There's a reason why Molly and I waited for more than 200 episodes of Stuff Mom Never Told You to have a frank conversation about abortion. It's one of the most controversial and divisive political, social and health issues simmering in the American mainstream. Our abiding podcast philosophy is to maintain objectivity as much as possible, and, frankly, we needed 200+ episodes of practice to present abortion in as honest, nonpolitical way possible. Hence, the podcast title "A Politics-Free Abortion Podcast."
And folks, discussing the details of Molly's finely researched article on How Abortion Works was challenging at times because here's the thing: while almost everyone has an opinion on abortion, the legality of abortion and the morality of abortion, not so many of us know what one is, exactly. Did you know the different types of abortion? Did you know the difference between a medical abortion and a vacuum extraction abortion? Did you know the medical term for a miscarriage is a "spontaneous abortion"?
Neither did I.
One listener wrote in response to the abortion episode: "Just heard the podcast last night and you've made a pro-lifer out of me!!"
To which I say, you're missing the point. Pro-choice doesn't equal pro-abortion.
I support a woman's right to choose, but before the podcast, I couldn't tell you what the procedure actually entails in medical detail. Learning about these sometimes uncomfortable aspects of abortion procedures, particularly later-term procedures, has certainly informed my overall perspective on the issue -- and that's a good thing.
Am I still pro-choice? Yes. Am I pro-abortion? No. Women should have legal access to safe, affordable abortions, but I also advocate for providing safe, affordable pregnancy prevention so that women don't have to make that choice to begin with. Let me underscore that again, in case anyone misread that the first time: I support a woman's right to choose. But I also support health services that help women avoid unintended pregnancies. To me, that's the best case scenario for everyone involved.
Plenty of people -- hoards of them, in fact -- will disagree with me here. But I think we can all agree on one thing: understanding all of the facts about a specific social issue will only enrich our dialogue and elevate it above political pandering.