Not In Her Shoes: A New Way to Talk About Abortion

The labels “pro-choice” and “pro-life” just aren’t working anymore. These two terms have defined the battle lines of the abortion issue for decades, but they simply don’t reflect how people actually feel about abortion. It’s a complicated issue that engenders a whole range of opinions. So instead of trying to fit everyone into one of these two boxes, we need to meet people where they are by talking about abortion in terms everyone can access. The message is simple: we shouldn’t interfere with a woman’s personal medical decisions because we’re NOT IN HER SHOES. Watch this short video for a quick explanation of how this message can change the conversations we have about abortion:

Planned Parenthood recently released new polling research that shows that nearly one quarter of voters don’t identify with the pro-choice/pro-life label dichotomy. Many people feel conflicted about the issue. Many people personally do not like the idea of abortion, but don’t feel they have the right to keep anyone else from accessing the procedure. These people don’t feel like these labels accurately describe how they think and feel about abortion.

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Two thirds of all voters believe that abortion should remain safe and legal. The reason this percentage is higher than those people who self-identify as “pro-choice” is because often those who identify as or lean towards “pro-life” actually say that their personal view of abortion “depends on the circumstances.”

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So let’s start having conversations about abortion that acknowledge that we don’t all fit into neat boxes on this complicated issue. It’s just not that simple. Talk about how we can’t make these decisions for a woman because we’re not in her shoes. Then, though you might be tempted, don’t describe the shoes. What you consider a good reason to have an abortion might not be a good reason in the eyes of someone else. We want to lead people away from a place of judgement. Instead, we want our conversations to lead others to a place where they are free to acknowledge that that don’t know the circumstances that surround the very personal decision to end a pregnancy.

Please take the time to read this short online booklet to learn more about how to have an authentic conversation about this complex topic.

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