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Rethinking the abortion debate: reflection and activities

Michele Frankeni  |  13 June 2018

Abortion Rethink signs on FenceRead the article Rethinking the abortion debate in the 2018 Winter edition of Australian Catholics and take part in the various activities and reflections. Because of the nature of this issue we suggest it should be used with older students only.

Share your answers in pairs, groups or with the class.

Reflection questions

1. What is the aim of Abortion Rethink?

2. Why is Catherine convinced constructive conversation is needed?

3. What is the 'real choice' that Catherine advocates?

4. What do you think the challenges are for those who are pregnant and for parents of young babies?

5. What support do you think they need? 


1. Listening with respect

Abortion Rethink wants to promote a real conversation between different viewpoints. They argue that this begins with listening to each other with respect. 

As a class come up with a list of topics where two people might have conflicting views. It could be anything from ‘If you have a good imagination, you don’t need books’ to the ‘DC Universe is better than the Marvel Universe’ or ‘The greatest football player of all time is . . . ‘

Divide into pairs with one person coming up with a list of the pros and the other a list of the cons. Face each other and make your arguments at the same time. Notice how difficult it is to hear each other. Did the other person change your mind? Give you something else to think about? How did the discussion make you feel?

Now choose a different topic and try the exercise again, but this time each person presents one argument at a time, taking it in turns to speak. Before you reply, have you really heard what the speaker said? Rather than disagreeing for the sake of it and read from your list, is there a reply you can make that respects the argument but does not compromise your values? What comes out in the conversation?

After completing the exercises, write down your ideas for how we might better tackle hot button issues in our society. 

2. Building bridges

Research an organisation that aims to build bridges between people with different viewpoints. You could choose Abortion Rethink, or another organisation such as Better Angels, which aims to bring together different sides of politics to talk to each other. What are the organisation's founding principles? How does it go about bringing together different viewpoints? Finally - do you think it's a successful model? Why/why not?

3. Consistent ethic of life

Research the basis of the Church's teaching on abortion.

How is the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion part of a 'consistent ethic of life'? How would you communicate that idea to people who aren't familiar with Catholic teaching? Write a Letter to the Editor outlining why a 'consistent ethic of life' might be of value to all people in today's society. 




Topic tags: familylife, valuesandmoraldecision-making, catholicsocialteaching

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