The debate between pro-lifers and pro-choicers is more than heated. The issue is no stranger to exploitative rhetoric, exaggerations, and cherry-picking on both sides.
But sometimes one side goes too far. This week, it’s clear to me that both sides have.
Jezebel reported that undercover pro-choice activist Katie Stack filmed video of volunteers acting as counselors at Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) using false, emotionally damaging information to convince Katie not to abort her pretend baby. While the “counselor” asks a few questions (I think) are valid to ask a sexually active 19 year-old, such as “Why are you having intercourse,” she also makes snide comments such as, “you aren’t married,” and basically calls the morning-after-pill an abortion pill.
Come on, guys, there are so many arguments against getting an abortion, and public sentiment seems to be in favor of incremental pro-life legislation, but sicking an unqualified woman on girls who are probably scared, confused, and conflicted (and let’s face it, if they’re at a CPC, they’re probably already favoring alternatives to abortion), is no way to change hearts and minds. Don’t cause more damage to an already delicate situation, and seek to provide true, loving alternatives.
Now, on to the other side.
Wendy Davis is being heralded as the new golden-child of the left for her (admittedly, difficult and pretty impressive) stand on Texas Senate Bill 5, a bill that would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks, except for the health and safety of the mother, and required abortion facilities to adhere to the same standards as other health care providers. Unlike the standards in Virginia, that Sandra wrote about before, these ambulatory surgical center standards are not cosmetic.
The social media world was abuzz with support for Senator Davis last week, using the hashtag #IStandWithWendy, and lighting up the issue on Facebook and other outlets. While reports have since come out that the social media storm was anything but organic, it was still an impressive example of how the internet can be used to bring credence to a subject.
Though Sen. Davis’ filibuster was brought to an end a few hours before midnight, several procedural moves and substantial disruptions from the crowd present delayed the vote until after 12am, rendering it invalid for the session.
As Dr. Michael New, of National Review Online writes, “Regardless of one’s views on abortion, last night’s actions set a terrible precedent. Allowing an unruly crowd to effectively block a vote on a piece of legislation will only serve to encourage disruptive activity in the future.”
The subject of abortion elicits such strong emotional reactions from women and men on both sides of the issue, but often times the tactics of each side are counter-productive to the process of winning public favor over to your side, and can definitely serve as a deterrent to successfully disseminating a compelling message. There are many compelling arguments on both sides of the issue, and I genuinely believe that pro-choicers are not rooting for abortions, and that pro-lifers are not trying to oppress women. As hard as it may be, keeping this debate civil is incredibly important to the future of the democratic process.