Most American activists in the debate generally label themselves as either "pro-choice" or "pro-life".
If you ask me, these definitions already break the rules of engagement.
In a debate where two opposite points of view on a subject (X) are faced, you should hear somebody being either "pro-X", "anti-X" or "pro-an-alternative-to-X". For instance, you may hear people saying they are either pro-capitalism, against-capitalism, pro-communism, etc. You certainly don't hear "I am pro-capitalism, therefore I disagree with pro-torture people". The two things have nothing to do with the other and the sentence is just stupid!
How many times did you encounter somebody that labels himself "pro-life" and despises the ability to choose his own doctor (a possible expression of "anti-choice")? Not many! How many times did you hear somebody that labels himself "pro-choice" and goes around stoning people (a practical expression of "anti-life")? I don't have any statistics to support my theory, but I bet a whole dollar that this is also extremely rare and, probably, even rarer than the first example!
Most things in life are not black and white.
In the article "Life isn't black and white. It's a million shades of grey", Beth McHugh eloquently says: "Being human, we often look at others through the tunnel vision of our own life experience." and "Although we are much more similar than dissimilar, we all have our own unique upbringing. Some of us have had a relatively easy ride, being born into financial comfortably and possessing a stable and encouraging family life.".
Shades of gray are everywhere. It's even more important to remember this when we live in countries where how-much-money-we-have is the difference between a 4 or 8 cylinders 2nd car, rather than providing your children with food or letting them starve.
During Hurricane Katrina we witnessed civilians and police officers steal from grocery stores just to survive.
We're not talking TVs and i-Pods: We're talking food and clothes. People didn't eat for days: what were they to do? Wait to be given permission by the XYZ-Foods corporation to legally take the food? The answer is no. Thankfully they used common-sense, took the food and some survived.
They stole because they had to and it was the right thing to do. Should they repay XYZ-Food or feel guilty? I am not even going to answer such a rhetorical question.
To steal (To take the property of another without right or permission) is to steal, but that is not always a bad thing.
To kill or not to kill is similar. It's usually a very bad thing, but is it always so?
Of course not (self-defense and euthanasia being two obvious examples)!
Yet, some still keep seeing things just in black and white and (also thanks to labels such as "pro-life") they make this look just like a simple "right" or "wrong" matter.
They think a mother risking her life or health is inconsequential and advocate it's not for her to say what she wants or doesn't want in regards to her own body. They only look at one side of the issue.
They condemn the decision of young couples that are aware of having made a mistake and want to correct it for the best of all involved. The judges (who are not involved) feel entitled to tell both of them what to do without having to live with the consequences.
They ignore kids born with defects that will kill them after days, weeks or few years of pain and suffering and decide it's better for them to suffer than not.
They ignore the reality of the 13 years old girl that was raped, became pregnant and was never asked an opinion about anything. They believe it's right and just to silence her, even after such brutality, and to decide what's best for her, regardless of what and how she feels. In regards to this very same example Matt Slick says "The closest I can come to experiencing their situation is to try and imagine what I would do if my wife were raped and impregnated. Years ago, I decided that if it happened, I would want to raise the child as my own. I dearly love children and could never simply want to get rid of it. My wife feels the same way.".
It is not the same situation. It's not even remotely close to it, and thinking that it is is preposterous and insulting.
Then he continues by saying "Jesus showed me His great love by sacrificing His life for me, a sinner. I deserve to be judged harshly by Him, yet He is gracious and kind. I too must be gracious and kind in response. Therefore, I would keep any child given to me and raise him or her as my own, with all my love and dedication....by God's grace.".
Good for him and his wife. Yet, how did the topic shift from the problems of a lonely 13 year old girl that is all bruised up, whose community probably considers a whore and who just wants to die, to Jesus, his wife and how good they would act in a very different scenario?
How about we start with a hug and we ask her what she wants, rather than telling her what she should do?
How about giving her real options and making sure she knows she will be loved and respected, regardless of her choice? How about making sure, if she is in doubt, to tell her what either choice means, in the simplest possible terms, and without expecting that she has to believe in one particular divinity (or any at all, for that matter)?
The "pro-choice" stand is not about making abortion a "one cure fits all" solution.
It's not about "one less thing to worry about" or supporting promiscuity.
It is not so and never was.
It's about the extreme cases and giving few unlucky individuals a real choice when they need it.
It's about respecting women and reassuring them they won't be stoned if they are raped, regardless of how loud they scream or if they scream at all.
It's about quality rather than quantity and trying to give the best to your kids, not just something.