Letter to the Editor: Let’s Talk About Abortion During Quarantine

During+the+%22Let%27s+Talk%22+event+that+took+place+at+La+Salle+in+March%2C+students+were+able+to+express+their+opinions+about+abortion.+

Photo courtesy of Ann Marie Bottita

During the "Let's Talk" event that took place at La Salle in March, students were able to express their opinions about abortion.

Letters to editor, which can be sent to [email protected], are published at the discretion of the student editors.

To the editor,

Despite social distancing, it is still crucial to have difficult conversations. Surprisingly, deciding how to handle COVID-19 has been somewhat of a controversial topic. Yet, even though it is controversial, it is completely necessary that we talk about how to move forward. Reflecting on this reminded me of the conversation surrounding abortion. Like COVID-19, abortion is also an important issue and may be one of the most dividing issues. The conversation typically results in a heated argument, leaving anyone involved upset and making little progress. Online conversations also tend to bring out heated arguments, even more than conversations in person. Especially since quarantine has required us to communicate online, it is important to know how to have healthy and productive conversations.

The way we converse with each other is something that needs to change if we want to mend such harsh divisions rampant in our society. In running Falcons for Life, a pro-life club at La Salle, I decided to focus our attention this year on dialogue and conversation. One of our projects this year was the “Let’s Talk” tabling event back in the beginning of March. This event was designed to allow students to express their voices and start conversations about abortion. We set up two boards with numerous prompts for students to respond to on sticky notes, and we received a wide range of opinions in the responses. With those responses came a lot of impactful conversations, and I am grateful for the amount of respect everyone had for each other. On behalf of Falcons for Life, I would like to say thank you to everyone who participated in the event. If you were not able to participate and would like to contribute to the conversation, feel free to talk to those around you. You can also get in contact with me, at ​[email protected],​ or the faculty adviser for Falcons for Life, Mr. Banks, at ​[email protected],​ if you have any questions.

Reflecting on conversations I had during the tabling event and ones I have had in the past, I would like to share some of what I have learned in order to have healthy conversations in person and online.

First, when talking to people, there is more than one conversation going on. One conversation is what they tell you, and another is what is being told behind their words. There is a lot going on in every person’s life, and we may never know just what incredibly complex story lies in front of us. Recognize the person in front of you as more than just the words they say or the arguments they offer. While their words are important, it is just as important to not villainize them just for disagreeing with you.

Second, we may have more in common than you would expect. Whether you are pro-choice, pro-life, or somewhere in between, most people have a true desire to help others. From what I have experienced, the majority of people fighting for their cause, fight to help women and families in need. Both supporters of access to abortion and those who oppose it recognize the struggle of facing an unplanned pregnancy, and want to alleviate that pain from those going through it. When talking with people you disagree with, it is always important to find common ground wherever you can. Finding common ground will allow you to focus your attention on what you agree on and work through the conversation together.

Finally, it is in our human nature to be different. Every single person is a unique human being, where there are no two people exactly alike. Due to this, it is nearly impossible to have every single person agree on anything. People will always have differences, and we need to accept that. In fact, having differences is a good thing. It means we can make progress and that our society will change over time. This also means that we need to learn how to work with our differences. ​Our world has struggled with this for as long as humans have been around.​ What we can do to help is to talk with others about how we can go about solving issues with our differences in mind.

To put it simply, we can’t lose sight of the person in front of us or the people you are fighting for.

To close, I would like to say thank you again to everyone who participated in the “Let’s Talk” tabling event. I cannot stress enough how important conversation is on a topic such as abortion. Let’s mend the division that has been growing for decades, starting with a conversation.

Ann Marie Bottita, class of 2020