Abortion-posterby Kelli

On the left, it has become a source of frustration that the swift acceptance of gay rights has not been accompanied by a broader liberalization of sexual attitudes, particularly around reproductive issues. “That’s where the anti-abortion side has succeeded,” says [gay activist Dave] Fleischer. “They’ve made people feel that to speak up and say something positive about abortion is something where you risk disapproval, then you’d be suggested to a certain amount of stigma. This is even truer around abortion than it is same-sex marriage.”

Fleischer approached Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, whose CEO had served on the board of the anti-Prop 8 campaign, to let the LGBT Center manage its canvassing program. After fighting a series of statewide ballot initiatives over parental notification, Planned Parenthood’s leadership concluded that its “traditional messaging strategies didn’t work,” according to Sue Dunlap, the CEO of the Los Angeles chapter. Instead, many in the pro-choice movement concluded, they needed to find fluency in the language of values understood by those who might be persuadable on the issue….

Abortion is typically considered a moral concern, about the bounds of life, or a legal one, about the nature of rights and liberties.

Fleischer hypothesized it could be understood instead as a matter of personal identity, and that resistance to abortion really is stigma towards the women who have — or could have — them. “My hunch is,” he says, “talking about real lived experience is extraordinarily helpful in developing empathy and support.”

If so, perhaps American society had just never been exposed to the sustained organic contact that… could begin to dismantle a deeply held prejudice. After all, whites with retrograde views on race find themselves working on the same factory floor as blacks; straight people learn a beloved cousin is a lesbian. But how often does anyone, particularly among those who consider themselves pro-life, learn that a friend or relative or co-worker has had an abortion?

~ Sasha Issenberg, discussing pro-LGBT activist Dave Fleischer’s idea on how to change society’s mind about abortion by using the strategies of the pro-gay marriage movement, Bloomberg, October 6

[Image via firedoglake.com]

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