NEW YORK, April 7, 2016 — On a quiet afternoon my GPS crossed the locations for a Krispy Kreme burger and a Planned Parenthood clinic. As I ducked into a parking lot for what I hoped would be a non-controversial, if not questionable, culinary experience I encountered protesters lining both sides of the building that Google Maps had directed me to.
On one side, people were demanding a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body. On the other side, people were demanding the protection of unborn children.
Weaving between both groups left little wiggle room. Passions ran deep. Avoiding gazes, I walked into the building and took the elevator to the third floor.
This was not a Krispy Kreme; it was a Planned Parenthood clinic in the heart of Texas.
The woman behind the counter was calm as I explained my situation. As a male, I never thought I would ever need help from Planned Parenthood. I stopped there as they were the only building in the area to which I had been directed.
I nervously asked for her assistance.
“My name is Eric. I am an out-of-towner who is completely lost. I am supposed to meet a friend of mine at a special hamburger place. It is the one where the bun of the burger is replaced with a Krispy Kreme Donut.”
She knew exactly where the place was, noting that for some reason GPS trackers caused people to go one block in the wrong direction. Say whatever you want about Planned Parenthood, but they did an excellent job giving directions.
Trying to leave the Planned Parenthood clinic and get to my car was pure hell. Protesters on both sides clawed at me, determined to sway me to their side. That is when I got dragged into the culture wars. It was time to take an abortion stand.
“Look, I’m not pro-choice. I’m not pro-life. I’m pro-hamburger! Now leave me alone and stop messing up my dinner plans!”
It is difficult to offend everybody on the entire abortion spectrum, but abortion activists even have a way of turning Donald Trump into a sympathetic figure. His campaign for the Republican presidential nomination ran into turbulence when he gave five different answers to what he would do regarding abortion in America.
The reason he stumbled is that politicians do not have the luxury of private citizens. They have to feign passion and lose the right to just be left alone.
At the risk of injecting myself into Trump’s head, I can guess what he was thinking.
“Why are we talking about this? I don’t care. It’s not my issue. Let’s talk about other issues.”
Politicians are required to care about abortion. Many of them deeply care. What they fail to understand is that many Americans do not care. Activists on both sides have repeatedly tried to find out where I stood on the issue.
I have given various answers, each one snarkier than the previous response.
“If the child grows up, at age 18 will it vote to raise or lower my taxes? Anyone raising my taxes should not be born.”
“If the parents are conservatives, preaching the pro-life message is fine. If the parents are liberals, I will drive them to the abortion clinic myself.”
Abortion activists find those responses offensive. I find it offensive to be forced to talk about a topic I have never cared about. Maybe I should care, but I don’t.
Some days I just want to be left alone to enjoy a ballgame, a soda and, yes, a really good hamburger with a Krispy Kreme donut as a bun.
Rabid pro-lifers push me toward the pro-choice position. Zealots advocating the pro-choice side push me in the direction of the pro-life view. Both sides have far too many obnoxious supporters who refuse to listen when a man screams that he does not care.
Effective advocates do not tell others what they should care about. They ask people what they care about. Supply-side tax cuts and a neocon foreign policy interest me. Abortion is for others to fight about.
The issue of when life begins is a deep matter that may never be resolved. Good people exist on both sides of the debate. So do terribly annoying people who give the good people a bad name. Roe vs. Wade resolved nothing. Arguing about an unresolved issue in front of those wanting to be left alone resolves less than nothing.
There are not just two sides of pro-choice and pro-life. There is a third group of people who are passionately disinterested in the issue. Another splinter group are those who may care very deeply about the issue but also wish to keep their views private. I have an abortion position. It’s none of your business.
Donald Trump was not allowed to say that.
As a private citizen, I am. So to everybody fighting about abortion, go yell somewhere else.
To be clear, the Krispy Kreme burger was pure heaven, so pass the ketchup and the remote control. I have a ballgame and a hamburger to enjoy.