We often get stuck in a never-ending discussion about abortion, with little hope of seeing eye-to-eye. Shifting the focus for a moment away from the pro-life/pro-choice approach, I would like to talk about a few P’s that make up pro-prevention.
A big problem surrounding abortion is the problem of feeling powerless. You feel it, I feel it. We need to empower people in a variety of ways so that together we can be part of the solution.
Women: Women should know the full range of their power. That power includes preventing and problem solving.
Remind her of the power she has over her own body. She can say YES, NO, Don’t touch, or Stop. That power is not diminished by what she wears or where she goes. That power doesn’t change when she’s with her partner, acquaintance, or a total stranger.
Women also need to feel the power that comes from adequate support to face life’s challenges. If a woman becomes pregnant for whatever reason, she needs to feel that she has a wide range of choices, not just one or the other. And once she makes her choice, we should support her in her decision. If any of what I’ve said so far bothers you … keep reading.
Men: Men are not powerless in the abortion debate. They have the power to prevent abortion too. It starts with men recognizing the power they have. Perpetuating the idea that men can’t stop, that biological urges are too strong, makes men victims of their own bodies. Peer pressure and societal norms have done a lot to take away a man’s power, pushing him to do things he might not otherwise do. Remind men of their personal power.
Men have the power to advocate for positive change. Respecting women and encouraging others to do the same is simple but incredibly powerful.
Men must also recognize where their power ends. They do not have the power to decide what a woman wants. If a man uses his power to push a woman to do something she doesn’t want to do, or together they decide to do something that results in pregnancy, he should be accountable for his choices as well.
Society: Society has the power to adjust behaviors by making them acceptable or unacceptable. That includes shedding light on unacceptable behavior, as well as promoting and demonstrating what’s acceptable. A lot of that leads into the next P….
Education: Education provides some of the best protection and is a tool of empowerment. Sex education (for the young and old) can teach us to be more responsible, prevent misunderstanding surrounding ideas of contraception, and better define rape. Get involved in sex education – at home, in your community, and even globally. Empower youth by giving them the full range of choices they really have. Help all of us understand the responsibility that comes with each choice.
Poverty: Families in poorer situations are particularly vulnerable and more often turn to abortion because they believe they won’t be able to provide for the needs of their children. While poverty is a big issue that won’t be solved overnight, we can help provide positive prevention to even the poorest members of our society by providing education and support. Access to important resources is key.
Contraception: Make the full range of protection available. We can also continue to research and provide more. Insurance companies, government policy, and personal beliefs can help or hinder this valuable line of defense for preventing unwanted pregnancies. Which leads to the next P…
Do you feel you have no patience for other people’s behavior? That lack of patience does a lot to perpetuate the problem and push us away from proper prevention. While we have a variety of beliefs and agendas, if we had more patience and tolerance for one another, we would see a lot of these problems go away. Have patience for mistakes, patience for different beliefs, patience for people who make different choices. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, demonstrating more patience and understanding will bring us together and drive the number of abortions way down. While it can be argued that abortion is a safe medical procedure, it’s not a statistic anyone wants to see grow. And so our next P….
Abortion affects so many people. All life, all people can be affected positively or negatively depending on what we choose to do. If we vilify or criminalize people, we are destroying lives and the lives of those around them. If we devalue and trivialize a human potential, a fetus, we are also destroying life and the lives around them. These aren’t mutually exclusive, but it doesn’t have to be all negative. The value of life extends to everyone and we cannot forget that. Which leads to another P —
As corny as it word sounds, it’s important to recognize that life is precious. Valuing life, however, is not limited to the unborn. It extends to women, men, families, and so much more. We can destroy it by misusing the next P’s…
Properly applied pressure can help move us forward, but too much pressure can destroy. When we apply too much internal pressure, we create explosions. When we apply too much external pressure, things collapse. It’s important to maintain balanced pressure to keep moving us forward, but we need to stop putting so much pressure on each other. Like…
It’s great to have an ideal to move towards, but perfection is an illusion. We live in an imperfect world with beautifully flawed people. There is no perfect solution to our problems. No solution will work perfectly. The only path to a solution that works for everyone is to let go of the notion that we can even come close to perfection. And speaking of solutions…
Don’t let the politics of the abortion debate continue to divide us. Solutions seem to be getting further and further away. There are many who vote solely on this issue, and politicians know it. They constantly pit us against each other, creating bad feelings and perpetuating fear. Stop giving politicians so much power over us. And the more we come together, the sooner we will move towards real solutions. And so…
We all have our part to play in the pro-prevention plan. No one can sit on the sidelines and hope it all works out. We need to participate at all levels and be part of the solution. Right now, you can…
Shamelessly promote the idea of pro-prevention. The more people we can get promoting this idea and doing their part, the faster we’ll see abortion rates go down and see more empowered, responsible citizens. And….
I don’t know how many times this subject has brought me to tears, sometimes in gasps and sobs. There are so many heart-wrenching stories on both sides. It’s time we all found peace with this issue. I believe peace is achievable when we focus on pro-prevention and avoid divisive rhetoric that hurts and diminishes values of others. We can see each other as equals in this debate and value the contributions we all make as we do our part.
(Who knew there were so many words that start with P!)