My Twitter feed is filled with heartfelt pleas for governments to act now and to change laws which regulate the provision of abortion services. The COVID-19 pandemic is being leveraged by lobbyists to fast-track changes, which years of campaigning and protesting have not yet been able to accomplish.
What is fascinating, is that this same tactic and behaviour is being adopted by both sides.
This is a great illustration of just how contested abortion is, and how deeply lobbyists are entrenched in their own worldviews, and by the way, on this issue we are probably all lobbyists in one way or another.
Abortion is not a trivial matter, it affects some 55 million women each year, and given what it is, it is not surprising that there are these deeply held, emotionally invested, differences of opinion on how we as a society should be dealing with it.
We will not be able to resolve contested issues and move forward by staying in our own trenches. It is time to try putting emotion to one side and engage with one another in objective, rational debate. Around the table, could we engage on these:
- Is abortion a necessary, essential element of healthcare, does this depend upon medical indications or grounds for choice?
- How should abortion services be regulated by national laws, or is it time to decriminalise?
- Is it okay to act from your own worldview, ignoring local regulations, and advocate by doing?
- How and where should women be able to access comprehensive safe abortion care?
- Post-pandemic, should telemedicine be used to enable abortion at home, and if so, how can we ensure that this is as safe as face-to-face?
- What are the issues which need to be addressed before abortion services are shifted to pharmacies and self-managed by women?
- How should abortion services be paid for?