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Some people say first dates should be light hearted. There are, of course, the “interview questions.” Where are you from? What do you do? Ever been married? Any kids? Folks say conversation should surround favorite movies or a common interest in music. Macy Gray? Erykah? I dig that. How’d you feel about Kanye’s last album? They say, conversations should never be weighed down by those taboo topics that have nerve striking potential.

But I say, we would all get to know each other, a lot better, a lot faster if we were honest in our opinions and fearless in our intimate conversations. So I went out on a limb, and some people may call me tactless, but I asked my date a question because it was on my mind and I wanted to know.

What do you think about abortion?

Conservatives, in theory, are staunch pro-life activists, abhorring a woman’s right to choose, labeling any and every pregnancy a blessing from God. They are also, more often than not, anti-abortion and pro-death penalty. They don’t believe in killing people until they’re actually born.

There are some issues I stand firm on:  The death penalty?  It should be abolished. Affirmative Action? We need it. Healthcare? It’s necessary. Obama? My president is still black. But abortion? I’ve wavered back and forth and never really chose a side just hoping and praying I would never have to.  

My date said he never really gave it much thought and I asked him if he ever heard of Hidalgo County Texas. Named for a Spanish priest, Hidalgo County is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States and home to one of the poorest populations and highest birth rates where Medicaid finances more than half of all deliveries.  Then I asked him if he ever heard of Planned Parenthood and if he hadn’t. He should read up on it because this year alone, dozens of programs nationwide have been eradicated due to federal budget cuts to Planned Parenthood and it doesn’t just affect pregnant women, but it also affects you and me and everyone else who pays taxes…or gives a damn about our fellow citizens.

Those women in Texas–the pregnant ones who can’t afford their next meal, much less a baby–rely on services like Planned Parenthood for routine healthcare. The services include contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and sometimes abortions.

Conservatives, and Herman Cain most of the time, oppose taxpayer funded abortions (which are illegal anyway), and since they haven’t been successful in overturning Roe v. Wade, they do the next best thing. That is strip financing from any organization that performs abortions or refers women to abortion providers and make gaining access to the procedure as difficult as possible.

My date shook his head, but was silent. Then I told him I had first-hand knowledge about how hard it is for a single woman with children to work AND pay for childcare. Then there’s rent, groceries and a bunch of other daily expenses that add up fast even when you don’t live in Hidalgo County, but instead New York City, you have a college degree and a decent job. Child care subsidies, like food stamps and utility services, only benefit the very poor, leaving the middle class to fend for themselves and while it is the responsibility of the individual to lie in the bed she makes, here’s the problem: 

If abortion were illegal, a woman might have a baby she can’t afford because she has to. Before the child can walk, he is removed from her custody and placed in foster care because the woman is financially unfit to provide. But foster care adds another set of hurdles the child has to jump since there is no guarantee he will be adopted, and even less a guarantee, he will find his way to an affluent home, filled with love and guidance, and not child neglect and/or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. He lives a life riddled with uncertainty, tossed from one home to the next, and learns to provide for himself the things many children have parents for. He has less room to succeed and much more room to fail and so finds a life of crime most comfortable and then one day, just after his 18th birthday, robs a liquor store and accidentally kills the clerk in the process. Sentenced to death row for murder, the feds say to his mother “You couldn’t kill him then, but we can kill him now.”

My date played devil’s advocate. Government can’t be responsible for everything. Folks should stop using their past as an excuse for their present. He’s grown now. Get over it.

I wasn’t arguing as much as I was thinking out loud. See I’m all for life and not death. I’m all for “a life begins at conception.” I’m all for that. I’m all for, God created life. We didn’t make it. We shouldn’t take it. I’m all for the idea that an unborn baby has rights too. But I’m also a Tupac fan and when he said “Since a man can’t make one, he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one,” I raised my hands and shouted Amen.

Unfortunately, much like Herman Cain, I don’t know where I stand on abortion, but I do know, if the Feds ban abortion, they have to make some other changes too. Like raising the income ceiling for federal subsidies and making access to affordable healthcare easier for low income households. They have to change the way the public school system is run and inform the masses who oppose tax payer funded abortions, that whether they are funding abortions, or funding welfare, they are funding something, and if it’s not the former, it’s more than likely the latter. Cases of rape and incest only complicate the matter further.

I’ve heard people say, a woman who aborts a child will never forget her decision, and must live with the stain that moment has imprinted on her life, but cannot that also be said of the woman forced to have a child she does not want? Is abortion wrong in the sight of God? Is it the unforgivable sin? Is it morally debilitating? Maybe. But at the end of the day, maybe it is also a decision we should leave between a woman and her own conscience. A choice between her and God.

The morning after our conversation, my date texted me. He said our conversation was unconventional, but I stimulated his mind and made him think about something he otherwise never might, and now knew more about me he otherwise never would. Then he proposed another date if, this time, I agreed to be easy. Dinner and a movie. I told him I liked comedies. He likes action. We settled on something in between, ordered popcorn, and shared a coke. Can’t get much easier than that.

Do you shy away from controversial conversation topics during dates?

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  • Jen

    Pro-lifers are batshit crazy. Nature spontaneously aborts 1/3rd of pregnancies anyway and sometimes they have to be done FOR THE SAFETY AND WELLBEING OF THE WOMAN. Ever heard of a D&C? Keep your archaic, anti-science views out of my womb, batshit crazy religious freaks. Thanks!