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Lisa Earle McLeod Headshot

Why Both Sides of the Abortion Debate Are Right, And Wrong

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I'm tired of all the fighting

I'm tired of warring religious groups trying to kill each other in the name of God.

I'm tired of pandering politicians who think we're too stupid to understand anything more complex than a good versus evil debate.

But mostly, I'm tired of watching people spend so much time enforcing and defending their own truths, that they become blind to any reality except their own.

So I'm introducing a new model: The Triangle of Truth®. It's a way to solve seemingly unsolvable problems without resorting to guns, lawyers or, let's just call it like it is, polarizing stupidity.

It builds on a tradition of higher-level thinking that's been utilized by great leaders from Buddha to Steven Covey, and it's a way for us to take a fresh look at everything from business problems to the abortion debate.

Yes, I said the A word. I know this is dicey territory, but take a deep breath and hang with me for a minute.

You know the arguments. Netted out, one side believes that abortion is morally and spiritually wrong; while the other side thinks that no woman should be forced to have a baby that she doesn't want.

Traditional problem solving suggests compromise, but this issue doesn't lend itself to finding a middle ground. Yet, despite the seemingly black and white nature of the debate, most of us actually do have mixed feelings about this.

You can be as pro-choice as Gloria Steinem. But if you've given birth yourself, you can't deny the absolute sacredness of the experience.

And while you might be morally opposed to abortion, if your teen daughter - or your son's girlfriend - shows up PG the week before they leave for Harvard, there's probably part of you that wishes it would just go away.

So how do we solve it? That's where The Triangle of Truth® comes in. The current argument is like a straight line, with one side on the right, the other side on the left, and neither wanting to move towards the middle.

But try picturing it like a triangle. Instead of pushing and pulling along the base, both sides direct their energy towards creating a higher level solution at the top the pinnacle. A solution that doesn't dilute or compromise the truth of either side, but is in fact built upon it. In this case, It's a yet-to-be-discovered-solution, but it's a solution we can't find until we open our minds enough to consider new possibilities.

Look, I'm the mother of two daughters and I don't claim any moral authority on this. I have no idea what I'd do if one of my girls came home pregnant. But I do know that there's an element of truth to what both sides are saying. And that we're not going to come up with a more creative solution until we redirect our energy away from this either/or debate.

Albert Einstein said, "The problems that exist today cannot be solved with the level of thinking that created them."

We need to stop fighting over the middle ground and start seeking a higher ground.

When John F. Kennedy threw down the gauntlet and said we were going to put a man on the moon, we didn't know exactly how it was going to happen. But when you put the best minds in the world on a project, they find a way to chart a new frontier.

So here's what I want. I want the next President of the United States to bring together the scientists, the spiritual leaders, the social workers, and the teen moms, and to issue them this challenge: no more abortions and no more unwanted pregnancies. Fix this problem by 2012 and failure is not an option.

I suspect that a hundred years from now people will look back on us as barbarians. "Can you believe they actually had abortions?" they'll say. "And some women had babies when they weren't ready."

"God, they were so primitive, can you believe they didn't know how to go into the vapor lock and program your mind and spirit for how many kids you want? They sure were weird back then."

There's a solution out there, one that honors the truths of both science and spirituality. We might not know what it is yet, but remember 110 years ago people didn't believe we could fly.

Abortion is only an either/or debate if we make it one. Personally I think it's time for us to look up from all the fighting and start searching for a better answer.

So what do you say Mr. President? Are you willing to go out on a limb and challenge your people to solve this problem?

Lisa Earle McLeod is a syndicated columnist, keynote speaker and the author of Forget Perfect and Finding Grace When You Can't Even Find Clean Underwear.