Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • It was the middle of summer and well past closing time in the downtown Berkeley bar where my friend Polly and I worked together as bartenders.

  • Usually at the end of our shift we had a drink -- but not that night.

  • "I'm pregnant.

  • Not sure what I'm going to do yet," I told Polly.

  • Without hesitation, she replied, "I've had an abortion."

  • Before Polly, no one had ever told me that she'd had an abortion.

  • I'd graduated from college just a few months earlier

  • and I was in a new relationship when I found out that I was pregnant.

  • When I thought about my choices, I honestly did not know how to decide,

  • what criteria I should use.

  • How would I know what the right decision was?

  • I worried that I would regret an abortion later.

  • Coming of age on the beaches of Southern California,

  • I grew up in the middle of our nation's abortion wars.

  • I was born in a trailer on the third anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

  • Our community was surfing Christians.

  • We cared about God, the less fortunate, and the ocean.

  • Everyone was pro-life.

  • As a kid, the idea of abortion made me so sad that I knew if I ever got pregnant

  • I could never have one.

  • And then I did.

  • It was a step towards the unknown.

  • But Polly had given me a very special gift:

  • the knowledge that I wasn't alone

  • and the realization that abortion was something that we can talk about.

  • Abortion is common.

  • According to the Guttmacher Institute, one in three women in America

  • will have an abortion in their lifetime.

  • But for the last few decades, the dialogue around abortion in the United States

  • has left little room for anything beyond pro-life and pro-choice.

  • It's political and polarizing.

  • But as much as abortion is hotly debated, it's still rare for us,

  • whether as fellow women or even just as fellow people,

  • to talk with one another about the abortions that we have.

  • There is a gap.

  • Between what happens in politics and what happens in real life,

  • and in that gap, a battlefield mentality.

  • An "are you with us or against us?" stance takes root.

  • This isn't just about abortion.

  • There are so many important issues that we can't talk about.

  • And so finding ways to shift the conflict to a place of conversation

  • is the work of my life.

  • There are two main ways to get started.

  • One way is to listen closely.

  • And the other way is to share stories.

  • So, 15 years ago, I cofounded an organization called Exhale

  • to start listening to people who have had abortions.

  • The first thing we did was create a talk-line, where women and men

  • could call to get emotional support.

  • Free of judgment and politics, believe it or not, nothing like our service

  • had ever existed.

  • We needed a new framework that could hold all the experiences that we were

  • hearing on our talk-line.

  • The feminist who regrets her abortion.

  • The Catholic who is grateful for hers.

  • The personal experiences that weren't fitting neatly into one box or the other.

  • We didn't think it was right to ask women to pick a side.

  • We wanted to show them that the whole world was on their side,

  • as they were going through this deeply personal experience.

  • So we invented "pro-voice."

  • Beyond abortion, pro-voice works on hard issues that we've struggled with globally

  • for years,

  • issues like immigration, religious tolerance, violence against women.

  • It also works on deeply personal topics that might only matter to you

  • and your immediate family and friends.

  • They have a terminal illness, their mother just died,

  • they have a child with special needs and they can't talk about it.

  • Listening and storytelling are the hallmarks of pro-voice practice.

  • Listening and storytelling.

  • That sounds pretty nice.

  • Sounds maybe, easy? We could all do that.

  • It's not easy. It's very hard.

  • Pro-voice is hard because we are talking about things everyone's fighting about

  • or the things that no one wants to talk about.

  • I wish I could tell you that when you decide to be pro-voice, that you'll find

  • beautiful moments of breakthrough and gardens full of flowers,

  • where listening and storytelling creates wonderful "a-ha" moments.

  • I wish I could tell you that there would be a feminist welcoming party for you,

  • or that there's a long-lost sisterhood of people who are just ready

  • to have your back when you get slammed.

  • But it can be vulnerable and exhausting to tell our own stories

  • when it feels like nobody cares.

  • And if we truly listen to one another,

  • we will hear things that demand that we shift our own perceptions.

  • There is no perfect time and there is no perfect place

  • to start a difficult conversation.

  • There's never a time when everyone will be on the same page, share the same lens,

  • or know the same history.

  • So, let's talk about listening and how to be a good listener.

  • There's lots of ways to be a good listener and I'm going to give you just a couple.

  • One is to ask open-ended questions.

  • You can ask yourself or someone that you know,

  • "How are you feeling?"

  • "What was that like?"

  • "What do you hope for, now?"

  • Another way to be a good listener is to use reflective language.

  • If someone is talking about their own personal experience,

  • use the words that they use.

  • If someone is talking about an abortion and they say the word "baby,"

  • you can say "baby."

  • If they say "fetus," you can say "fetus."

  • If someone describes themselves as gender queer to you,

  • you can say "gender queer."

  • If someone kind of looks like a he, but they say they're a she -- it's cool.

  • Call that person a she.

  • When we reflect the language of the person who is sharing their own story,

  • we are conveying that we are interested in understanding who they are

  • and what they're going through.

  • The same way that we hope people are interested in knowing us.

  • So, I'll never forget being in one of the Exhale counselor meetings,

  • listening to a volunteer talk about how she was getting a lot of calls

  • from Christian women who were talking about God.

  • Now, some of our volunteers are religious, but this particular one was not.

  • At first, it felt a little weird for her to talk to callers about God.

  • So, she decided to get comfortable.

  • And she stood in front of her mirror at home, and she said the word "God."

  • "God."

  • "God."

  • "God."

  • "God."

  • "God."

  • "God."

  • Over and over and over again

  • until the word no longer felt strange coming out her mouth.

  • Saying the word God did not turn this volunteer into a Christian,

  • but it did make her a much better listener of Christian women.

  • So, another way to be pro-voice is to share stories,

  • and one risk that you take on, when you share your story with someone else,

  • is that given the same set of circumstances as you

  • they might actually make a different decision.

  • For example, if you're telling a story about your abortion,

  • realize that she might have had the baby.

  • She might have placed for adoption.

  • She might have told her parents and her partner -- or not.

  • She might have felt relief and confidence, even though you felt sad and lost.

  • This is okay.

  • Empathy gets created the moment we imagine ourselves in someone else's shoes.

  • It doesn't mean we all have to end up in the same place.

  • It's not agreement, it's not sameness that pro-voice is after.

  • It creates a culture and a society that values what make us special and unique.

  • It values what makes us human, our flaws and our imperfections.

  • And this way of thinking allows us to see our differences with respect,

  • instead of fear.

  • And it generates the empathy that we need

  • to overcome all the ways that we try to hurt one another.

  • Stigma, shame, prejudice, discrimination, oppression.

  • Pro-voice is contagious, and the more it's practiced

  • the more it spreads.

  • So, last year I was pregnant again.

  • This time I was looking forward to the birth of my son.

  • And while pregnant, I had never been asked how I was feeling so much in all my life.

  • (Laughter)

  • And however I replied, whether I was feeling wonderful and excited

  • or scared and totally freaked out,

  • there was always someone there giving me a "been there" response.

  • It was awesome.

  • It was a welcome, yet dramatic departure from what I experience

  • when I talk about my mixed feelings of my abortion.

  • Pro-voice is about the real stories of real people

  • making an impact on the way abortion

  • and so many other politicized and stigmatized issues

  • are understood and discussed.

  • From sexuality and mental health to poverty and incarceration.

  • Far beyond definition as single right or wrong decisions,

  • our experiences can exist on a spectrum.

  • Pro-voice focuses that conversation on human experience

  • and it makes support and respect possible for all.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

It was the middle of summer and well past closing time in the downtown Berkeley bar where my friend Polly and I worked together as bartenders.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US TED abortion pro god god voice god

【TED】Aspen Baker: A better way to talk about abortion (Aspen Baker: A better way to talk about abortion)

  • 10021 616
    CUChou posted on 2015/09/23
Video vocabulary