

And we can learn in making our gentleness and respect evident to all.