Via and I wasted all that birth control, I found this truly thoughtful discussion at Arwen/Elizabeth's site about a key question behind the abortion debate, namely when does a fetus become a human being with rights of its own. I'm not sure anyone's opinion was changed, but people were listening, not shouting past each other. (And Cecily is one of the world's classiest people.)
I was particularly intrigued by the comments that some people made about how their positions on this issue were affected by their experiences of pregnancy. I found that having my children made both the reality of the potential life growing within and the horror of forcing a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy more vivid to me. It didn't change my position on what I think the laws should be, however.
The NYTimes today has an article on how pro-life counseling centers are buying ultrasound machines to use to convince women not to have abortions. I know such centers sometimes (often?) get women in under false pretenses and put a lot of pressure on them. But, if you're going to trust women to make these decisions, I don't think it's right to protect them from reminders of the potential for life. (Although personally, I couldn't see a thing on any of my sonograms; the simple heartbeat was much more impressive to me.)
Hugo Schwyzer has an interesting post this week on what it means to be male, pro-feminist, and pro-life. He concludes that his most important work is in the area of changing men's attitudes and of supporting male responsibility.
The Nation had a powerful piece a couple of weeks ago on how Mississippi laws have made abortion "out of reach, buried under state laws that make the process unnecessarily difficult, discouraged by a sense of shame enforced by practically every public authority, and inaccessible for many who lack money to pay for it." This is clearly the strategy being used in Virginia as well. Unfortunately, this approach makes the sort of honest back and forth discussed above almost impossible.