Imagine my shock last night as I opened up Facebook to double check my blog feed and scan through news, and noticed this: “Do you think it can be repealed? Something this bad needs to be completely destroyed, in my opinion. Isn’t this like turning history around? Poll Shows Opposition to Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill Increasing After Obama Signed It- LifeNews.com.”
My first reaction was to check who had written such nonsense and then investigate how they came to be friended in the first place. I didn’t have to look long to find out. My dear old Aunt, who joined Facebook not a year before with my instruction no less , had a wall and newsfeed full of these LifeNews.com updates.
We are Italians. My Aunt, like my father, is a first generation Italian American. Use your imagination to sum up the political and social ideology of many within my father’s family. If you guess they are fervently Catholic and blindly Pro-Life you are correct, if not, well I just told you. With this fact, it did not surprise me that my Aunt was posting stuff like this on the internet, she was a faithful Palin/McCain supporter during the 2008 election and often alludes to her volunteer work at Catholic Charities when ever
I have been forced to be around her I sit next to her during family gatherings.
Still, it bothers me. How does one who believes so passionately that people have the right to reproductive freedom, one who abhors gender discrimination, and one who tires of hateful and intentionally misleading rhetoric surrounding reproductive health services, deal with family or close friends that are on the extreme opposite of the spectrum?
Because my Aunt and I have never been close, I chose to delete her from my Facebook. This garnered a rude remark from her the next time I saw her, but other than that it didn’t cause any issues. The irrationality of her rantings reveal she is too far gone for me to attempt a factual debate surrounding reproductive health services and equality, thus cutting her off solved that particular dilemma swift and painlessly.
My mother, on the other hand, sees my blog posts and frequent updates that carry a definite pro-choice tone and emails me lengthy objections. She is, I have found, one of the most hate filled, pro-life persons I have ever met- and she is my mother. Don’t get me wrong, I love her immensely and I am so grateful to her for a number of wonderful things she does for me, but the vehemence with which she opposes abortion rights and reproductive health equality I just cannot abide. The problem is cutting her off is not an option.
At the age of 17, my mom had a “back alley” abortion that left her so severely scarred that her ability to reproduce, when she wanted to and felt ready to do so much later in life, was jeopardized. We have heard the horror stories before and please believe, my mother lived through all of them. For this reason alone I find it so difficult to comprehend how she turned a complete 180 on the issue.
I decided the best thing for me to do was initiate a conversation about all of it, something we hadn’t done even though I myself was a pregnant teenager, in a safe environment. We sat in front of a nice fire place at some swanky, downtown restaurant and chatted mindlessly about the weather, my classes at school and the recent renovations at her home. I had stage fright, I remember thinking, because each time I began to broach the potentially volatile subject I clammed up and awkwardly sipped my drink.
Finally, I said fuck it and plainly told her the recent email she sent attempting to sway me toward a pro-life stance, offended me to the core. Her stoney silence was cue that I pissed her off. “Good” I thought and launched into a full attack of the pro-life, “pro-hypocrite” I think I said, way of thinking. I asked her to please explain how she supports something that if successful, would cause hundreds of thousands of women to suffer the way she did at 17. Yet, with each point I made, her counter was simply, “they should not have sex.” After explaining the unreasonableness of that approach at least 4 times, I gave up. We went our separate ways and avoid speaking about that meeting or that particular topic, which is just as well.
There is no way I can reason with my mother or my aunt, that much I have concluded. Plainly speaking, the situation sucks. I don’t want to fight with family or cut “those I’m not close with” off at the sign of a disagreement, but what else can I do? I won’t budge on this issue and feel that a violation or the denial of a basic human right to only a set group of people is disgustingly wrong. So I’m left with a significant quandary that I fear will not yield happy results.
How about you? How do you deal with any pro-life family members or close friends?