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Reflection By: Ali Gustafson

This was a discussion between David Gushee, a Christian ethicist and Frances Kissling, a lifetime reproductive rights activist. It covered the things that people usually avoid talking about when abortion is the topic.
Abortion is a topic that we will never arrive at a universal set of convictions. Many people (60 %, both democrats and republicans) do not feel completely for or against this topic and have mixed opinions, others have their mind made up completely in one direction. This topic is a human problem that deals with relationships, sexuality, relationships, economics, etc.. It is seen as a culture war because people are taking an impoverished approach to an intimate civilizational question.
The conversation starts with David. He was raised Catholic and is now a Baptist minister. He became pro-life when he entered into the evangelical world, where there is a holistic ethic of life. Christians at taught to believe that every life matters and should be protected, and a fetus is a life from the time of conception.
Frances, was also raised catholic, and actually became a nun, but then left the convent. Her position as pro-choice is due to her own life experiences. Her mother was 17 years old and unmarried when Frances was conceived. Her mother was bitter and damaged from parenthood and this carried over into her children's lives.
This is a topic I usually choose to avoid, because I agree that this is an unsolvable problem, because there are too many factors that lead people to make drastic decisions when it comes to abortions. I am apart of the 60% that fall in the middle ground on this topic. I really enjoyed this discussion, as they were able to have it civilly and both admitted to seeing certain parts of the others point of view.
They approached this discussion with the thought that, you “need to be vulnerable in front of those whom you passionately disagree with.” David and Frances both agreed that procreation is sacred, and that both men and women needed to be more responsible. Frances stated that, “making babies is a serious business and sex is a pleasurable and meaningful activity with social consequences.” They felt that is society focused more on increasing health care and contraceptive use, if more attention was focused on caring for women during their 9-months of pregnancy, adoption rates may increase while abortion numbers would probably decrease.
I was able to relate to both participants during this discussion, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing. The question remains, what is the best thing to do in difficult situations? It is a question that will never have a definite answer, but as long as people are able to open their minds and see the other side, worthwhile answers can be found, and certain decisions might be made a bit easier.