Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The problem with labels

Two weeks ago Ross Douthat wrote a piece about Obama's approach to the so-called culture wars. Well today, Planned Parenthood of New York City has a letter in the New York Times in response.

The best part is where Joan Malin says:

When we let politics get in the way of providing the best medical care possible for America’s women and families, everyone loses.

When women are no longer able to make the best medical decision for themselves, their families and their situations, both sides — right and left — suffer.

This isn’t about “choice”; it’s about respecting and affirming a woman’s decision no matter what it may be.

It’s time to stop making women and their families casualties of an ideological war.

Personally this letter really resonated with me. I've gotten so frustrated, especially over the past eight years, as I've watched what I consider to be the most intimate and personal decision I'll make in my life -- whether and when to have a baby -- become some abstract political rallying cry. Of course these issues are so important, but as each "side" in this argument has gotten more and more heated, I've felt more and more alienated. Shouldn't our priority ultimately be the health and safety of women, men and families, regardless of a political philosophy? And shouldn't doctors and women be the ones making intimate and personal medical decisions, instead of having them debated, poked and prodded at on a national political stage?

But I'm curious -- what do you think? Do you agree with the letter? Disagree with it? Have you gotten at all frustrated with the national debate?

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