Yesterday, the Senate voted to block a bill aimed at limiting federal funding for Planned Parenthood; this action was taken after a series of videos were released that showed PP officials negotiating with a tissue-procurement company (or filmmakers posing as representatives of a company). Much of the conversations have been about the selling of body parts, how PP actually operates, and whether or not the selling of human parts does or does not make the source of those parts…human.
The way that this conversation is happening is with people aligning with a side (pro-life or pro-choice) and then lobbing truth bombs back and forth waiting for the other to break. While I don’t really care how abortion ends as long as it gets stopped, I actually don’t see this as a very effective tactic. Whenever you attack an opponent, you actually strengthen their resolve and ideals. The current cultural forms of communication actually make us unable to hear what anyone else is saying; we are so concerned with defending our position, we don’t understand the ‘other’ position at all.
The bigger issue at play here is not that some people are pro-life and some people are pro-choice, but that everyone is pro-life and pro-choice. The difference is in the details OR, maybe more appropriately: the difference is in the definitions. The reason why two people can watch the same video and walk away with completely different reactions: ‘they are killing babies and selling them’ or ‘they are using the results of abortion to cure diseases’ comes from what they believe about life and choice before they hit play. The only way forward is to have an honest conversation that understands where those on ‘the other side’ are coming from.
So tomorrow we will we will look at how the differing definitions of LIFE create opposite conclusions about what should be done with the unborn. Then we will define CHOICE, and see how your definition of choice drives how you understand rights and responsibilities. Finally, we will imagine what a civilized conversation about such a passionate topic may look like and how it is the hope for ending abortion in our lifetime.