The following guest post comes from Alise McCoy Wright, a cyber-friend of my wife's and mine.
When I was growing up, my parents (and especially my mom) were very involved in the pro-life movement. I believe my first pro-life march in Washington, D.C. was when I was in 7th grade (maybe 8th -- definitely before high school). At that time and through high school, it was a very black and white issue. Abortion was bad. No ifs, ands or buts.
Fast forward to 1997. I've just graduated from college and have my first job teaching in an inner-city school. I'm in a city where I don't know anyone and have only been married for 9 months. I've known for probably a week that I'm pregnant, but kept hoping that I was mistaken. I finally take a pregnancy test and confirm that I am indeed pregnant.
I wish my first reaction when I saw those two lines had been joy, but in reality, it was fear. I was not prepared for a pregnancy and certainly not prepared for a new baby. Fortunately, by the end of the day, I was feeling much better about it and by the time I told Jason, I was absolutely thrilled at the prospect.
But I don't think I've ever forgotten my initial reaction to the circumstance. I was someone who was in a happy (if young) marriage. We had two very supportive families who were able to help us. We were getting involved in a new church and Bible study. Overall, the circumstances were pretty good for us which made it much easier for me to move from fear to excitement. Not every woman has that luxury.
That's not to say that I'm not still pro-life. I still think that in almost all instances it would be better for the woman to choose to have her baby rather than to terminate the pregnancy. As I watch my beautiful daughter growing into an amazing young woman, I have no regrets about being that young mom. But that experience has also shown me that things aren't quite as black and white as I once thought. That there may be other events that play into a woman's decision to continue or end a pregnancy.
Sadly, much of the discourse surrounding this issue is very polarized and polarizing. People on opposite sides are painted with the most extreme brushes and rather than listening, they just shout past one another. Which was why I was absolutely astounded to watch the discussion between Jon Stewart and Mike Huckabee on last Thursday's show. In a time when the major "news" networks do their best to get the most extreme voices on, The Daily Show was able to have a very calm, rational discussion. If you have about 20 minutes, I would strongly suggest checking out these three videos.
Despite these men having very different opinions on the issue, they manage to have a great conversation. And in a day where conversations seem to take a back seat to emotionally charged language and one group trying to out-argue the other, this was a refreshing change. I hope that maybe "the news" will take a cue from The Daily Show and maybe encourage people to talk for a change. I think we'd all appreciate that.