Be pro-listening in abortion debate

Illustration by LaTerra Wair

Illustration by LaTerra Wair

In this day and age most of us pride ourselves on how open-minded we are to ideas of change and the acceptance we have when it comes to the ideas of others that don’t always fit into what we believe.

When it comes to abortion, one of our most controversial debates, why is it that I never see any kind of open-minded consideration for the other side?

When I think about abortion, the first thing that comes to mind is two political candidates on podiums screaming, getting flustered, not letting each other finish a single sentence to properly detail the reasoning behind their statements. It seems almost crazy that after this debate about abortion has gone on for so many years there is still not a way that a person who believes in pro-choice cannot have a civil conversation with a pro-life believer.

The bigger question is, why is this our reality?

I am a firm believer in the idea of people being able to have their own opinions about issues that affect their lives, such as abortion, although one thing I never quite understood is how a person feels as though it is okay to shame someone for their own beliefs, especially when it comes to decisions that do not impact their well-being.

Every time I would be brought into this debate, whether it be by my peers or on campus, I would always stay quiet and listen to those around me; I would never interject because I didn’t believe that my argument was fully developed. From listening to other perspectives, I can say that I have truly developed my own opinions.

When it comes to getting an abortion, I do not believe that I could truly sit down and book my appointment to abort the fetus that is developing inside my body. I would not be able to do this because it is just not something that I would feel morally right about. With this being said, I do understand that the decisions that I make for my body are not the decisions that other women will choose to make for themselves, and that is completely okay. Simply because a person decides to do something that I would not do for myself does not mean that I should condemn her for her decisions that she is making for her own body.

For me, it comes down to the fact that I could never completely understand what a stranger has going on in their life and everyone will go through different situations that only they can make decisions for, because it is their situation. It is always really easy to be on the outside looking in on a situation and thinking that I know what is going on and try and make a decision based upon this stance, but is that truly what being accepting is about?

It truly disturbs my soul that, when it comes to a huge subject like abortion, people don’t take the time out to just understand both sides of the argument. Most time it is a “my side or nothing” kind of argument and that is not how things should be. That is not what leads to growth of a person, and it will also only keep us divided as a society.

The debate over abortion is at a standstill. The topic can only grow if we as people decide to grow as well and expand our thoughts to the idea that there are times we have to set aside our emotions and have a civil conversation with our challengers.

After all, would it kill us to put our pride to the side for a moment and let someone finish their thoughts?

Illustration by LaTerra Wair