Abortion: For, Against, or Somewhere In Between
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Abortion is seldom a topic that we speak about in casual conversation. More often we hear abortion talked about by news media, politicians or, more rarely, depicted in books, television shows or movies. In pretty much any situation, abortion elicits an intense emotional response. In the U.S. the conversation on abortion generally centers on whether you are “for” or “against” it and very rarely explores personal narratives, what we believe about abortion as a decision, what the procedure entails, or how abortion affects an individual’s reproductive and mental health. Engaging in an honest and vulnerable conversation on abortion provides an opportunity to explore the depths of our beliefs about sex, life, death, agency and parenting. It gets at the very root of what we care deeply for in life and opens the door to finding potential common ground.
Let's Get Started!
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
Abortion: For, Against, or Somewhere In Between (~40 min)
One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. The group may choose to have everyone answer: A) whichever question speaks to them individually or B) the same question with an option to pass. Once everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for any clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring with other topic or related questions as time allows.
- Share something from your life experience that informs your response to or position on abortion.
- Why can it be so difficult to talk about abortion? What is really at the heart of the debate?
- Have you or someone close to you ever had to make a decision about abortion? Who made the ultimate decision? How do you (or the person you know) feel about it now?
- Labels like ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ often oversimplify positions and pit us against one another. Which, if any, gray areas have you identified within your own position?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
- What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?