I had hoped that our nation’s absurd 2016 election result in electing a tweeting, whining, entitled, inarticulate, narcissistic (yes I am a doctor who had dealt with a lot of mental health issues, it’s an appropriate adjective in this case), reality TV show host would pull our polarized egos out of our extremist behinds and bring people together a bit for the common good. I was wrong. So this highly educated physician mother is going to beg that we start using reason, compassion and logic in going forward instead of whatever the heck it is we’ve been doing and are doing.
Dear Democrats: Why are you becoming more extreme? Answer me honestly; do you really think abortion should be a thing that any woman should be able to get whenever she feels like it? Or, do you feel it’s a necessary evil due to societal ills? I hope that your answer is the latter; in which case I think I can help you achieve your goals more efficiently. Your goal, if I understand you correctly, is absolutely not that women have abortions. Rather, you would like women to have unfettered and fair access to healthcare, contraception, and prevention without antiquated judgments about how we choose to use our amazing bodies. Furthermore, you have seen how poorly our society treats and supports unwed women and single women with pregnancy or children and how corporate America and the higher education system treat pregnant woman or mothers like victims of the plague. So, you feel for women and it’s too big a fight to change society so rather you would just advocate that these women have easy access to abortion. Does that sound right? Well, just say that instead of applauding the sadness and tragedy that is aborting a human life. You would have so much more credibility and progress in actually changing society, changing hearts, and gaining necessary access for women if you stopped advocating so intensely for abortion. Drop it from the vernacular and focus on access to education for women and contraception. Advocate for better care for all women, those who are mothers and those who are not. Continue to speak out against misogyny, locker room talk aka rape-talk, and the objectification of women. Stop clumping abortion into the “pro-choice” category. Having an abortion is not a choice. Nothing done out of desperation can actually be a free choice. No woman who valued herself and her awesome life giving power would choose to end the life inside of her unless circumstances were dire, whether due to mental debility, economic hardship, or even complete lack of support and hope for upward opportunity for herself and her unborn child. Women should 100% have choice and agency over their bodies, including if they’d like to be sexually active without conceiving. However, once another life is in the mix, it’s not just the woman’s body. Let’s fight so women don’t have to be ashamed of the awesome power they have to grow a life inside them.
Dear Republicans: You need to gain back some credibility. Stop believing everything on FOX news. Stop propagating lies and fear. You have access these days to all the information in the world, so use it before spreading untruths. Many of you just elected the most unsuited and unqualified candidate to our highest office because of one-issue voting (like being against abortion) or because your insurance premiums on the ACA (Obamacare) went up. With the exception of Russia and a select few white-nationalists in other countries, our world-wide credibility as a Nation that supports freedom, equality and justice for all has been irrevocably damaged if not lost all together. Stop denying climate change because when you do so you inadvertently seem to not care about the lives that are ravished by it’s effects, usually those in the poorest areas. Most importantly, please recognize that right now the sole reason Planned Parenthood has to exist is not for abortions but because it is the only place women without health insurance or Medicaid can get access to contraception, preventative care (pap smears), STD treatment and education as to how to prevent STD’s and pregnancy. Planned Parenthood is currently a necessary evil exactly because our country does not have a single-payer option as a backup for everyone to ensure basic preventative care and basic healthcare needs. Admittedly, I will not ever support PP due to the abortion issue, however I can recognize why it has to be here. Try being open to a publicly provided option for healthcare for everyone and maybe you’ll find that indeed, once all women have access to all the other care they need through public clinics and centers, the real reason for planned parenthood will only be abortion. Then there would be no argument to fund it other than abortion.
Moreover, stop ignoring the fact that to support life in the womb we must support the vessel of that life (women, I’m talking about women). You can’t dismiss derogatory talk, locker-room talk, sexual assault talk that is specifically meant to put women in “their place” and be pro-life at the same time. It’s that dismissive attitude that leads to further objectification of women, policies that make it impossible for women to both support their families in the working world and cope with an unexpected pregnancy, and insidiously persistent yet oppressive views towards women. It’s super easy to be an advocate for the innocent (the unborn child). It’s not as easy, but so much more necessary, to do as Jesus did and bring people out of their sin while at the same time loving and helping them (the time Jesus prevented the hypocritical Pharisees from stoning a whore by standing in their way and saying “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” is coming to mind). Start advocating for women in general, even the ones who have made lots of mistakes, rather than abandoning them when they need it most.
Finally, Dear fellow moderates: Please speak up. I am lonely, so lonely. I think the USA has proven that the emotional partyism path pushing everyone to extremes is not healthy, not loving, not truly democratic, not unifying and not working. I know there are more people out there like me. People who have consistently had to choose a candidate to vote for that they didn’t always agree with on everything but recognized that in our bipartisan system one’s vote only really matters if it’s for a democrat or republican (and sometimes doesn’t matter either way depending on your state and electoral college). I know more have taken this road less traveled. We have been silent too long, so please speak up. I’ll leave you with these quotes. “We must learn to regard people less in light of what they do or omit to do, and more in light of what they suffer.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Finally, “May we think of freedom not as the right to do what we please, but the opportunity to do what is right.” – Peter Marshall.