Neither Side Is Ready to Bridge the Abortion Gap | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Rakim Brooks during a Newsweek episode of The Debate about bridging the abortion divide. You can listen to the podcast here:

Emotions will be fraught, and like any difficult conversation, I'm not sure sides that disagree with one another will be ready to talk immediately. One of the questions we'll have to ask ourselves, frankly, is whether or not our state representatives and government are capable of having these conversations. The citizenry will naturally begin to have those conversations, but will it just be a case of power politics — where Republican majorities in certain states say "the conversation is over, we are ending abortion," and in Democratic states, you have a similar conversation: "We say the conversation is over. We are allowing abortion."

Abortion Rights protest
A new poll found that support for abortion rights in the U.S. has reached a record high. Here, activists participate in the Women's March Foundation's protest for abortion rights at Los Angeles City Hall on May 14, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Sarah Morris/Getty Images

My hope would be that we would allow for some time to pass before we change the regimes. That hope will not go met, I know. But that has to be the approach, to try our best to talk to one another about what our interests are. My grandmother, when she passed away, was on a ventilator. She'd had a stroke. And in this case, the state said that I could decide whether or not to take her off that ventilator or to allow her to live, telling me that there was little chance that she would come back from the stroke. If the state interfered and said, "we're keeping her on the ventilator and you have to continue to monitor her. You don't get to decide that you're taking her off the ventilator, thus ending her life with certainty," that would've upset me. It would've upset me quite dramatically. And that's what I try to convey to people in a different context with regard to abortion.

Rakim Brooks is president of the Alliance for Justice Action Campaign.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.