My fiance and I sit on different ends of the pro-choice, pro-life spectrum. I am pro-choice. I am pro-choice because of rationalization--I worry about the people I can see (pregnant women), I worry about the consequences of bringing an unwanted child into the world (having known too many), I worry about the unfairness that tends to result from illegal abortion (wealthy women seem to get them anyway--poor women die getting them unsafely). It is rationalization, but I am comfortible with that. I think all political positions are rationalizations. It is not, to me, a religious topic, because I think part of "choice" is being able to take into account ones own religious views. Who am I to dictate to you what those are?
My fiance is pro-life Democrat. He is pro-whole-life. He makes comfortable exceptions for the life of the mother and less comfortable exceptions for rape and incest. He worries about the state of domestic adoption, the state of foster care in this country, the lives of children who have nobody else to speak for them. He supports better sex education, greater access to contraception, easier adoption procedures. He likewise worries about health-care--for him, it is a single issue. He worries, in his words, about life, conception-to-grave. He comes to this view as an observant Conservative Jew--a natural extension of Judaism's concern for human health and life.
People sometimes look at us and wonder how we can tolerate our differences. I try to explain to them that I understand where my fiance is coming from. I respect that his position is carefully thought out and that he is trying not to be a hypocrite. He is less comfortable with mine, but he does respect that it is born out of my life experiences, my observations, and careful thought.
More than anything, though, we both respect that we agree on 99.9% of this issue and we don't want that agreement to get lost for the sake of the 00.1% we disagree on. I worry about foster care, and adoption, and health care, too. I also want greater access to contraception. I want abortions to occur less often--as few as possible. And it seems so silly and wasteful that people draw this line in the sand--whether or not abortion should be legal--and become so split on it that the vast common ground gets abandoned, neglected, and lost. I don't walk around thinking to myself, to riff off Sarah Silverman, "Gee, I think I'd like an abortion today" the way I think I might like a haircut. My fiance doesn't stop caring at birth, the way many pro-lifers are accused (often wrongly in my experience) of doing.
He gets so frustrated when our friends attack him for his views. He says, truthfully, that he has never voted for a pro-life candidate on the basis of their being pro-life. He is not entirely comfortable with that, but being worried about whole-life, he makes the compromise for candidates that support health care and other life issues even when he disagrees with them about abortion's ultimate legality. It makes me sad to see him attacked and I take a lot of flack for defending him--I have been accused of being a bad feminist for it, even though I believe he is exercising what I would term his "choice" by having the point of view he does, and by defending him I am also defending my right to disagree.
I wish that people would understand that what we share is greater and more significant than what we don't.
More information about text formats