Abortion: For, Against, or Somewhere In Between

Conversation Guide

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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!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • 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?

Round 2:

Abortion: For, Against, or Somewhere In Between

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • 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?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ 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?

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