[eDebate] Final Thoughts on Roe

nrichter at umsis.miami.edu nrichter
Wed Apr 12 09:56:02 CDT 2006

I have taken some time off from this discussion to regain the emotional 
strength necessary to re-enter the debate. I cannot speak about this topic in a 
detached sense, and my entire life is affected by this discussion, so I am 
ready to make a final statement and move on. I know there are many line-by-line 
arguments that I do not have the time to respond to (my thesis is due in a 
week, and I do not have the ability to respond to everyone's thoughts). But in 
general, I think they overlook the most troubling aspects of this topic. Please 
try to listen with an open mind and heart:

1. I am speaking for the invisible voices in this community. I have gotten a 
flood of e-mails from womyn (and men) who do not feel comfortable talking about 
this issue in the public sphere. They see the repercussions of posting on e-
debate and they fear being criticized and silenced by members of this 
community. They do not feel safe to speak out. If you believe the debate about 
this is open, I urge to consider the voices that are not visible because they 
fear being neglected and delegitimized through arguments about why "switch-side 
debate" is good or the educational value of the topic. The truth of the matter 
is that there are womyn all across the country that support the position Nicole 
and I are taking, but because of privacy and fear they cannot come forward. I 
completely understand their position. I have felt hurt and attacked by some 
posts over the last couple of days, when my goal is really to just to call 
attention to the voices we do not hear. Nicole and I are not alone.

2. There are womyn in this community that have had abortions. I urge you to 
consider their ability to debate this topic and the potential consequences 
these debates might have on those womyn. Some womyn that have abortions have no 
emotional trauma, but some feel extreme shame and guilt about what they have 
done. Some womyn become extremely depressed, lead a life of self-hatred, and 
some even commit suicide as a result. I don't feel comfortable forcing these 
womyn to debate about their personal experience. Inevitably, they will be 
negative against a team that approaches this from the right, and I don't want 
to sponsor a decrease in the self-esteem of these womyn. Yes, personal 
experience is important in debate, but should we force it? Many womyn cannot 
debate this from a detached standpoint. I want to make this community safer for 
womyn, I feel that debating Roe undermines that goal. Debating this topic will 
further ostracize some womyn in this community. My evidence to support this: 
the womyn that already feel unable to participate in this discussion. I think 
even if participation is increased by debating this topic, we will lose the 
most important participants. I think we should consider the feelings and 
thoughts of those in the community affected by this topic, not commodify their 
suffering for the educational value of switch side debate, and seriously 
consider the psychological damage this could do to womyn in this community. 

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