There I was…just minding my own business at the AutoZone on Election Day 2012 when I heard the man at the register next to me say to the cashier, “You know if Romney wins he won’t let you have an abortion if you get raped.” “Oh Lord,” I thought, “I only have a few minutes before my next appointment and I just wanted to get this wiper. Surely he will not turn to me and tell me that, will he?” “Ma’am, can I ask you a question? Do you know that if Romney wins…” I think you get the picture. Despite what might be racing through your mind if you know me well it was a VERY good experience. We were both vocal (read loud) but civil. We were passionate but appropriate. We were discussing but not arguing. We didn’t interrupt and we listened to both sides.
Here are just a few snippets of the debate:
Me: Well, sir, it doesn’t matter to me what Romney does…if I am raped, I would not have an abortion. Just because a baby’s daddy is a jerk doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t live.”
AutoZone Customer: Really. But it is not a baby.
Me: If it is not a baby, what is it?
AutoZone Customer: Well, just not fully formed.
Me: I am 47 years old and I am not fully formed – emotionally, mentally, physically – I will change.
AutoZone Customer: Right, but it is still not really a human.
Me: Really? Unique DNA at conception. Heartbeat detectable by 20 days. At 10 weeks gestation all vital organs and systems have been created. If it is not a baby, what is it?
AutoZone Customer: Well, maybe it is a baby. But I think a woman should have the choice.
Me: The choice to end the life of her unborn baby?
AutoZone Customer: But if my daughter was raped and she thinks she couldn’t handle the stress of carrying the baby, I think she should be allowed to have an abortion.
Me: When the baby is 6 months old, there will be times she thinks she couldn’t handle the stress of being a mom. Is it okay then to kill the baby?
AutoZone Customer: Of course not!
And the debate goes on! What I loved about the entire time with my friend at AutoZone was that we were having a discussion about abortion. We were not protesting…yelling..belittling..ridiculing. He thanked me for the discussion and said, “You showed me some things I hadn’t thought about. Still think I’d let my daughter have an abortion.”
Oh Lord, may I never be to quick to run from a situation – even an uncomfortable one – but stay and choose to speak in Love.