Abortion Happens

Progressives need to move beyond their fear of talking about abortion

Conventional wisdom says that “in polite company,” we don’t talk about sex, politics, or religion. Of the three, sex is clearly the least comfortable topic to broach.

You see, sex is a ‘hot’ topic; it’s erotic. Some may regard sex as joy; others regard it with shame; and still others with no apparent emotion. While nearly everyone has an opinion about it that does not mean that all are willing to engage in open conversation about sex.

This problem is particularly difficult with the topic of abortion. When abortion is brought up, what is missing is the honesty in the conversation – the honesty about how and why a woman becomes pregnant; what her thinking was before, during and after the act, and how the impregnator (the man) can frequently walk away from an act in which he was either an aggressor or a collaborator or some combination of the two.

Under the best of circumstances, the sex act is a consensual on the part of both individuals. At the time, the two may or may not have desired to pro-create. Under the best of circumstances, this is how the human race commits acts of love and carries on its existence from generation to generation.

But it doesn’t always evolve that way. There are numerous ways for complications or unfortunate circumstances to develop. Following the intercourse, the couple may decide that they are not in love and no longer want to be joint parents to a child.

If both believe in a traditional nuclear family, then the change in their relationship may cause one or both to decide that now is not a good time to give birth to a child. This can be particularly so with the woman who bears major responsibility for the pregnancy and the subsequent child-rearing.

Another dynamic may also be that there are other life changes for one or both progenitors. One is diagnosed with an illness or sustains an injury. It clearly is not a good time to bring a child into the world.

It may also be that as the adults’ lives evolve during the months following the pregnancy, that one or both parties decide that they are not ready to be parents; that they feel a greater compulsion now to pursue a career or avocation. This may seem crass to a strict pro-life advocate, but it is among the myriad of reasons why one or both parties to a pregnancy may want an abortion at a difficult time.

Perhaps the most likely cause of one or both parents not wanting to carry a pregnancy to term is that the process started off informally and then morphed into a “we just want to have a good time” occasion and little or no thought was given to a possible pregnancy during the act of intercourse.

The arguments in favor of abortion for women who have been victims of rape or incest are so compelling that it is hard to fathom why anyone would oppose them. It is often said that many conservatives are mean-spirited; their opposition to abortion following a rape or incest adds clear evidence to that assertion.

All of these reasons are tried and true parts of the ongoing human experience. As you read this, similar scenarios to the ones described above are happening all around the globe, and there is no stopping them.

Because sex is viewed by most as either ‘hot’ or ‘cold,’ most people have reasons to not discuss it in so-called polite company. But it’s too tempting to simply ignore. So rather than pretend that it does not exist, most of us, and especially the news media, either ignore it, or talk about it in code. This is something in which conservatives are exceptionally skilled. They frame issues in a way that do not use literal definitions. Instead, that they are cloaked in verbiage that assuages those conservatives who think that the only way to reference it is to disguise it. They talk about it as life, and what could be more pure. But their big fallacy is that they totally ignore the life of the mother, and the father. The force of the conservatives is so strong that it essentially inundates the mainstream media as well.

Conservatives will continue to dominate the abortion issue and wreak tremendous damage on the civil liberties and economic well-being of non-conservatives. The alternative is for progressives to discuss abortion and sex at the same time, and describe how abortion policy without a realization that “sex happens” will never reflect reality, empathy, and respect for basic civil liberties. Come on, progressives. News organizations now let us use the ‘F’ word as an expletive; why can’t we talk about it for what it really means. It will greatly help the whole country better come to terms with the abortion issue and make more logical and empathetic decisions.