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How to survive Thanksgiving: Abortion

November 26, 2013


Not in her shoes

If you’re anything like we are, it can sometimes be hard to make it through a meal without having a family member start talking about abortion (maybe it’s a side effect of being employed by Planned Parenthood?). We know it can be hard to gather your thoughts when you’re confronted by your great aunt Mildred (who you love, but who is totally misguided about abortion), so here are some tips for when the conversation turns ugly at the dinner table:

The best talking point ever (repeat as necessary):

  • Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman – Ultimately, decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or raise a child must be left to a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor or health care provider.

Other good one-liners:

  • We’re just not in her shoes. It’s just not that simple.
  • Abortion is very common. In fact, almost 1 in 3 women in America will have an abortion by age 45.

When debate turns to “choice” vs “life”:

  • Instead of putting people in one category or another, we should respect the real life decisions women and their families face every day.

When the conversation turns to Texas or Albuquerque and 20-week bans:

  • Nearly 99% of abortions in the U.S. occur before 21 weeks’ gestation.
  • Often, abortions later in pregnancy involve rare, severe fetal abnormalities and serious risks to the woman’s health. These are often very wanted pregnancies that have gone tragically wrong.
  • Around 20 weeks is when doctors get results of fetal testing for major abnormalities. In those rare cases families need compassion and options.

For questions about religion and when life begins:

  • For some, it’s based on faith, for others it’s a matter of science or medicine. One thing I do know is that politicians aren’t the experts.
  • 3 out of 4 women who have abortions describe themselves as “religiously affiliated” – and Catholic women have abortions at the same rate as women overall.

How to end the conversation:

  • We don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care, or cancer treatments. The bottom line is that a woman, not politicians, should make the informed decisions when it comes to her own pregnancy.  Now, please pass the mashed potatoes.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • One in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some time in her life for professional, non-judgmental, and confidential care. No one else does more than Planned Parenthood to reduce unintended pregnancies and keep women healthy.
  • Nationally,  More than 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention, testing and treatment for STDs, breast health services, pap tests, sexual health education, information, and accurate, nonjudgmental information and health counseling.
  • 6 in 10 women who have abortions already have a child, and many have two or more. They know what it means to be a parent, and they often cite the need to care for their child as a primary reason for deciding not to have another right now.

Want more resources from an organization Aunt Mildred probably hasn’t heard of?
Check out Exhale.

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