A very dear pro-life friend of mine, recently gave me as a gift, Abbey Johnson's book, "Unplanned". She even inscribed the inside cover for me, stating that I am a true friend and a true defender of life. I was deeply touched and forever grateful to her, whom I also consider to be a true friend, and a great champion in the cause of the defense of life.
Previously I have only written anonymously for Lake County Right to Life's Blog. Today, I will write my first public blog, on Abbey Johnson's Introduction Note to her book,"Unplanned". As one who has always admired few words which speak volumes, let me say, that Abbey's introduction note does precisely that. It speaks volumes! In that light, I will try to keep my words as brief as I can, which I also hope will speak volumes.
I feel as though Abbey took the words right out of my mouth, with what she wrote in her note. She expressed sentiments, which I myself have long felt, but never fully expressed for fear of how my words might be taken, by my fellow pro-lifers. Her brief note brings to light a very eye-opening and pertinent point regarding this pro-life vs pro-choice battle. That being, the lens which both sides of the aisle in the abortion debate use, to view the opposing side. Human nature, being what it is, is always quick to vilify an opponent in any debate or controversy. And one must admit, there has been no lack of vilification on either side of the aisle, in the abortion debate. I feel Abbey hits the nail on the head with her description of this conundrum.
Unlike Abbey Johnson, I have always been pro-life. So this is not about any conversion story on my part here. But, where Abbey and I agree, and where our experience becomes a shared one, rather than a polarizing one, is in the idea of how all people on the side of any argument immediately take the high ground. This holds true in the pro-life vs pro-choice debate as well. For in the pro-life movement, I have often seen, even in minuscule ways, the instinct to see all pro-choicers as simply being immoral cold blooded people, who simply want a world where they can have total license to pursue their immoral activities with no consequences. And that they see innocent unborn babies, as simply an unfortunate byproduct of their iniquitous behavior, which needs be gotten out of the way, in order to continue said iniquitous behavior. We have, unfortunately far too often, only seen the treacherous and deceptive element to the pro-choice movement. And all too often, have only seen altruism on our side of the fence.
To be sure, there is and has been, much proof of deception and even immoral behavior and unbridled profiteering on the pro-choice side. I do not attempt to refute that here, nor does Abbey. But only God can judge a heart. And in my own life's experience, I have learned that unlike movie depictions, most people are never really all evil or all good. And even someone who might be on a wrong side, just might be there for what they sincerely believe, are altruistic reasons - believing just as strongly, that they are on the right side, as their opponent strongly believes them to be on the wrong side. And Abbey herself very articulately points this out in her brief introduction note to her story. She states that she has been asked many times, "Were you and your pro-choice coworkers really driven by compassion and tenderness; by motives of truly helping women and making the world a better place?" To this question, Abbey answers "Yes". She goes on to comment, she often finds that people don't like that answer. Hmmmmm. Do we like that answer? Do we believe that answer?
Can a pro-life person, especially those of us, who have doggedly worked and sacrificed for the defense of life, truly comprehend, that a pro-choice opponent has also doggedly worked and even sacrificed ... for perhaps just as sincere of motives? Whoah! Abbey goes on to invite pro-lifers not to shut the book first of all - instead - to continue reading and try to understand the surprising hope and motivations of the "other side". She contends that the reader will be pleasantly surprised to find that they have more in common with the "other side" than they might ever have imagined.
I am a woman, wife, mother, grandmother and pro-life advocate and volunteer. I also have my own personal experiences, as a woman, - and without going into personal detail - they are experiences, which have given me my own personal peek into the mind-set of the "other side." I strongly suspect, that there are many of us pro-life women, who could say the same. Over the past 38 yrs. I have watched my side crusade devotedly and fanatically, in the cause of the unborn and the defense of life - and rightfully so. Make no mistake - our cause is just. Not simply because it is our own opinion, but because we know it is God's opinion - that He is the Creator - and as such, all life belongs to Him. But perhaps in our dogged devotion, we have not always seen our opponent in the clearest possible light. Or have we pushed to the back of our minds, those shared personal experiences, which might lend empathy to our opponent's side?
There is a problem here. Women are suffering. The poor are suffering. Unwanted and or perhaps handicapped children are suffering. Suffering is all around us in many forms. And there are two sides, on polar opposites, who staunchly believe they have the answer to these problems. Each side has vehemently defended their position over the past 38 yrs., since Roe v Wade. So why has the pro-life movement failed to win our argument over the past 38 yrs., since this infamous decision? Could it be, that we have never really completely understood, or even, dare I say, "empathized" with our opponents on the pro-choice side? Have we only seen the abortionist who has profited by butchering women and their babies? Have we only seen Hitler & Margaret Sanger Clones, when we look at a pro-choice opponent? Abbey invites us to look more closely, in her book "Unplanned". And I too, may very well have more to say on this subject, so stay tuned - and read her book.