Can We Consider Abortion?

Jun 30, 2022

Photo Credit: Jackson Simmer via Unsplash

The word consider derives from Latin considerare, “to look at closely, observe.” Con means “with, together,” and sidus refers to “heavenly body, star constellation.” Observing the marvel of the stars with another is very different from engaging in conflict, “to contend, fight, or struggle.” Conflict summons rigid polarities: for or against, right or wrong, and winning or losing. Significant issues like abortion test our ability to tolerate ambiguity and anxiety without activating the polarizing defenses of judging, moralizing, or demonizing the other. Pregnancy, the archetype of potential life, carries profound emotions–and the shadow of what could be is limitation. Lack of internal or external resources limits our ability to birth many of life’s potentials. Bowing to life’s limitations also holds potential for conceiving new life.

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I am in a dressing room/anteroom getting ready for my wedding. My mother steps in and makes some critical remark to me…something along the lines of “you’re never ready on time” or “you always leave things for the last minute.” Then she exits, leaving me alone with my father. We are getting ready together for the wedding. I ask him what all the guests are going to do while they’re waiting for us, and he reassures me that the rabbi of my synagogue will keep everyone entertained while we get ready. I then hear the rabbi leading all the guests in Jewish songs from outside. Back in the dressing room, my father and I are putting on tuxedos. I take out a box of studs for the tuxedo shirt and lay them out across some kind of table with a soft surface (like a little bed or mattress). The golden studs are spread out across this surface, and I begin to sift through them, but I’m unable to distinguish which studs belong to me and which ones belong to my father — they look identical. I examine them in the palm of my hand and grow frustrated, being unable to pick out which one is which. Then I realize that I am not clean-shaven — I have the same stubble that I currently have in my waking life — and grow even more frustrated, feeling a sense that my parents never leave me enough time to get the things done that I need to get done. Then I wake up, asking myself: Why am I blaming my parents for my own time management problems?”


Katie Watson. Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law and Politics of Ordinary Abortion. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0190051728/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_3Q7EQVAVDHD0P85C2ZZ4

Jonathan Haidt. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0307455777/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_G79D9A2H4D384SDT8QVA

Daniel K. Williams. Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0190053321/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_R1DFMY0C5YZW30F4W4T9

Sarah Hrdy. Maternal Instincts & How They shape the Human Species. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0345408934/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_J5M6DPS90SQ71WHWAGXC

Diana Greene Foster. The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, A Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having—or Being Denied—An Abortion. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1982141573/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_B8F181E6ZEZTVDRDCG7H

Edward Edinger. Ego & Archetype. https://www.amazon.com/dp/087773576X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_BY4RK04790ZKXVHPMVV7


Become our patron: https://www.patreon.com/ThisJungianLife


Learn to Analyze your own Dreams: https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/


  1. Chris

    Hi Deb, Lisa, and Joseph,

    Thanks for this latest offering. I find that I have several questions. I believe that you mention empathy in this episode. I have found with loved ones when posing the question “Can we consider [fill in the blank here with: abortion, political divisions, religious differences, leadership today, etc.]?” I literally have been on the receiving end of the following answers: “We don’t do empathy.” And “Feelings aren’t as important as principles or truths.” Certainly, I am sitting across from fundamentalists of a certain stripe in these situations and harbor no illusions of convincing them of the value of ambivalence, a central theme to this latest episode. My questions: If you haven’t done any podcast episodes on empathy and fundamentalism, might you do so? I especially make this same request for the theme of forgiveness. I find that I am having a very difficult time forgiving these self-identifying Christians not only for their choices that affect so many people but their refusal to act toward me, others, and the Earth in what I believe to be a loving, empathic Christ-like way, (i.e., an openness to dialogue, humility, selflessness, reverence for all of Creation, and so on). And is forgiveness the same as radical acceptance? Finally, if you could add a search window to your website so that we might search the podcast episodes for such themes, that would be wonderful.

    Thanks again,


    • Joseph Lee

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Cultivating empathy and dealing with its absence is a substantial issue – I’ll bring this up as a possible topic.

      If you navigate to our podcast page, https://thisjungianlife.com/podcast/, and scroll down a bit, the search box is on the right.

      ~ Joseph

      • Chris

        Thanks for you reply Joseph. I for one hope you have an episode on this theme of empathy and/or forgiveness. (Heck, it could be entitled “Why should we consider being considerate?”). Also, I did locate the search window but every time I did a search I received the same response: “THIS PAGE IS FOR DREAM SCHOOL MEMBERS ONLY.’


        • Chris

          P.S. In addition to forgiveness I earlier mentioned the term radical acceptance. A related quality or attitude so important right now and yet so elusive for so many of us is grace. Again, I would love to hear what you three have to say about how we go about holding the tension of opposites as gracefully as possible so as to not get lost in what James Hollis calls the swamplands of the soul. So difficult!

        • Mamie Allegretti

          If you click on “Stitcher, ” all of the episodes are listed by title and easy to scroll through.

  2. Martha Peacock

    Your podcast on abortion was informative and timely. Thank you for the offering. I was particularly grabbed by the quote Lisa read from Marion Woodman. Would you be willing to share the source from which it came?

    In gratitude,


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *