In one way at least, the two opposing sides in the battle over abortion may not be as polarized as we assume. The Washington Post reports on the common cause that pro-life and pro-choice groups have made over a pregnancy discrimination case currently being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Young v. United Parcel Service, former UPS driver Peggy Young is suing the company for forcing her to take unpaid leave while she was pregnant. Her suit alleges that she was denied work flexibility that was extended to workers who had lost their driver’s license or were convicted of drunk driving.Groups on both sides of the abortion debate—the National Women’s Law Center and the National Association of Evangelicals, Planned Parenthood, and the Christian Legal Society—have come out in favor of the suit and even held press conferences together:
“No woman should be told to go home and come back when she’s no longer pregnant,” said Galen Carey, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, referring to what Young said she was told at UPS. “That’s a pretty strong statement.”Carey, Day and other anti-abortion advocates stood outside the Supreme Court with Rachel Laser, deputy director of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Laser supports abortion rights. But she works in concert with anti-abortion groups on pregnancy discrimination. “And we’re going to continue working together,” she said.
On the one hand, this story suggests that as heated as the abortion debate is, there is room for common ground in making society more friendly to pregnant women and working mothers. Pro-lifers won’t mistake progress on that front for victory, but both sides’ willingness to work with each other on an incrementally helpful improvement like that is heartening. On the one hand, it shows that both groups might have more nuanced attitudes toward the range of issues implicated by abortion than the media narratives suggest. Many pro-lifers do care about the woman as well as the baby she carries, and many pro-choicers care about accommodating pregnancy and don’t just tout increased abortion access as the solution to an array of complex problems. These truths often get lost amid the sensational coverage of women’s issues, and it is good to be reminded of them.