When I used to live on the Hill, I dreaded this day. Every January 22nd, hundreds of anti-choice protesters would descend upon the Capitol (specifically, the Supreme Court building) and make my morning work commute more difficult. They carried their posters of mangled fetal parts and wore shirts that proclaimed the message "choose life". As the years went by, I noticed that the protesters were getting younger and younger.
While I no longer live on the Hill, I still happened upon a large group of protesters on the Metro this morning. I may be old now, but there's no way that these protesters had graduated high school yet. They were wearing their "Right to Life" sweatshirts in a blood red color (was the color symbolic?) and some carried rosary beads. All were headed to Union Station where they were sure to join countless other protesters.
Dissent is American, so I am not going to argue against their desire to protest. By all means, speak your mind. However, that means I can too.
While I can appreciate that young people feel passionately about a particular 'political' issue, I must question to what extent do they understand the issue. After all, abortion is very complex. How does one understand the complexity of the issues when one's world view is narrow? Seriously, what did I know about life at that age? At 16, I was anti-choice. I went to Catholic schools my entire life and believed everything I was told without question. It wasn't until I entered college and began to explore an entirely new world that I began to question what I was taught in Church and at school. It's not as if doubting and questioning were encouraged in my religion classes. It wasn't until I was forced to think for myself and be responsible for my actions that my world view expanded.
Shortly after high school, this is what I realized:
- Not everyone is Catholic
- Not everyone follows Catholic teachings
- I respect that people have different beliefs because of their different backgrounds
- I can learn a lot from those that are different than me
- The best way to understand a differing point of view is to put oneself into those shoes.
I wish that the anti-choice movement would understand that the world doesn't respond well to absolutes. Only about 10-15% of the American population would prefer to have abortion outlawed completely. Hillary Clinton once said that abortion should be 'safe, legal, and rare'. Certainly the two movements can agree on the 'rare' part. However, what has the anti-choice movement done to make abortion a rarity in our society? Fighting to make it completely illegal is not what the majority wants. How about supporting ideas that have proven to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies? Like comprehensive sex education? Or improved access to contraception? Or how about making the domestic adoption process less complicated? There are tons of children in foster care in the U.S. yet babies in China and Guatemala are the ones being adopted.
No, no. Instead the anti-choice movement would rather protest Krispy Kreme's recent free donut giveaway instead. That's an excellent use of time and resources, American Life League.
Today, President Obama is expected to lift the Global Gag Rule (yippee!). His administration is expected to support the Prevention First Act. Perhaps the anti-choice movement would like to join the current administration in supporting policies that will make abortions rare.