When you imagine someone standing up and speaking out against abortion, what comes to mind? Who comes to mind? Perhaps a priest praying in front of an abortion clinic. Perhaps you think of a lovely and modestly dressed woman, with clean skin, bare of body modifications and “normal” hair. When you equate this persons views in religion, do you think Christian? Perhaps the only question you’d be uncertain of is if they’re Catholic or Protestant. Either way, I imagine you picture them praying to God, asking for him to put an end to abortion.
In the 3 years I’ve been pro-life as well as open about being post-abortive, I really thought I understood division. I thought that I knew what it felt like to be judged and looked at differently because of something in my life that was not acceptable…my abortion. I believed I had felt the hurt that comes from within the community we call pro-life. A place of love, acceptance, and patience. Over the last 3 years I realized how twisted those words were. How separate so many in this movement are when it comes to interacting and talking about women who have aborted, whether they became pro-life or not. I thought that was the greatest extent of dismissal I would see. Then I became an atheist.
My healing from abortion came through my being vocal of it. Talking to the camera for all to see and creating a public Facebook page. I found myself breathing easier the more people asked me to tell my story and speak for them, no matter if it was to a stranger seeking advice, or a group asking me to share my story. I found peace in knowing many wanted to hear my experience. Then I became an atheist.
A question I’ve asked myself many times in these last 6 months after my “deconversion” is, how many people wanted to hear me speak, not for my words, but for my belief in a god. Their god, to be exact. Now you may think that sounds silly. I mean, we’re pro-life, we work together despite differences to put an end to abortion as we know it. To create a world where it is unthinkable. But there is a side to this movement we have yet to bring into the light. A side that is larger than we’d like to admit. The side that shuts out those of us who do not hold faith in a deity.
I did not have the ability to travel and tell my story, but I had enough to go to smaller events and places and share. There were some issues back then because of my acceptance of homosexuality, where people would think that because I thought gay marriage was okay I would begin saying, “gay sex is okay” in the middle of my abortion testimony in their church (and yes, I am very serious). That somehow this one difference in belief meant my regret wasn’t good enough. Now, as an atheist on top of it all, the want for me to speak outside of YouTube and my public page online has become null. It has dwindled to nothing. The thought of having a nonbeliever share their regret is just too much.
But truly, what does that tell us? What kind of message is that sending? Have an abortion testimony or even pro-life speech that may help some man, woman, or child, but are an atheist? Well, you’re not enough. It is telling the thousands of pro-life secularists that we don’t measure up to the stories of pro-choice to pro-life conversions and abortion regrets that those who hold this faith. I truly thought I understood what it was like to be pushed aside simply by being post-abortive, but not even that compares to the divide that has been created simply by being an atheist.
However, and I do feel it is appropriate to end this on a “however,” a light should always be shown on those within our movement that prove there is more than judgment or condemnation. It should always be addressed that while many may dismiss someone as a whole for holding other views, there will always be those who rise above the rest. If I could make a list and give the spotlight to each and every person who has shown love that we desperately need, I would. While the frustration and sometimes anger are there from being turned down do to my lack of faith, nothing lifts me up more than those who live their faith through their actions of love, acceptance, and community.
“Pitty a man in familiar places who yet feels like a stranger.
Peter Griffin on The Family Guy
Albany, her husband Royce, and their 3 beautiful children live in Northern Colorado. Albany is a stay at home mom, has a flair for the creative, and has an unending supply of hair dye to prove it. Her husband Royce is an aspiring musician that works full time in the oil industry. Abby and I met Albany through Facebook, and we have enjoyed her friendship for several years now. We have watched her go from staunch abortion supporter to full blown pro-lifer, start a family, and encourage nontraditional pro-lifers to become vocal in the pro-life movement. We love having Albany as a friend, not just because she’s a cool chick, but because she has a unique perspective that is unlike our own. Like everyone else in the Pro-life movement, Albany’s story is not finished being told. We are proud to stand by her in our unified effort to end abortion.