Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

When Enemies Find a Common Ground

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

When Enemies Find a Common Ground

Article excerpt

Andrew F. Puzder helped to write the Missouri law that (when it was upheld by the Supreme Court) gave states added authority to restrict abortions. This was the famous life-begins-at-conception legislation, basis of the landmark 1989 Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services case that came within an ace of overturning Roe vs. Wade.

B.J. Isaacson-Jones was the executive director of Reproductive Health Services.

So these two must be mortal enemies, right?

Try friends and co-authors. This unlikely pair - the militant pro-lifer and the committed pro-choicer - have just published a booklet, "Adoption as a Common Ground."

Both retain their fundamentally opposed views on abortion. But they never saw why those differences should keep them from looking for areas of agreement. They quickly found it.

"We both came to our positions with the same goal in mind - protecting women and children," says Puzder, a lawyer who has defended right-to-life demonstrators. "Although she is pro-choice, B.J. agrees with me that there are too many abortions. But people sometimes forget that if you're in dire economic straits, you may end up having an abortion simply because you can't afford to keep the child. One option that isn't as readily available as it should be is adoption."

Adds pro-choice Isaacson-Jones, now with the St. Louis Effort for AIDS: "Adoption is a choice, and to the extent that it is a viable choice, it expands options for pregnant women."

But hasn't adoption always been a choice? In one sense, of course it has. As these writers note, however, there are sometimes subtle pressures against it. Abortion-rights advocates may see too much emphasis on adoption as an attempt to undercut their issue. And pro-life advocates may say - in attitude if not quite in words: "My God, how could you give up your baby for adoption?" Says Puzder, who now practices law in Orange County, Calif., "We have to show that it's an honorable option deserving of the fullest respect and support. …

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