Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dispatches from a Recovering Bleeding Heart: Abortion

I have lots of thoughts about the awful murder of Dr. Tiller in Wichita, Kansas this past Sunday morning, and about abortion in general, but unfortunately no time or energy to get them out of my head and onto my blog.  But I have been so very moved by a series of testimonials at The Daily Dish over the past week called "It's So Personal."  These are emails Sullivan has received, mostly from women, a few from men, describing the excruciating and heartbreaking circumstances that led them to consider, and in many cases choose, a late-term abortion.  You can read them here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Updated:  Sullivan has published one post with a compilation of links to all the posts here, which will make it easier to read them all if you want.

Before he read all those testimonials, Sully was firmly opposed to all late-term abortions. Hearing all those women's stories has him rethinking his position. I am just so moved by all this, and it gives me hope, even in the midst of this terrible moment in the abortion debate.

I never stop being amazed at what happens when people stop lobbing bombs at one another (both literal and metaphorical bombs) and actually start talking and listening to one another.  I don't mean to be naive:  I know that really talking, and really listening, is not enough to change the world, but it seems to me that it is necessary, if not sufficient.  And I don't mean just talking and listening when it's easy; I mean talking and listening when it's really really hard -- being willing to tell your story even when it makes you terribly vulnerable, and having a mind and heart open to being changed by what you hear in turn.  I'm enormously frustrated by how infrequently we let ourselves do that in this polarized culture.  I know for me, sentimentality and ideology are a lethal combination that shuts down dialogue.  That's why I'm a recovering bleeding heart:  I'm pretty sure there's no cure for my tender heart and my passionate sense of justice, and truth be told, I'm not looking for a cure.   But I sure am willing to talk and open to persuasion.


Heather said...

Wow, what a powerful series of posts. Thank you for pointing them out to us.

Laura said...

I saw your comment at Jo's blog-- just wanted to say I completely agree with what you say here. I'm always inspired when people make good faith efforts to understand the folks on the other side of contentious issues like abortion. Thanks for your words.

Marta said...

heather: you're very welcome! i look forward to exploring your blog. thanks for stopping by.

laura: word. i'm pretty passionately pro-choice, but i think there is much that pro-choice folks need to do to tamp down the rhetoric and ideology and reach out across the aisle. i also agree with you that it is important for some folks to define the extremes; i think we have a lot in common, and would love to continue the discussion! i'm planning to write more about abortion, though probably not for a month or so, when i actually have some time to write. thanks for stopping by!