So, for a while now I’ve wanted to explain how I went from being extremely anti-abortion to being pro-choice. This took place gradually over years, and there were a lot of reasons for it, so I wasn’t quite sure how to start putting it together. So, I’m breaking it into smaller pieces. I’m not certain how many, really. As many as it takes.
The order won’t necessarily be sequential, either. This post, for example, talks about one of the last nails in the coffin of my pro-life-ness. I’d previously defined myself as pragmatically pro-life, basically acknowledging that a lot of women’s options as far as preventing pregnancy are crap, and as long as we’re going to teach abstinence only in schools, and have insurance companies cover viagra but not birth control pills, and do a crappy job of helping out people who can’t afford to raise a kid, having abortion be illegal would be complete BS.
A couple years ago, I started reading Shapely Prose. Not only did I learn about the revolutionary concept of fat acceptance, I also got an education in the basics of feminism. I had considered myself mostly a feminist before that, without knowing more than a rough summary of what that meant. And I usually caveated it with “not that I really count as a feminist, because I’m pro-life.”
Anyway, it was after I’d developed a major blog crush on Kate Harding that Dr. George Tiller was murdered. And I read about Operation Rescue’s comments, which can pretty much be summed up as callous and evil: We really hope this doesn’t negatively affect our ability to keep intimidating and harassing people. So…terrorism. You’re for it, then. Nice.
Between reading that, and reading these stories about the situations people are actually in when they have late-term abortions. This was a sad and scary revelation for me, because all I’d ever heard on this topic was the rhetoric around partial-birth abortion, nothing about the fact that it’s pretty much always done for major medical reasons, not somebody changing her mind at the last minute. In a lot of cases, these abortions are essentially taking a baby who isn’t going to survive off life-support, rather than condemning them to a short and excruciatingly painful life. That analogy brings up a whole host of other contentious subjects, but when the life support apparatus is a *person,* it should be her call.
Around the same time and from a lot of the same sources, I started reading about crisis pregnancy centers, and learning that they are often sources of misinformation and manipulation.
I went to an evangelical church since I was a teenager, and having heard that crisis pregnancy centers were there to help women in desperate and difficult situations. I remember thinking that they were a good thing, a “money where your mouth is” kind of pro-life stance that was actually compassionate and helpful.
So, between those two things, the realities of late-term abortion and the dishonesty used by crisis pregnancy centers, I felt betrayed in a pretty personal way. I thought about the change I’d collected in those little baby bottles for CareNet, in a program sponsored by my church, and I felt kind of ill.
I already had more than a little bit of cynicism toward the more fundamentalist parts of Christianity at that point. And I was familiar with the evil and vitriol spewed by guys like James Dobson and Jerry Falwell. So I suppose I shouldn’t have really been surprised that I’d been lied to, systematically and deliberately.
And as much as I felt used and betrayed, all I’d been conned out of was some spare change. How much worse for a pregnant woman who goes to a crisis pregnancy center who lies to her about the risks of abortion, or withholds her test results to make it harder for her to get one. Or promises support and provides help, right up until the point where she can’t abort, then tosses her out to fend for herself.