Re-Re-Framing the Abortion Debate
In light of recent anti-abortion legislation in my great state of Ohio, I have become inspired to gather a group of young, intelligent, passionate, women dedicated to securing equality and rights for all. Lofty? Maybe. Necessary? Yes.
We are at the very beginning of a long, uphill battle and before we begin the fight, I was stratigizing how to begin our charge. The following flood of ideas is the result of this brainstorm:
So, I’ve been thinking about things to add on to our To-Do list, and I think one of them, which may seem minor but I think is pretty major, is reframing the abortion debate.
The pro-choice/anti-choice and pro-life/anti-life binaries are no good. They’ve been soiled and call up all sorts of uncomfortable feelings and images in people’s minds making it difficult to really have a conversation with people about these issues.
To help figure out other perspectives, I googled “reframing the abortion debate” and came up with this article from NPR about the discourse shifting from focusing on the mother to focusing on the fetus primarily, the article argues, because of technological advances. At first this seems like a disadvantage for us: the fetus becomes the epicenter of the life v. death debate and choice, freedom, equality, etc. completely taken out of the conversation since the mother, the decision maker, is no longer present or worth considering.
BUT, our tactic could be to shift focus back onto the mother, the father, the family, those that are already living that are conscious and aware and affected—those with a voice, and those with a choice. We need to put the human element back into the debate. Mothers and fathers bleed and feel pain, too after all. The technology frame that the abortion debate has fallen into treats the fetus and the mother very literally like a bun in an oven that is constantly being tested and measured to see when it’s “ready.” That’s not at all what it’s like or what things are about. AND, the whole kitchen staff is affected by what’s going on with that bun and that oven, and these voices are not considered either.
This is mostly brainstorming, but I truly feel like we need to reinvent the wheel a little here since the wheel we’re rolling has been pretty beaten up over the years.
The conversation that followed addressed the return of the focus outside of the womb to the world beyond the fetus. My colleague posited:
I might suggest taking it a step further. The other side of the argument is looking at the abortion issue through a microscope focusing solely on the fetus. Let’s widen our perspective. What if we were to frame the debate around the family and the community? I’m thinking of community defined as local and national.
The return to community might be exactly what we need, but I’m not completely sold yet. I am sure that regardless of how this public picture of pro-and anti-choice is reframed, it needs to be displayed, digested, and discussed.
Any and all thoughts appreciated.
For reference on the Ohio “Heartbeat Bill,” see the link below: