With all due respect to Charles Camosy, I hardly recognize the conference he describes in his Washington Post article. While I appreciate his efforts to organize the conference, I strongly disagree with many, if not most of his conclusions.
A recent conference challenged participants to try to understand different perspectives on abortion, to see disagreement as an opportunity, and not to attack. Here are my thoughts in reflection on the meeting.
I first became aware of abortion around the same time I became aware of many things related to sex and sexuality – during puberty. At the time, abortion represented survival to me. As a little brown girl from the Bronx, I knew what the statistics said about girls like me and our chances of “success.” If I knew one thing, I knew this: I was not going to come home and tell my mother that I was pregnant.
I want to talk about abortion. Or more specifically, I want to talk about how we talk about abortion. Two recent developments around abortion have generated lots of buzz in our community. Reproductive Health Technologies Project (RHTP) released the findings of a research project which presents new messages for how activists can talk about abortion, as well as how we can build greater support for abortion. Exhale launched a series of electronic cards to support women who have had abortions. Both RHTP and Exhale are providing the movement with new tools that broaden the dialogue around abortion and address the stigma surrounding it. Now obviously, any tool is only as good as our ability to use it to connect with people meaningfully and to galvanize them to take some action. And yet, I think that Exhale and RHTP present us with interesting opportunities to re-examine how we think about, and ultimately talk about abortion.