Pain enough to go on both sides

Our marches demand that women find common ground

WILMINGTON — Now is the time.

I have heard people say it is a challenge when you live in interesting times. My challenge is to listen to the daily unfolding of political news out of Washington, D.C. And, I am told that bipartisanship is the magic that will cure all.

However, what I really need to hear, as a 90-year-old woman, is what kind of courage will it take for the March for Life and Planned Parenthood leadership to come to the table.

Is it possible for these women to sit with one another and hammer out an agenda representing all women in this country? What is our common ground?

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As a young wife, so many years ago, my duties included managing the household and producing beautiful, smart, and talented children. So it was, then, that my husband provided the money to make it all happen. How many television sitcoms did we all see in the '60s and '70s to assure us that we had chosen the right path as grown-ups?

As a young mother, I took my babies in the stroller daily to the Washington Square playground. There, sitting around the sandbox, we mothers talked about Dr. Spock and how to make the best chocolate-chip cookies. We had occasional conversations about the uptown women, trading names for good housekeepers. From time to time we would talk about “those women,” their sorry situations and, in addition to that, “they” were having too many children, and what the options might be meaning simply an abortion.

At that time, I remember thinking silently of abortion as a bad solution. At that moment, in my secure life, I believed I had the answers. More beautiful children. And why not?

Innocence and ignorance played a role in my beliefs. As the years rolled by, I moved on from Washington Square park. Things happened; life revealed itself in many different ways.

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Today, I honestly believe that abortion is an answer for life conceived in the back seat of a car because liquor or drugs has had its way, or for life conceived as a result of a brutal rape.

Or, how about inappropriate family behavior? By this time in my life, I have heard too many stories from my friends who know of, or have had the actual experience of, having a baby snatched from a mother's arms in a birthing center far away from friends and family. Yes, girls sent away. Yes, sent away because of pregnancy. Then years of sadness spent searching for that child.

And, how about the internet - stories of children needing to find their birth mother. We must consider those who have no choice, and the choice some must make for an abortion. I know that these choices always involve many levels of suffering.

Women in leadership must recognize that there is pain enough to go around on both sides. Our marches demand that they find common ground.

Certainly, education and counseling can begin the process. Division is not a good thing. I challenge the women representing us to find that common ground and prepare and issue a coherent united statement in my lifetime.

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