Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

Earlier this year, Eyal Rabinovitch wrote the paper: “Can Listening to Women Who Have Had Abortions Bring Peace to the Abortion Wars” which Exhale was proud to publish in May.  Heralded as “remarkable,” “ground-breaking,” and “a great idea,” Eyal explored the opportunities and challenges that a pro-voice approach brings to the abortion conflict.

For his New Thinking, Exhale is honored to present Eyal with a “Pro-Voice High-Five” on our 5th Anniversary of expanded service. I hope you enjoy my interview with Eyal where he shares his background in conflict transformation, how he came to write his paper, and his hopes for the possibility of peace through Pro-Voice.

Aspen: Tell me about your background in conflict transformation. (more…)


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Please join me in celebrating a very special anniversary.

2010 marks the 5th Anniversary of our talkline’s expansion from a limited Bay-Area, bilingual service into a national, multilingual one that is available every day!

It is with the help of people like you – our supporters – that, five years ago, we were able to respond to demand from women and men throughout the United States seeking a safe place to talk after an abortion.  I write to invite you to make a special gift to Exhale in commemoration of this significant time in our history.

We grow Exhale and our free programs in direct response to the needs of our callers.  Part of what motivates and inspires us as an organization is finding new ways to respond to our callers’ needs with fresh ideas and innovative projects that make our pro-voice mission real in their every day lives.  Listening carefully to our callers over the last five-years of national, multilingual service has led Exhale to:

  • Develop Post-Abortion E-Cards that help loved ones respectfully acknowledge the personal abortion experience of someone they care about.
  • Grow an Online Community that facilitates supportive connections among women who have had abortions.
  • Advocate for Social Science Research that deepens our understanding of the social and emotional experience of abortion.
  • Create Storytelling Forums that ensure personal abortion stories are heard with dignity and respect.
  • Provide Thought Leadership that offers our nation new opportunities to transform conflict and create abortion peace.

The reality is that at this exciting moment Exhale faces real challenges.  Our revenue from private foundations is down and our call volume is up. We are faced with the challenge of declining revenue and increasing demand.  Exhale is using this difficult financial time to be the organization we’ve always dreamed about becoming.  We are putting our organizational values and beliefs into practice and strengthening the culture (risk-taking, abundance, excellence) we have worked so hard to build.

Exhale is an organization of copious strengths and assets and with the generous contributions of people like you, we can leverage them in new, creative ways moving forward.  For every dollar Exhale receives as a donation, we turn it into $2.50 of volunteer service.  We more than double the value of your gift.  Over a third of our budget is contributed through the time our volunteers donate to our mission.

Please give generously today and help Exhale thrive for the next five.

We are so grateful for the support we have received since the day we first launched the talkline in 2002 and in the five years since we significantly expanded our service. We know that together with supporters like you we will thrive for the next five – and many more!  In commemoration of our 5th Anniversary of listening to women from around the country (and beyond), in multiple languages, every day of the week, I invite you to support Exhale by making a special donation today.

Our goal is to raise $15,000 by August 31st. Help us reach our goal and make a donation today!

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Learn about author Eyal Rabinovitch. Read what people are saying about the paper. Download the paper as a PDF: ExhalePeacePaperbyERabinovitch5-3-10.

Sections include:

  • Introduction and Overview
  • The Limits of an Interest-Based Common Ground: The fallacy of “both sides”  & The limits of “underlying interests”
  • From Resolution to Transformation: Cultivating Dignity Rather than Meeting Interests
  • Transforming the Abortion Conflict in America: Pro-Voice and More
  • Appendix: Learning from the Experience of Others


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Exhale published “Can Listening to Women Who Have Had Abortions Bring Peace to the Abortion Wars?” by Eyal Rabinovitch on May 3, 2010 to great acclaim.

Read what people are saying:

“Pro-Voice is one of the most remarkable conflict transformation programs I have read about for a long time.” – Michelle LeBaron, Professor of Law and Director of the Program on Dispute Resolution at the University of British Columbia

“Reading Eyal  Rabinovitch’s paper “Can Listening to Women Who Have Had Abortions Bring Peace to the Abortion Wars” was a poignant reminder of the healing that results from being heard. Exhale is a great example of the power just listening to women’s narratives can have to transform the way in which individuals see and understand themselves and the inner peace that can bring. Exhale now asks if there is a way that women talk about abortions can lead to a transformation in the way we all think about abortion and it is the early stages of what it calls a “pro-voice” campaign . It brings the same hopefulness and creativity to that effort that it brought to its first efforts to just create a safe space where women can be listened to. The public space into which such efforts must be brought is unfortunately neither safe nor quiet. It is filled with noise and harsh competing views. It is, however, the public square, that marketplace of ideas where those with hope and creativity come to be heard as well as to listen. If past experience is any indicator of future success, Exhale is likely to gather a large and appreciative following. – Frances Kissling, visiting scholar, Center for Bioethics, UPenn. Read Aspen Baker’s interview of Frances Kissling here.

“As a student and practitioner of the bridge-building arts, I’m grateful to Exhale for their scholarship and experience.  Transforming one of the most polarizing debates in our country into a process that generates wisdom for all is a truly ground-breaking achievement.  I applaud their efforts.” – Jonah Wittkamper, Director of Search for Common Ground – USA

“Stories of personal experience expand our minds and hearts, and we need this expanded thinking and feeling in order to handle powerful debates like abortion …Pro-Voice… has the potential to challenge the public debate and spur new conversation about abortion and about how our society should deal with it.” – Mary Jacksteit, Former Director, Common Ground Network for Life and Choice, Search for Common Ground. Read Mary’s review of the paper in her blog post here.

“To center women’s real abortion experiences in all their richness and complexity presents a huge departure for all sides in terms of how abortion is discussed and fought over in this country.  Specifically, it would catalyze change politically and culturally, as well as personally.” – Aimee Thorne-Thomsen, reproductive justice leader and blogger. Read Aimee’s review of the paper in her blog post here.

“It’s a great idea!” –  Paul Rogat Loeb, author of “Soul Of a Citizen: Living With Conviction In Challenging Times” and “The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear”

“I believe in the power of authentic stories and I want abortion peace so I am ready to be a part of the peace contingent. Many questions remain, such as how we get from where we are to where we want to be, and how we can lead our organizations as part of a growing peace contingent. With support and allies, I’m ready to take the necessary steps to start to answer these critical questions.” –  Miriam Yeung, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

“What pro-choicers can learn from the pro-voice movement is courage. We cannot let ourselves fall into the trap of arguing that women’s rights should depend on women’s conformity to a single worldview. Acknowledging the complexity of people’s direct experiences can go a long way to winning culture war battles. We’ve achieved peace, for instance, on the topic of divorce. And the reason we were able to do that is those who lived through divorce spoke about it in human, complex terms. We can bring that nuance to abortion, and we shouldn’t be afraid.” –  Amanda Marcotte blogs at Pandagon, RH Reality Check, and Double X

“It is through stories that we get to a change of heart… and [Pro-Voice] brings hope for abortion peace by offering a place for the stories to belong.  The stories belong to both sides, they belong to all of us, they are part of our community.  The stories hold the potential for peace, by listening at the very least we help people hear and at the very most, we are shifting the war on abortion.”-  Kris Miner, Executive Director, St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program. Read Kris’s review of the paper in her blog post here.

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Eyal Rabinovitch is a mediator, trainer, facilitator, and coach working with individuals, families, workplaces, and communities to transform conflict through direct, open, and empowered communication. Eyal has mediated dozens of conflicts between coworkers, youth, neighbors, business partners, family members, and criminal defendants and victims at the Safe Horizon Mediation Center in Brooklyn, where he serves on the organization’s Mediation Advisory Board. He has also consulted for non-profit organizations and leaders in planning public dialogues and programming on difficult topics, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and abortion in America. After completing his B.A. at Brown and Ph.D. in Sociology at UCLA, Eyal served as Assistant Professor from 2005-2008 at Wesleyan University and now teaches Conflict Resolution at CUNY’s Baruch College.

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Exhale has been honored to have Frances Kissling as a member of our National Advisory  Council for many years.  I have always admired her leadership, especially her tenacity and ability to get people talking and thinking about abortion in ways we’re not used to, at least publicly.  Eyal Rabinovitch and I were glad to have her early reading and input into his paper, “Can Listening to Women Who Have Had Abortions Bring Peace to the Abortion Wars?”  Ms. Kissling brings a wealth of experience and knowledge into the challenges and opportunities for listening around abortion and I was thrilled that she accepted my invitation for an interview to talk candidly about her experiences and the challenges she sees ahead.


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*Guest Post by Kris Miner

The St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice Program takes no stance on the issue of abortion and none should be implied.

The possibility of abortion peace.

The Exhale article highlights ‘peace’ as a state reached when we are able to engage in conflict without dehumanizing one another or ourselves, whether through violence or words (pg 19).  As a practitioner of Restorative Justice I can appreciate the conflict transformation paradigm that seeks to create humanity in conflict.  Restorative Justice brings those directly impacted by crime and conflict together to address what is needed to make things right.  Victims who hold a stake because they have been harmed, meet directly with the person who authored the harmful act.  These interactions are designed to be healing, offering an opportunity for storytelling.  Restorative justice changes behavior by a change of heart.  It is through stories that we get to a change of heart.


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