Dear Dr. Colleen MacQuarrie, conference speakers and participants:
I don’t know you, but I am going to assume that we have more in common than you might think. In fact, I am convinced of it. Forgive my arrogance, but I’m going assume a couple of things. I’m going to assume that we all want women to realize their full potential. I’m going to assume that we all want women to be safe and healthy. I’m going to assume that we all want to uphold the dignity of the female for what it is, unencumbered by stereotypes and presuppositions. I’m going to assume these things because I’m here, in this space, for one reason and one reason alone: I care about my fellow woman. And you too, are where you are, for the same reason. We’re out in the world caring for the marginalized, we’re gently folding into the greater society those that have been neglected. Our work is good and noble.
Many of us do what we do for free. We do what we do by sacrificing time that could’ve been spent doing other, more personally beneficial, things. We do it because it matters so much to us, because other women, complete strangers, matter so much to us.
Your conference is a call to bring abortion access to Prince Edward Island, and you know that I would argue that abortion access is not the solution to the issues that bring women into crisis pregnancy situations. You know I won’t advocate for that, because I believe in every fiber of my being (and we can see it exemplified in the way our society responds to the unmarried mother) that there are implications for a society that provides abortion on demand to its citizens, and these implications affect each and every woman, regardless of her stance on abortion. You know that many women have multiple abortions, and this illustrates that abortion doesn’t lift a woman from the socioeconomic position that brought her to the abortion clinic in the first place.
I would argue that by funding abortion on demand we’re saying it’s okay to have an abortion because gender inequality still prevails in our classrooms and our workplaces, that you won’t get that promotion or that degree unless you have an abortion, and we’ll pay for it.
And perhaps we are not only saying that it’s okay, and that we’ll pay for it, but perhaps we’re sending the message that unless you are pregnant in the most Utopian of circumstances, you SHOULD have an abortion.
You know I don’t agree with you, but we still have so much in common. We still share a view of womanhood marked by strength and infinite possibility. With so much in common, why have we yet to create a space for ourselves to enter into dialog with one another? Why have we not come together to erect a more sustainable and universal vision of the future? Why do we still seek refuge in our podiums, me at mine and you at yours?
We should be fearless, and in our fearlessness collectively exchange ideas, let our moral imaginations reign, let the most truthful ideas win, let the most honest aspects of our passions come to the surface and be written into our moral code.