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Some interesting abortion articles

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The other day, happened across an interesting article in TIME: "Finding Common Ground on an Abortion Bill," by Amy Sullivan. It describes the collaborative efforts of a pro-life Democratic US Representative and a pro-choice one (and supporters from both sides) to create a bill intended to reduce abortion rates.

That article led me to two others from TIME, both by Nancy Gibbs:

First, her 2007 article "The Grass-Roots Abortion War," about pro-life pregnancy centers and (in the last couple pages of the article) about some interesting attempts for people on opposite sides to talk constructively with each other.

That article provides some sobering statistics. For example:

About half of American women will face an unplanned pregnancy, according to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, and at current rates more than one-third will have an abortion by the time they are 45.

But the part I was most interested in was the discussion of attempts to find common ground:

[I]t took a year to come up with a common-ground statement of goals: to decrease abortions, relieve the social and economic conditions that lead women to consider abortion, make adoption easier, condemn violence and keep talking.

The article is nine pages long, but worth reading if you're interested in this stuff. From the final paragraph:

Once you've come to know your adversaries personally, once the cartoon villains are brushed away, the conversation becomes more complicated—and more useful.

And then there's Gibbs's May, 2009 article "Understanding America's Shift on Abortion." Some interesting and usefully nuanced (though brief) discussion of some surprising (to me) recent Gallup poll results.

2 Comments

Have you noticed that not one of those issues in "common ground" is reducing the need for abortion by reducing unintended pregnancy?

Something is badly wrong.


I could be wrong, but my impression was that a significant part of "decrease abortions" was "decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies."

Unfortunately, there's a huge disagreement on the best ways to do that. To a lot of us, it seems totally obvious that better access to birth control has to be a major part of it; but to a lot of others, it seems totally obvious that teaching abstinence-until-marriage is the way to go. I find that divide sad and frustrating.

But yes, one way or another, I think an enormous number of people on all sides of the issue are in favor of reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies.

(...And now I feel like I have to explicitly note that "unplanned" can mean a whole lot of things, including (for example) "We were planning to wait a year, but now that it's happened, I suppose now is as good a time as any." Still: in my ideal world, people would have conscious control over their own fertility at all times.)


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