Pro-life and pro-choice groups disagree vehemently about almost everything - except that abortion is not the way to solve problems with unwanted pregnancy.
That surprising agreement may be the most overlooked aspect of debate among the legions of protesters that have descended on Washington as the U.S. Supreme Court is considering another abortion case, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services.Discussion of that agreement has been buried by hoopla about what celebrity favors which side, who has the most supporters at marches and whether women's privacy or the rights of the unborn should be the central issue of concern in abortion law.
But both sides' visions of the perfect world, according to their top leaders, would not have abortion in it to solve unwanted pregnancies. But they say that for quite different reasons.
That isn't surprising coming from pro-life groups. Many believe abortion should not be allowed in any circumstance, except maybe when the life of the mother is in clear or extreme danger.
They feel fetuses are human life - especially when ultrasound pictures show them swimming, their hearts beating, and even sucking thumbs at ages when they could be legally aborted in many states. They feel fetuses deserve as much protection as any other human life.
Those groups have even attacked such people as Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, for taking what they considered a weak stance when he said he opposed abortion except in cases where "the health" of the mother is threatened.
Meanwhile, on the other side, pro-choice groups argue that the decision of whether to have an abortion is a matter of privacy that should be left to the woman involved, not government. But they also say too many abortions are being performed - and that abortion is improperly becoming a form of contraception.
National Abortion Rights Action League Executive Director Kate Michelman told the Deseret News recently that is "a tragedy." She said she would much prefer better methods of contraception be used to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place.
However, she said, until that occurs, groups such as hers feel abortion should be preserved as an option to end troubled pregnancies.
Of note, most pro-life groups also argue that unwanted pregnancies should be prevented before the fact - but more through chastity and "just saying no" to illicit sex.
Ironically, if Americans would listen to either side and act accordingly, maybe most of the 1.5 million abortions a year in America could be avoided - and the need for the emotional debate about abortion reduced or eliminated.
Instead, the legal and political battles of whether abortion should be allowed will likely continue for years, no matter what the Supreme Court decides this year. Even if the court overturned previous rulings, the matter would likely return to states or Congress to debate and redraw laws.
And if the court does not reverse itself or just simply chips away at abortion rights, the debate may go to Congress and the states anyway. Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, has had a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Constitution pending before Congress since 1974. And if at least 34 states petition Congress, states could form a constitutional convention to write their own such amendment.
So the debate will rage - even though both sides will also likely continue to say abortion is not ideal and should be avoided by taking whatever steps are necessary.