(Added September 2016)
I originally wrote this in July of 2015. Out of everything I have ever posted, this most definitely got the biggest response. I would say about 60-75% of the response was positive, but I also got a ton of backlash and criticism from pro-lifers. Like most people, I stupidly concentrated on the negative responses. My mistake. Even still, there has always been a part of me that wanted to go back and rewrite parts of this. I think a lot of people misunderstood what I was trying to say. Maybe I didn’t explain myself as well as I could have or maybe my intentions weren’t very clear. Maybe some people just enjoy being offended and disagreeable. Who knows. Either way, after giving it a lot of thought, I decided not to change a thing. Sometimes it’s good to upset people.
However, I do want to clarify a few issues. There are a couple things that I don’t want anyone to ever misunderstand about me. In the introduction, I should have made it as transparent as possible that I am 100% no exceptions PRO-LIFE. I have also been a part of the Catholic Church since Easter 2012. Additionally, I can admit that I might have come off a bit boastful about my time spent around the abortion industry. That was not my intent. All I wanted to do was set a precedent that I have spent a lot of time around pro-aborts. I got to know a lot of people that support abortion during that time. In fact, these were some of my wife’s best friends and a huge part of our social circle. I am neither proud or ashamed of that time. It happened and there is nothing I can do about it. So this is me sharing my experiences, what I’ve learned from them, and how I am moving forward.
If you have been pro-life your entire life, this might be a little difficult to understand, but I think it needs to be discussed. And for some of you, this post may be uncomfortable because sometimes we want to believe the very worst about people we disagree with. But believe it or not, most pro-choicers support abortion for reasons they believe to be compassionate…compassionate towards the woman and the child. They believe that every child should be wanted. Nobody wants to see children born into abusive situations. Nobody wants a woman to feel stuck. It doesn’t matter if you think their stance or feelings are misguided or that they are blind to the truth. What matters is that their feelings and desire to be compassionate are genuine, and frankly, they deserve to be heard.
My wife spent 8 years in the abortion industry. We have been married for almost 10 years now, and I spent the first five years of our marriage supporting a woman that proudly waved the biggest and boldest pro-choice flag out there. Although I did not like abortion, I was still with her every step of the way until the day she had her conversion to being pro-life. Why? Because I loved her. Because I loved her passion. Because I loved that she truly believed what she was doing what was right. I spent several years arm in arm with Abby attending fundraisers, rallies, and events with a lot of people who supported a woman’s right to an abortion. It is safe to say you tend to gain a lot of insight about abortion clinic workers and other pro-choicers when you spend a significant amount of time breaking bread with them. (And sleeping next to one of them).
There are so many common misconceptions, ideas, and stereotypes that many pro-lifers have about the other side. I think it is all too easy to hate the person standing in front of us that boldly represents what we as pro-lifers are working against. I am not sure what image comes up in your head when you think about pro-choicers and abortion supporters. You might think unhappy, dark, hates children, promiscuous, ignorant, angry, hurt, super liberal…the list goes on. I am here to tell you, for the most part, you might be wrong.
1. Pro-choicers have kids, they love their kids, and they like other people’s kids.
For the most part, people who support abortion are not rejoicing in the right to kill babies. They are not sitting around talking about how much they hate pregnant women and how they should all abort their children. When Abby was pregnant, they gave her a baby shower at the Planned Parenthood clinic. (I know there is some irony in that). Most of the women who came in for abortions already had kids. Some of them brought their children to their abortion appointment. They felt like they were doing the very best and most compassionate thing for their current baby in the womb. I know that may seem hard to understand, but when you are living in that world, it makes sense. We all justify our own poor decisions everyday. The same way you do it is the same way they do it. When you meet someone that doesn’t like or want kids, it’s usually a personality thing, not a pro-choice thing.
2. They know they are right the same way you know that you are right.
There were so many times Abby would complain about the protesters outside her Planned Parenthood clinic. She would gripe that they should find something better to do. “How can they be so callous towards women? How could they not care about a woman’s reproductive rights?” I would usually just remind her, they are out there because they are just as passionate about saving babies as you are about helping women obtain abortions. Just like we KNOW as pro-lifers that we are 100% correct on the subject, Abby used to KNOW that supporting a woman’s right to abortion was absolutely the right thing to do. And she was supported by her friends, the women she worked with and even our church.
3. They are articulate, well educated, and smart people.
I get tired of pro-lifers that think you have to be ignorant or stupid to be pro-choice. It’s just ridiculous. The truth is that there plenty of very smart people that support a woman’s right to abortion. I went to a lot of meetings, talks, small gatherings, fundraisers, and other events with Abby when she was with Planned Parenthood. Every time, the majority of them were doctors, lawyers, college professors, and well known professionals. If you think you can’t be argued under the table by a pro-choicer just because you know deep in your heart you are right, you are dead wrong. When you decide to take on a stranger on the subject of abortion, make sure you are on your A-game and assume they are pretty intelligent. Don’t just go in with Bible verses. In fact, they might find a way to use that against you. Make sure you are well versed in science and medicine. Make sure you use sound logic in your argument. Otherwise, you could easily be embarrassed.
4. Not every abortion supporter would choose abortion for themselves.
“I wouldn’t have an abortion, but I am not going to stop a woman from getting one if she needs it.” Many prochoice women will tell you that they would never have an abortion. It’s not about them having an abortion or having the option, it’s because they don’t want to take away the option from other women. They feel like taking away the right to abortion would lack compassion. They also really hold on to the idea that “every child should be a wanted child.”
5. Pro-choicers go to church.
Not only do they go to church, but Abby truly believed she was doing what God wanted her to be doing when she was with Planned Parenthood. Dr. Tiller was killed while attending church. Abby can tell many stories about women who wanted to pray while on the table about to get an abortion. Sometimes, she would recognize women that would come in to Planned Parenthood, because they attended the large Baptist church where we taught Sunday School. Some of the people she worked with attended church regularly. Remember that sometimes we think we are hearing God’s voice, but it may not be Him at all. There have been people who are anti-abortion who say that “God told them to kill an abortion doctor.” Or maybe that “God told them to blow up an abortion clinic.” But if we know the person of God, we know that He would never instruct us to harm others. I suspect that when Abby thought God was blessing her work and telling her to keep doing what she was doing, it wasn’t God’s voice she was hearing.
Yes, there are some pro-choicers that have malicious intent in their heart, but that group is a small number. The majority of people that are pro-choice believe their intentions are good. I think most of the time, people on both sides of the argument want what’s best for everyone. When we work towards to understanding each other better and look at what our intentions are, we might be able to move towards the right solution. So, let’s get to know each other a little first. Remember, I was pro-life minded and married a pro-choice woman. In other words, we can get along. We have things in common. Yes, this is a fight, but an opportunity to minister and change hearts and minds as well. If anything, I hope this gives you reason to want to pray a little harder a love a little more.