I’ll admit it. The only reason I clicked on this article was because the sub-heading was some little blurb about the author being “a sex educator, a Christian, a feminist, and a Quaker.” I thought, Hello! Sign me up for some of this. The title, as you can see, is “What Underlies the Debate About Abortion?” and let’s face it–as someone who has been interested in the pro-choice movement for several years and has read a fair share of feminist literature, a title like that does not usually compel me to read on. It’s usually the same drivel.
But this time, I was at Friends Journal, the Quaker publication, and was interested in what Guli Fager had to say. Turns out, she was responding to Rachel MacNair’s two-month-old article “My Personal Journey on the Abortion Issue,” in which MacNair explained how she came to be “pro-life.”
What fascinates me is not that these are two obviously religious women who share two very different opinions about one controversial issue. I’m also not particularly fascinated by what is in the articles themselves (although I read both more than once and found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read Fager’s).
No, what I found most interesting were the comments. It has been something that Steph, and those of us at abortion gang, have thought about and discussed when it comes to comments on this blog. It has been decided that hateful comments will not be tolerated, however, respectful disagreement is welcome and has occurred, as expected.
On Friends Journal, not one of the comments on either of these articles was hateful. In fact, MacNair actually responded to Fager’s article, and also answered a few questions in the comments of her own article. It was nice to see such civilized debate–especially online. And, to me, I don’t think it’s because a religious organization, because I have personally witnessed “religious” preaching of hate.
So, what is it? Why is it that these Friends were able to engage in such meaningful dialogue? While I vehemently disagree with the antis, I have to give them credit for their thoughtful responses. I don’t know the answer to my question. All I know is that I wanted to share with you something that I found uplifting. There was debate, and some middle ground, but most of all, there was respect. I hope abortion gang can be this kind of space. Even though, yeah, sometimes when I read some anti-choice comments, as respectful as they might be, I don’t feel like thoughtfully responding back. I feel like knockin’ some heads. We all have our weak moments.
And as for the articles themselves, I’m not buying what you’re selling, MacNair. I do enjoy “personal journey” stories, though. And to Fager I say bravo. In about 1,000 words, she took what I think most of us who are pro-choice activists are trying to say and put them in concise, simple words. Now if we could just get everyone to listen.