The March for Life is being held right now in Ottawa. I was unable to make it, but it turns out a woman took off her shirt to protest the pro-life position. Again. Here is my open letter to her.
Dear Woman-Who-Pulled-Off-Her-Shirt at the March for Life rally:
I gather you feel strongly about abortion and women’s unrestricted access to it. You probably have personal reasons for that position. Perhaps you had an abortion you felt you needed or simply wanted, or perhaps a friend or a loved one had an abortion. Maybe she felt she had no other option but to kill the child growing inside her, and you stood by her and supported her. Or maybe you simply believe that abortion access is a human rights issue.
While I’ll likely disagree with your reasons for legalized abortion, I do support your right to express yourself and share your perspective.
However, going topless at a pro-life rally really isn’t a great way to make your point. Showing your breasts to the world is not an argument in favour of legalized abortion. It simply isn’t.
Toplessness isn’t shocking anymore, and for a few reasons. First, probably more than half of the March participants are women. They have their own breasts. They aren’t surprised by another pair. Your bare breasts do nothing to persuade them to adopt a pro-choice position.
As for the men, even the religious officials, they know what breasts look like. Really. Honestly. And I highly doubt a single one of them gasped in horror and fled the stage. And I am positive not a single one changed his pro-life perspective.
And we live in a sadly over-sexualized culture. Enough said.
You may have attended last year’s March rally where another woman (or perhaps two?) took off her shirt and stormed the stage. The speaker, a male religious official, didn’t bat an eye or miss a beat.
Topless protesting doesn’t really elicit much attention at all. A few people might tweet what you did, but really, that’s about it. And it doesn’t convey a point or an argument.
And is drawing attention to yourself for an act of nudity persuasive in the first place?
My next point is that there are interesting and engaging pro-choice arguments. The violinist argument? Have you heard of it? It’s not a perfect analogy or argument, but it has given plenty of pro-lifers reason for pause and reflection over the years. I’m all for pro-choicers advancing arguments that cause us to think and more carefully consider our position. Bring on the good arguments, enlightening illustrations and personal stories. Most pro-lifers want to listen to what you have to say. We hope that you’ll listen to our arguments and stories too.
I hope you’re okay, and you weren’t hurt when security pulled you out of the crowd. I hope that you have an opportunity to really share your perspective and even your own story. If you feel like getting in touch with me or anyone else at PWPL, you can reach us here. Andrea responds to email requests quite quickly. We’ll be in touch.
Maybe someday we can even have coffee. But let’s keep our tops on, okay?