"The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God." -St Irenaeus of Lyon

Breaking my silence

There are some hot-button issues where my general approach is to preserve silence. But the more I read and reflect, the less I can honestly preserve my silence around the issue of abortion.

Today some of my fellow Americans have gathered in Washington, DC to march for life. The march’s timing reflects the anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision to legalise abortion. People generally have a typical image of a pro-life advocate. My experience around pro-life advocacy is that it generally focuses on an unapologetically Christian view of anthropology, marriage and responsibility.

Yet I have struggled in so many different ways with the pro-life platform as it is politically expressed. Rhetorically, I could not be further removed from the typical view. Today I begin to break my silence because I think two common struggles unite people of a range of religious convictions to consider making steps to confront the abortion tragedy.

I believe abortion exists because of poverty and vulnerability. Moreover, I think abortion shows that, by and large, we lack the wherewithal to respond meaningfully to such challenges. Without confronting the realities of abortion in wealthy countries, I do not think we will have much success in advocating human rights around the world.

Abortion provides a nexus where we see how we personalise values around weakness, vulnerability, power, technology, convenience, wealth, and aspirations. When a woman and her trusted ones approach a pregnancy, we see a range of attitudes. In our increasingly liberal, progressive world, no one particularly likes questioning abortion. However, I no longer can remain silent regarding my inconvenient observations.

Over the next few days, I am going to be writing a series of posts about coming out as pro-life. Specifically, I intend to steer clear of religious argumentation and encourage any people who would like to comment on my posts to do likewise. Additionally, I fully acknowledge that my thoughts are riddled with inconsistencies. Caring about poverty invites one to acknowledge one’s hypocrisy.

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7 responses

  1. Rae

    I look forward to your posts! I think that one of the reasons no one wants to confront the issue of a woman choosing abortion directly is that it requires us to call our who society into question and face our tremendous failures. There is a reason that 69% of abortion are had by women with income below <200% of the poverty level. Someone on Twitter told me that last time she checked no one is forcing women to have abortions. I wonder what data she checked. I feel like I only have a "choice" because I am a white woman with a college education who has no idea how she'd survive financially on less than $29k for two people.

    24 January 2011 at 9:31 pm

    • Thanks Rae!

      I’ve decided to break my silence precisely because of the social dimensions of the problem. Specifically, I think issues of abortion go far beyond a woman’s choice because choices get constrained by perceived opportunities and support. It is simply not enough to tell a woman she needs to have a baby.

      24 January 2011 at 10:00 pm

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  3. Rhea

    I’m really looking forward to this! Exciting stuff to hear your thoughts on this subject 🙂

    24 January 2011 at 10:54 pm

  4. I’m reading. Not surprisingly, I have some thoughts on the topic, but as this is your blog, I’ll not interject them gratuitously but will sit back and savor your take on the topic.

    25 January 2011 at 2:21 am

  5. Bridget

    I came from a background where abortion was accepted. Over the last 10 years, my opinion has changed – to the point of agreeing that even birth control that can abort a pregnancy is wrong. Like you, when I speak about it, I try to stay away from religion and try to stick to facts. I do believe that from conception the being is a human being and deserves the best chance to be born.When we marginalize the least among us to things instead of humans, we run the temptation of marginalizing almost any group we don’t find convenient, especially if they have no power. I don’t want to be part of a civilization like that. I don’t want friends like that and I don’t want to belong to a group that doesn’t agree with these things.

    25 January 2011 at 2:27 am

    • Bridget, you’ve anticipated one of my inconvenient observations. If we claim to give voice to the voiceless, then why is it so easy to ignore the unborn?

      25 January 2011 at 7:40 am

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