Friday, August 10, 2007

What are we saying if we can't say abortion?

So last night I was at an (unfortunately titled) forum called "What's so Bad About Abortion?" sponsored by the New York Salon. Except for the title, however, the forum -- which included speakers from NARAL, NAF, Reproductive Health Technologies Project and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service -- was truly a fascinating conversation about the direction in which abortion language is moving. There was a level of previously unseen frankness and honesty to the discourse, as well as a willingness to (finally!) engage "difficult" questions. The audience was a mix of pro-choice and anti-choice and, while I think a bit too much time was therefore spent on the made-up "post-abortion syndrome" -- which really goes to show the pervasiveness of that junk science as well as the relative success of that particular anti-choice tract -- there were some challenging questions posed by all sides on the issue.

Including: Is abortion killing and, if so, what does that mean? Don't father's have rights? Does increase access to birth control really reduce abortions or does it actually increase them? If Roe falls, are states truly protected or can/will Congress simply outlaw it across the board?

I do think a large take-away that really underscores the movement's progress that repro health thought leaders have abandoned the "clump of cells"' argument and have adopted a more emotionally resonant way of talking about abortion that really takes into consideration the most important piece of the puzzle: the woman having the abortion.

To read the papers and learn more about the speakers click here.

I'd love thoughts and comments!

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