We asked, you answered: why did you convert from being pro-choice to pro-life?

Original FB post here. At the time I started organizing these answers, there were about 200 comments.

Many people became pro-life because of their own pregnancy experiences:

Sasja: I was pro choice, and even against the gestation of embryos that showed signs of hereditary diseases or birth defects … And then I fell in love when I first saw the beating heart of my 12 weeks into development unborn child—at that time nothing more than a blinking lo-res pixel on the ultrasound screen.

Myles: Having our first child and thinking we were going to lose him at one point during the pregnancy. Made it crystal clear.

Cassie: I was raised by a feminist mom to be pro-choice. I believed it was a “blob of tissue” until I was pregnant with my first child. When they handed me all the info on prenatal care and my “growing baby” I was like, “Wait what?” I pretty much changed my mind right then and there though it probably took me 3 or 4 more years to talk about my change of mind with friends and family.

Mandy: Seeing my 12 week old baby miscarriage.

Rachael: Pregnancy changed my mind. I had an unplanned pregnancy and I just felt different after that. It is hard to explain.
Heather: I was rather uncommitted either way, just not a problem I had to consider. Until I miscarried at 5 weeks. That was a life. I felt real loss, real grief. And the pro-abortion side tells me it’s just a clump of cells. It wasn’t. It mattered. It had meaning. I know that now.
Shayla:

I found myself getting pressured into abortions with both my kids by people in the healthcare and mental health services industry. Later on, I was told that I should have not even had kids if I had an intellectual disability. On top of that, my boyfriend wanted me to abort.

I made two appointments with PP who were actually fair saying I have to really want it. I dreamed my baby was being attacked by a large snake. I had to protect and defend my baby as her mother! That’s when I knew I wasn’t going through with it.

Things actually worked out for us. Section 8 gave us a home. When things went south with my relationships, there were shelters, I had a legal advocate and counselors, we always had enough food. Later on, we got a new apartment and thrived. Point being things were never as bad as things were painted.

I want to advocate for other women going through this. I want them to know the Truth that someone dies during an abortion and someone could be saved and things can turn out even when things are at their worst when they choose life!

Kathleen:

I think when I was very young I didn’t give it much thought. Then gradually as Roe v. Wade was passed I thought more about it and my understanding of how the baby developed brought me to be pro-life. Lastly becoming a mom cemented it in me. Especially mother of a baby who died at 22/3 weeks gestation.

I still can’t reconcile how people can be sympathetic to that sort of loss and yet still think abortion is okay. Yet I know pro-choice folks who were very appropriate to me at that time and later when I lost three grandbabies. How do they say “I understand your loss is painful” but at the same time say it’s okay to take the life of a baby in the uterus? Is a baby at that stage valuable in one circumstance but not the other?

Rhonda: I was one that said I wouldn’t do it unless there was an extreme abnormality, but then our first pregnancy ended up being a partial molar pregnancy. Our baby died at 15 weeks and I had to deliver him. Watching my husband hold our fully formed baby and confirm his gender at this early stage did it for me. Doctors tried to comfort me with the fact that if he had survived he would have had severe problems. But to me the pain and emptiness I was feeling was worse than anything else I could imagine. It’s been 20 years and I still grieve that loss. And for people to dismiss his humanity cuts right through me.

Whitney: Incredibly, I used to be pro-choice even though I was given up for adoption as a baby. I thought it wasn’t my business what other women did with their bodies. Changing my mind was a process. It started with seeing my daughter on an ultrasound. I knew then that I could never have an abortion and that she was a living person. It took years to break down the mental walls, though, before I became fully pro-life.
Phoebe: I was more of like its not my business, but I was not gonna go out and fight for choice either. Then I carried a child, a child I almost lost. I spent a week in a NICU and saw babies smaller than my hand. That was my turning point. A few years later I realized if I was pro-life I also needed to stop supporting the death penalty. That’s my evolution.
Lesli: I was because I was ignorant of how babies developed and what the procedure was actually like. Once I became pregnant, learned about fetal development and found out they have a heartbeat so early on my entire outlook on it changed. Then I read about the procedures themselves and became disgusted that I ever supported it.

Alexis: I’ve had two unplanned pregnancies. One when I was 17. Abortion was thrown around by others around me, but that wasn’t an option. I was determined to raise that baby. Unfortunately she didn’t survive and her heart stopped at 16 weeks. My second unplanned pregnancy was when I was 21. I JUST started my career as a paramedic and was not in a committed relationship. I had been on birth control since 18. Once again abortion was thrown around by others, and once again I wouldn’t hear it. My beautiful daughter is now 8 years old; my husband and I (her father) have two more children together. We chose life with the odds stacked against us, and we are thriving. Not all stories are like mine. All these babies have a purpose and it is not right to kill them. Abortion is legalized genocide.

Karen: I was. I saw my child on ultrasound and realized she was a child. I expected to see a blob, not a baby sucking her thumb, at 20 weeks gestation. I knew then I’d been lied to and was furious.

For others it was their experiences with abortion itself (or abortion providers) that changed their minds:

Valerie: I was raised pro-life, but became pro-choice in adulthood. It wasn’t until the devastation of my own abortion that I realized those pro-lifers really knew what they were talking about.

Autumn: Working in an abortion clinic changed my mind. It took time.

Monique: I was pro-choice just not for me. Then I had an unexpected pregnancy and went to Planned Parenthood to confirm. They pushed me to not tell anyone and have an abortion. The more I resisted, the more aggressive they got. I literally had to run out of the office. She’s 7 now, I’m married to her dad, and just thinking about the possibility of not having our little family is crushing. Abortion hurts women and most are coerced into it.

Rachel: My best friend was 17 when she became pregnant. I went with her for the pregnancy test at PP. She was scared but wanted to keep the baby. Her parents and boyfriend pushed her to terminate. Our state had a mandatory ultrasound and 48-hour waiting period; she shared the ultrasound photo with me. It was not a clump of cells. We could see the head, the defined jaw and chin, a small arm. She wanted to refuse. Her parents sedated her and forced her to go in for the termination. She had a total breakdown. In the months that came she drank, did drugs, became self-destructive. She later killed herself. Every time I hear someone say “clump of cells” and “not human,” I think back to an ultrasound photo from 1996.

For some it was increased knowledge of biology:

Lauren: Me. #1 Science; recognizing that’s a human in the early part of the human life cycle and we shouldn’t kill humans. I can’t reason out of that fact.

Jackie: I’m liberal so being pro-choice came with the territory, but I’m also a professor and I’ve been teaching Anatomy & Physiology since 2002. When I started teaching an advanced Human Physiology class in 2008, something huge shifted inside of me. I can’t teach about the wonders of development and ignore the wonders of development. I’m also inherently a tree-hugger and can’t handle it when trees and animals are harmed and the cognitive dissonance started breaking.
Lori:

I was pro-choice for many years. I finally found it too exhausting trying to justify abortion while also supporting my values in science, equality, non-violence, and non-discrimination.

The science doesn’t lie. It’s a scientific fact of biology that life begins right after the fusion of the two cells, where our unique human genetic makeup now exists, with our own individual DNA.

Every pro-choice person (including me once) tries to say this may be what happens to the cells but it’s not “alive.” Which is ridiculous! I was that once. A zygote. We all were.
So if I wasn’t “alive” then, then how am I here now? That’s when I changed. I can’t deny the science.

No human should lose their only chance to experience this physical conscious life as we are enjoying, simply because we ignored the reproduction process that’s been happening for thousands of years, and don’t want to take responsibility for our actions.

Andrew: I used to think that it was nobody’s business. I was against abortion being funded publicly but if people wanted to pay for their abortion procedures I thought that was fine. But then I read about and started to think about when human life begins and biologically speaking it starts at conception and saying it begins somewhere after that is to impose your scientifically unfounded beliefs. And if that is a human life you cannot kill it just because it inconveniences you.

Some people changed their minds after talking to pro-lifers:


Karen: A discussion with a pro-life person outside a Planned Parenthood in Washington D.C. At the time, I was assisting PP with political strategies. And thought I was doing so as a strike against the Patriarchy. This woman challenged me to read what the first feminists had to say about abortion. That led to more reading and finally the scales fell from my eyes.

Mike: I was pro-choice because of the media. Eddie Vedder was my hero and I took a lot of my social justice beliefs from him. Once I met pro-life people and started having open discussions about it, I realized I had no foundation to why I believed the government should not be involved in a woman’s decision. Once you recognize a fetus as a human life, or even a potential human life, you can’t stay pro-choice very long.

Heidi: I read Abby Johnson’s book seven years ago. Completely changed my mind. I started educating myself and learning more about what abortion really was and how we can embrace life and protect it at its most vulnerable stage. How can we be a species that kills our young simply because it’s convenient?

Darinka: I thought I’d never do it, but I wouldn’t dictate the choice to someone else. But then a friend asked me a simple question. “Why would you never do it?” And when I thought about it, I realized that it’s for the same reasons nobody else should.
Kristin: I was pro-choice until a few years ago. A close pro-life family member was challenging my conscience with facts against abortion. I felt I had to strengthen my argument with facts too, so I went on a mission to educate myself with as much unbiased information as I could find. That journey led me to the truth, and the truth led me to becoming pro-life. I watched “The Silent Scream” and an interview with Dr. Levatino, and I was forever changed, and glad for it.

Abby: I started to change my mind when I held my own miscarried baby in my hands. I completely changed my mind when I read about Abby Johnson. If she could cross over to pro-life I could too and it didn’t make me a hypocrite.

Ellen: I was heavily indoctrinated into everything hard left, including radical support for abortion, coming of age in a large east coast city government school environment. I was also raised Catholic, while my catechesis was… Not great… So that probably planted the seeds of a consistent view on the dignity of human life. As a young adult, I decided I was personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice (I didn’t want to force my view on others). It was my then-boyfriend (now husband), who identified as atheist/agnostic at the time, who highlighted the logical inconsistency of my position; if I was against abortion personally, the fact that it was a human rights violation didn’t change depending on who was committing it. Over the next few years, I formed a highly consistent life ethic—all human life, regardless of circumstances, from conception through natural death.

And, maybe surprisingly, some changed their minds after talking to pro-choicers:
Stephen: I met other pro-choicers, heard their arguments, tried to research some of them, and ended up finding a good number of fallacies or terrible ethics. Sooner or later I adopted into my moral philosophy that all humans have an intrinsic value, and abortion under any circumstances is incompatible with that philosophy.

Shelby: I used to be pro-choice as I believe that if you get rid of it before it has a heartbeat it isn’t as bad. But what pushed me to just be pro-life is pro-choicers pushing for second and third trimester abortions. Acting like abortions are normal.

Cian: To an extent I still am pro-choice but what’s driving me out of that camp is seeing the enthusiasm and wanting to terminate and display it as something that should be celebrated.
Stephanie: I was always an “Abortion is murder but…” thinker but the left’s cultural shift from “Abortion is a necessary evil sometimes” to “celebrate your abortion” has prompted me to think “Abortion is murder.” Period. I cannot be on board with the celebration of the murder of the most innocent for convenience’s sake.
Katherine: Two things: (1) going to a sex week event in college and seeing pro-choice people misrepresent statistics. I thought “If we have the right argument, we shouldn’t need to lie and manipulate numbers.” (2) I shadowed in a hospital and went through pages and pages of women’s gynecological history, seeing that most of the women had at least one abortion. The prevalence was shocking. Then I came across a 24-year-old woman who had been pregnant ELEVEN times and had SEVEN abortions. THAT is the moment I completely switched to pro-life and realized abortion is completely abused and not “rare.”

See more stories about conversion on FB here. Also check out this Twitter thread by a pro-choice woman explaining how her friends and family’s experiences made her views on abortion “more cautious.”

We asked, you answered: why did you convert from being pro-choice to pro-life?

Original FB post here. At the time I started organizing these answers, there were about 200 comments.

Many people became pro-life because of their own pregnancy experiences:

Sasja: I was pro choice, and even against the gestation of embryos that showed signs of hereditary diseases or birth defects … And then I fell in love when I first saw the beating heart of my 12 weeks into development unborn child—at that time nothing more than a blinking lo-res pixel on the ultrasound screen.

Myles: Having our first child and thinking we were going to lose him at one point during the pregnancy. Made it crystal clear.

Cassie: I was raised by a feminist mom to be pro-choice. I believed it was a “blob of tissue” until I was pregnant with my first child. When they handed me all the info on prenatal care and my “growing baby” I was like, “Wait what?” I pretty much changed my mind right then and there though it probably took me 3 or 4 more years to talk about my change of mind with friends and family.

Mandy: Seeing my 12 week old baby miscarriage.

Rachael: Pregnancy changed my mind. I had an unplanned pregnancy and I just felt different after that. It is hard to explain.
Heather: I was rather uncommitted either way, just not a problem I had to consider. Until I miscarried at 5 weeks. That was a life. I felt real loss, real grief. And the pro-abortion side tells me it’s just a clump of cells. It wasn’t. It mattered. It had meaning. I know that now.
Shayla:

I found myself getting pressured into abortions with both my kids by people in the healthcare and mental health services industry. Later on, I was told that I should have not even had kids if I had an intellectual disability. On top of that, my boyfriend wanted me to abort.

I made two appointments with PP who were actually fair saying I have to really want it. I dreamed my baby was being attacked by a large snake. I had to protect and defend my baby as her mother! That’s when I knew I wasn’t going through with it.

Things actually worked out for us. Section 8 gave us a home. When things went south with my relationships, there were shelters, I had a legal advocate and counselors, we always had enough food. Later on, we got a new apartment and thrived. Point being things were never as bad as things were painted.

I want to advocate for other women going through this. I want them to know the Truth that someone dies during an abortion and someone could be saved and things can turn out even when things are at their worst when they choose life!

Kathleen:

I think when I was very young I didn’t give it much thought. Then gradually as Roe v. Wade was passed I thought more about it and my understanding of how the baby developed brought me to be pro-life. Lastly becoming a mom cemented it in me. Especially mother of a baby who died at 22/3 weeks gestation.

I still can’t reconcile how people can be sympathetic to that sort of loss and yet still think abortion is okay. Yet I know pro-choice folks who were very appropriate to me at that time and later when I lost three grandbabies. How do they say “I understand your loss is painful” but at the same time say it’s okay to take the life of a baby in the uterus? Is a baby at that stage valuable in one circumstance but not the other?

Rhonda: I was one that said I wouldn’t do it unless there was an extreme abnormality, but then our first pregnancy ended up being a partial molar pregnancy. Our baby died at 15 weeks and I had to deliver him. Watching my husband hold our fully formed baby and confirm his gender at this early stage did it for me. Doctors tried to comfort me with the fact that if he had survived he would have had severe problems. But to me the pain and emptiness I was feeling was worse than anything else I could imagine. It’s been 20 years and I still grieve that loss. And for people to dismiss his humanity cuts right through me.

Whitney: Incredibly, I used to be pro-choice even though I was given up for adoption as a baby. I thought it wasn’t my business what other women did with their bodies. Changing my mind was a process. It started with seeing my daughter on an ultrasound. I knew then that I could never have an abortion and that she was a living person. It took years to break down the mental walls, though, before I became fully pro-life.
Phoebe: I was more of like its not my business, but I was not gonna go out and fight for choice either. Then I carried a child, a child I almost lost. I spent a week in a NICU and saw babies smaller than my hand. That was my turning point. A few years later I realized if I was pro-life I also needed to stop supporting the death penalty. That’s my evolution.
Lesli: I was because I was ignorant of how babies developed and what the procedure was actually like. Once I became pregnant, learned about fetal development and found out they have a heartbeat so early on my entire outlook on it changed. Then I read about the procedures themselves and became disgusted that I ever supported it.

Alexis: I’ve had two unplanned pregnancies. One when I was 17. Abortion was thrown around by others around me, but that wasn’t an option. I was determined to raise that baby. Unfortunately she didn’t survive and her heart stopped at 16 weeks. My second unplanned pregnancy was when I was 21. I JUST started my career as a paramedic and was not in a committed relationship. I had been on birth control since 18. Once again abortion was thrown around by others, and once again I wouldn’t hear it. My beautiful daughter is now 8 years old; my husband and I (her father) have two more children together. We chose life with the odds stacked against us, and we are thriving. Not all stories are like mine. All these babies have a purpose and it is not right to kill them. Abortion is legalized genocide.

Karen: I was. I saw my child on ultrasound and realized she was a child. I expected to see a blob, not a baby sucking her thumb, at 20 weeks gestation. I knew then I’d been lied to and was furious.

For others it was their experiences with abortion itself (or abortion providers) that changed their minds:

Valerie: I was raised pro-life, but became pro-choice in adulthood. It wasn’t until the devastation of my own abortion that I realized those pro-lifers really knew what they were talking about.

Autumn: Working in an abortion clinic changed my mind. It took time.

Monique: I was pro-choice just not for me. Then I had an unexpected pregnancy and went to Planned Parenthood to confirm. They pushed me to not tell anyone and have an abortion. The more I resisted, the more aggressive they got. I literally had to run out of the office. She’s 7 now, I’m married to her dad, and just thinking about the possibility of not having our little family is crushing. Abortion hurts women and most are coerced into it.

Rachel: My best friend was 17 when she became pregnant. I went with her for the pregnancy test at PP. She was scared but wanted to keep the baby. Her parents and boyfriend pushed her to terminate. Our state had a mandatory ultrasound and 48-hour waiting period; she shared the ultrasound photo with me. It was not a clump of cells. We could see the head, the defined jaw and chin, a small arm. She wanted to refuse. Her parents sedated her and forced her to go in for the termination. She had a total breakdown. In the months that came she drank, did drugs, became self-destructive. She later killed herself. Every time I hear someone say “clump of cells” and “not human,” I think back to an ultrasound photo from 1996.

For some it was increased knowledge of biology:

Lauren: Me. #1 Science; recognizing that’s a human in the early part of the human life cycle and we shouldn’t kill humans. I can’t reason out of that fact.

Jackie: I’m liberal so being pro-choice came with the territory, but I’m also a professor and I’ve been teaching Anatomy & Physiology since 2002. When I started teaching an advanced Human Physiology class in 2008, something huge shifted inside of me. I can’t teach about the wonders of development and ignore the wonders of development. I’m also inherently a tree-hugger and can’t handle it when trees and animals are harmed and the cognitive dissonance started breaking.
Lori:

I was pro-choice for many years. I finally found it too exhausting trying to justify abortion while also supporting my values in science, equality, non-violence, and non-discrimination.

The science doesn’t lie. It’s a scientific fact of biology that life begins right after the fusion of the two cells, where our unique human genetic makeup now exists, with our own individual DNA.

Every pro-choice person (including me once) tries to say this may be what happens to the cells but it’s not “alive.” Which is ridiculous! I was that once. A zygote. We all were.
So if I wasn’t “alive” then, then how am I here now? That’s when I changed. I can’t deny the science.

No human should lose their only chance to experience this physical conscious life as we are enjoying, simply because we ignored the reproduction process that’s been happening for thousands of years, and don’t want to take responsibility for our actions.

Andrew: I used to think that it was nobody’s business. I was against abortion being funded publicly but if people wanted to pay for their abortion procedures I thought that was fine. But then I read about and started to think about when human life begins and biologically speaking it starts at conception and saying it begins somewhere after that is to impose your scientifically unfounded beliefs. And if that is a human life you cannot kill it just because it inconveniences you.

Some people changed their minds after talking to pro-lifers:


Karen: A discussion with a pro-life person outside a Planned Parenthood in Washington D.C. At the time, I was assisting PP with political strategies. And thought I was doing so as a strike against the Patriarchy. This woman challenged me to read what the first feminists had to say about abortion. That led to more reading and finally the scales fell from my eyes.

Mike: I was pro-choice because of the media. Eddie Vedder was my hero and I took a lot of my social justice beliefs from him. Once I met pro-life people and started having open discussions about it, I realized I had no foundation to why I believed the government should not be involved in a woman’s decision. Once you recognize a fetus as a human life, or even a potential human life, you can’t stay pro-choice very long.

Heidi: I read Abby Johnson’s book seven years ago. Completely changed my mind. I started educating myself and learning more about what abortion really was and how we can embrace life and protect it at its most vulnerable stage. How can we be a species that kills our young simply because it’s convenient?

Darinka: I thought I’d never do it, but I wouldn’t dictate the choice to someone else. But then a friend asked me a simple question. “Why would you never do it?” And when I thought about it, I realized that it’s for the same reasons nobody else should.
Kristin: I was pro-choice until a few years ago. A close pro-life family member was challenging my conscience with facts against abortion. I felt I had to strengthen my argument with facts too, so I went on a mission to educate myself with as much unbiased information as I could find. That journey led me to the truth, and the truth led me to becoming pro-life. I watched “The Silent Scream” and an interview with Dr. Levatino, and I was forever changed, and glad for it.

Abby: I started to change my mind when I held my own miscarried baby in my hands. I completely changed my mind when I read about Abby Johnson. If she could cross over to pro-life I could too and it didn’t make me a hypocrite.

Ellen: I was heavily indoctrinated into everything hard left, including radical support for abortion, coming of age in a large east coast city government school environment. I was also raised Catholic, while my catechesis was… Not great… So that probably planted the seeds of a consistent view on the dignity of human life. As a young adult, I decided I was personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice (I didn’t want to force my view on others). It was my then-boyfriend (now husband), who identified as atheist/agnostic at the time, who highlighted the logical inconsistency of my position; if I was against abortion personally, the fact that it was a human rights violation didn’t change depending on who was committing it. Over the next few years, I formed a highly consistent life ethic—all human life, regardless of circumstances, from conception through natural death.

And, maybe surprisingly, some changed their minds after talking to pro-choicers:
Stephen: I met other pro-choicers, heard their arguments, tried to research some of them, and ended up finding a good number of fallacies or terrible ethics. Sooner or later I adopted into my moral philosophy that all humans have an intrinsic value, and abortion under any circumstances is incompatible with that philosophy.

Shelby: I used to be pro-choice as I believe that if you get rid of it before it has a heartbeat it isn’t as bad. But what pushed me to just be pro-life is pro-choicers pushing for second and third trimester abortions. Acting like abortions are normal.

Cian: To an extent I still am pro-choice but what’s driving me out of that camp is seeing the enthusiasm and wanting to terminate and display it as something that should be celebrated.
Stephanie: I was always an “Abortion is murder but…” thinker but the left’s cultural shift from “Abortion is a necessary evil sometimes” to “celebrate your abortion” has prompted me to think “Abortion is murder.” Period. I cannot be on board with the celebration of the murder of the most innocent for convenience’s sake.
Katherine: Two things: (1) going to a sex week event in college and seeing pro-choice people misrepresent statistics. I thought “If we have the right argument, we shouldn’t need to lie and manipulate numbers.” (2) I shadowed in a hospital and went through pages and pages of women’s gynecological history, seeing that most of the women had at least one abortion. The prevalence was shocking. Then I came across a 24-year-old woman who had been pregnant ELEVEN times and had SEVEN abortions. THAT is the moment I completely switched to pro-life and realized abortion is completely abused and not “rare.”

See more stories about conversion on FB here. Also check out this Twitter thread by a pro-choice woman explaining how her friends and family’s experiences made her views on abortion “more cautious.”

Male abuser gets abortion pills online; vendor shows no remorse


Mother Jones has an article in its April/May issue entitled “She Started Selling Abortion Pills Online. Then the Feds Showed Up.”

Quick pause for alternate headlines that more accurately capture the tone of the piece:
  • She Broke The Law. But It Was An Abortion Law, So It Shouldn’t Have Counted.
  • Evil Police Fail to Recognize That Brave Abortion Provider is Above the Law. 
  • Abortion Access Uber Alles 
Anyway, moving on. The article is about Ursula Wing, who sold abortion drugs out of her apartment and advertised in the comments section of a blog. This is, unsurprisingly, illegal. As stated in the article, abortion drugs “may be distributed only in a clinical setting by a certified provider” per FDA regulations. 
Ms. Wing did it anyway, because “she needed money to pay legal fees during a protracted custody dispute with her former partner.” She didn’t see herself as an activist at first, although she was an abortion supporter and had herself terminated the life of one of her children with drugs purchased over the internet before becoming a vendor.
She sold abortion drugs to over 2,000 customers before finally getting caught. And how was she caught? Glad you asked:

An attorney told her that the FDA learned about her business when a Wisconsin man named Jeffrey Smith was arrested in February 2018 for allegedly slipping mifepristone into the drink of a woman who was pregnant with their child. Smith had twice ordered packages from Wing’s site, according to police documents. He has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree homicide of an unborn child. Wing is still waiting to be indicted.

If Ms. Wing were actually “pro-choice,” actually a feminist, actually cared at all about women, you’d think she would be horrified that her product was used to end a wanted pregnancy against a woman’s will. You’d expect, at the very least, some discussion of how online abortion vendors might verify that their customers are actually pregnant. (Kind of like those FDA-certified people verify in a “clinical setting.” Gosh, might there be a reason for that requirement?)
But no, of course not.

Among people advocating or providing access to self-managed abortion, there is some tension between those who aim to serve women in need without drawing attention and those who want to stir things up. Wing has found herself unexpectedly in the latter group. She was glad to go on quietly undermining the law, providing pills to customers who came across her website. Now, against her own attorney’s advice, she’s speaking out. “I want some copycats,” she says. “There’s not enough people doing this.”

She wants copycats. She wants more women put at risk. She thinks she’s a hero
I hope Ms. Wing is indicted as an accessory to homicide, and soon, before anyone else gets hurt.
P.S.—In October 2017, the ACLU sued the FDA to get rid of the abortion drug restrictions. If the ACLU is successful, abortion will become even more “accessible” to abusive men. The lawsuit is ongoing.

Male abuser gets abortion pills online; vendor shows no remorse


Mother Jones has an article in its April/May issue entitled “She Started Selling Abortion Pills Online. Then the Feds Showed Up.”

Quick pause for alternate headlines that more accurately capture the tone of the piece:
  • She Broke The Law. But It Was An Abortion Law, So It Shouldn’t Have Counted.
  • Evil Police Fail to Recognize That Brave Abortion Provider is Above the Law. 
  • Abortion Access Uber Alles 
Anyway, moving on. The article is about Ursula Wing, who sold abortion drugs out of her apartment and advertised in the comments section of a blog. This is, unsurprisingly, illegal. As stated in the article, abortion drugs “may be distributed only in a clinical setting by a certified provider” per FDA regulations. 
Ms. Wing did it anyway, because “she needed money to pay legal fees during a protracted custody dispute with her former partner.” She didn’t see herself as an activist at first, although she was an abortion supporter and had herself terminated the life of one of her children with drugs purchased over the internet before becoming a vendor.
She sold abortion drugs to over 2,000 customers before finally getting caught. And how was she caught? Glad you asked:

An attorney told her that the FDA learned about her business when a Wisconsin man named Jeffrey Smith was arrested in February 2018 for allegedly slipping mifepristone into the drink of a woman who was pregnant with their child. Smith had twice ordered packages from Wing’s site, according to police documents. He has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree homicide of an unborn child. Wing is still waiting to be indicted.

If Ms. Wing were actually “pro-choice,” actually a feminist, actually cared at all about women, you’d think she would be horrified that her product was used to end a wanted pregnancy against a woman’s will. You’d expect, at the very least, some discussion of how online abortion vendors might verify that their customers are actually pregnant. (Kind of like those FDA-certified people verify in a “clinical setting.” Gosh, might there be a reason for that requirement?)
But no, of course not.

Among people advocating or providing access to self-managed abortion, there is some tension between those who aim to serve women in need without drawing attention and those who want to stir things up. Wing has found herself unexpectedly in the latter group. She was glad to go on quietly undermining the law, providing pills to customers who came across her website. Now, against her own attorney’s advice, she’s speaking out. “I want some copycats,” she says. “There’s not enough people doing this.”

She wants copycats. She wants more women put at risk. She thinks she’s a hero
I hope Ms. Wing is indicted as an accessory to homicide, and soon, before anyone else gets hurt.
P.S.—In October 2017, the ACLU sued the FDA to get rid of the abortion drug restrictions. If the ACLU is successful, abortion will become even more “accessible” to abusive men. The lawsuit is ongoing.

How #ShoutYourAbortion Changed My Mind

I was raised pro-life. My parents were so passionate about the cause, in fact, that when my four brothers and I got old enough to drive, any new car had to be fitted with a pro-life bumper sticker or it wasn’t allowed on their property. All through childhood, I never questioned this idea. It seemed self-evident that everyone should have the right to not be killed—most especially helpless babies. The notion that the tiniest and most helpless among us should prove the single exception seemed absurd.

In my late teens, though, I started doubting the faith I was raised with and subsequently, the value structures it carried—including the supposed implicit value of the unborn life. The pro-life stance, like many other views I’d inherited, was not as simple as I’d thought. Through experiences of my friends and also articles written about the plights of women across the globe, I learned to stop condemning women in desperate circumstances. They already had plenty of that. What these women needed was compassion. No one wanted an abortion, I realized. Some situations simply have no good solution. I decided that the way forward was through helping people make the decisions they deem best for themselves, not by foisting my own moral code onto their backs. For over ten years, even after having two kids of my own, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind: the pro-choice movement was on the right side of history.

Then #ShoutYourAbortion happened.

The internet flooded over with stories, not of downtrodden women facing impossible circumstances, but of regular women, just like me, killing the growing embryos/fetuses inside them because they just didn’t feel like being pregnant. At first, I assumed these stories were made up—that they were actually pro-life radicals masquerading as post-abortive women, to make the pro-choice camp appear to be fueled by vacuous narcissism rather than high-minded ideals.

I pored over story after story told by women in my own demographic who got pregnant, sometimes through birth control failure, sometimes because birth control had seemed too big a bother at the time. There were a few stories I would have expected to see: people in dire straits with no easy “right” solution. Far more common, though, were stories with the same punchline: abortion—for anyone and for any reason—is simply a part of women’s healthcare. Specific reasons were incidental. The incidental nature of reasons actually seemed to be the point.

According to the new narrative being shaped, the very notion that people should have to justify their choice was problematic because it suggested that the fetus, itself, mattered in some way. In fact, terms like fetus or embryo weren’t even used (probably because they suggest a being, however primitive, existing beyond the mother). Almost exclusively, the human embryo or fetus was referred to as simply “the pregnancy.” A very clever linguistic turn, especially if you believe, as I do, that our ability to think is restricted by the words we use.

It seemed the pro-choice movement had officially moved on from mantras like “safe, legal, and rare.” If abortion is a humane service (so went the new argument), why on earth should it be rare? My side—the side which recognized that sometimes the best solution available is the least-bad of a host of terrible ones—had abandoned all pretense of engaging with the harsh ambiguities of life. Now, abortion was just good. Full stop.

I’d thought #ShoutYourAbortion would alienate other pro-choice people, but no one else seemed fazed. I started to wonder whether the pro-choice side had actually moved at all. Maybe they just finally felt free to express their views openly. Maybe I was just one of a handful of naive people on the pro-choice side who’d actually believed the earlier, feel-good narrative. Maybe, for all my belief that I was on the side of compassion and justice, all I’d really been was the pawn of an ideology which left no room for conviction that our lives have any inherent value.

For the first time, I felt utterly unqualified to make any definitive claims on the subject of abortion. Yet I needed to. In some way that I couldn’t understand, I knew this specific culture clash was rooted in something bigger.

I had to start somewhere, and I figured looking at my local culture (I live in the United States) was as good a place as any. From its inception, this country was united by a novel concept based around the ideas of John Locke: that all of mankind was created equal—that everyone had the right to their own life and destiny—because among equals, no one can rightfully render the life or will of another subservient to their own. We were never united by any specific belief system, but the dogged belief that the individual transcends even belief systems.

It sounds pretty great, but of course, it was never actually put into practice. From the genocide of Native American populations (obvious to any non-frontiersman), to the manifest injustice of slavery (obvious to any non-slaveholder), and countless other stains on our national conscience, we keep falling into the same trap over and over again.

I’d thought that people just couldn’t allow themselves to see human rights violations when their own livelihoods depended upon those violations. But the problem was so much more insidious than that. I don’t think it’s actually that hard for most of us, when directly faced with own hypocrisy, to admit that what we’re doing is wrong. What we can’t confront is the structural injustices our own tribe depends upon.

This is the difference between taking a good hard look in the mirror, versus walking up to your neighbor, brother, sister, your closest of friends, holding up this mirror to them, and saying: “Look! This is what you really are. You, who’ve brought me soup and bread every time my family fell on hard times, were only in a position to share your wealth because you’re propped up by the labor of your slaves!” Or “Son! You think you’re out there, on the edge of the frontier, risking your life to protect your family from savages, but let me tell you the truth! Those are innocent people—people just like you and me—and they were here first! They’re just defending themselves and what it rightfully theirs! You, son, are no hero. You are the savage.” How could any parent say this? Especially if they had already lost another son, as many had, in the service of that same cause?

Here is the dark, seedy underbelly of the beautiful, loyal, deeply social nature of the human psyche. Before anything, even our most sacred beliefs, come those people we love. Condemning them goes against our very deepest intuitions. This is how injustice to the Other is propagated again and again and again. Because, while our most cherished doctrines teach us that all humans are people with inalienable rights, our hearts only bind us to some of them. Our love for some effectively blinds us to existential reality of others. And there are very good reasons for this. But when this trait is exploited and deployed on a societal scale, the effects are disastrous.

This is at the heart of liberal Americans’ support of abortion rights for women. How could we acknowledge that many of our close friends killed their own children in the name of convenience? Only a monster could kill their own child. And our friends have proven themselves to be good, kind people. People who have been there for us when we needed them. How could we ever acknowledge a truth which would render them monsters—when we know, on as deep a level as we know anything, that our friends are not monsters?

And so they did not kill their child, we say. And they do not ever wish to do such a thing. What they want is simply control over their own body. We shove our cognitive dissonance down, telling ourselves stories of how a pregnancy involves only the woman—that even if there is some other human involved, that it doesn’t count. We say that it’s okay because in their early stages, humans almost certainly can’t experience much—not even pain. Yet we’re simultaneously outraged over the idea that killing a human in any other circumstance could be justified if only it was painless. We tell ourselves that the embryo or fetus has nowhere near the developmental capacity which renders human beings special, furiously stamping down the realization that this argument equally justifies infanticide.

I find myself more and more convinced that this is not a religious issue, and that it never really was. No mainstream religion has ever solved the myriad conflicts of interest that arise from people pursuing conflicting goals, or people who want to use other people as mere tools for their own end, or people who don’t want to be shackled to the tiny human who (for at least a little while) can’t survive without them. I know that people see this as a religious issue. But why? Why should it be necessary to believe each of us possesses a soul in order to oppose abortion?

If anything, belief in the soul acts as consolation in the case of abortion. If there is no immortal soul, whenever someone’s life is stripped away, this loss is permanent. All the potential of a unique, singular human being gets snuffed out—not merely relegated to place beyond this world—but finally, utterly, destroyed. I can’t imagine any moral weight heavier than that. 

I think no one else in the pro-choice camp was bothered by the #ShoutYourAbortion movement because, subconsciously, they’d long ago realized the only sustainable way to support abortion on demand is to assume there’s no person being obliterated. No person, no loss. Just a woman and her uterus. Once people have taken that idea firmly onboard, of course, of course, this new movement couldn’t be seen as horrific.

What is required here is imagination. The ability to honestly face conflicts of interest for what they are. The ability to say to our friend who finds herself tied to a human of her own (possibly unwitting) creation, “I am here with you. You are strong enough to do this.” We do not need to feel love toward the unborn, or anyone else who is being “othered” in order to defend their right to not be killed. All we need is to recognize that, intrinsic to their being, is the potential to love and be loved—that no one, not even those we love most, has a monopoly on that.

We must figure out a way, as a society, for all of us to finally count as people. It’s a hell of a thing to ask of ourselves; anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t thought enough. But I believe we’re capable of creating such a reality. I don’t know the precise path that will get us there. But I do know this: seeing ourselves as a potential force for good—and recognizing this potential also lives inside the youngest of us—will get us a hell of a lot farther than, say, shouting our abortions.



[Today’s guest post by Laura Elkins is part of our paid blogging program.]

How #ShoutYourAbortion Changed My Mind

I was raised pro-life. My parents were so passionate about the cause, in fact, that when my four brothers and I got old enough to drive, any new car had to be fitted with a pro-life bumper sticker or it wasn’t allowed on their property. All through childhood, I never questioned this idea. It seemed self-evident that everyone should have the right to not be killed—most especially helpless babies. The notion that the tiniest and most helpless among us should prove the single exception seemed absurd.

In my late teens, though, I started doubting the faith I was raised with and subsequently, the value structures it carried—including the supposed implicit value of the unborn life. The pro-life stance, like many other views I’d inherited, was not as simple as I’d thought. Through experiences of my friends and also articles written about the plights of women across the globe, I learned to stop condemning women in desperate circumstances. They already had plenty of that. What these women needed was compassion. No one wanted an abortion, I realized. Some situations simply have no good solution. I decided that the way forward was through helping people make the decisions they deem best for themselves, not by foisting my own moral code onto their backs. For over ten years, even after having two kids of my own, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind: the pro-choice movement was on the right side of history.

Then #ShoutYourAbortion happened.

The internet flooded over with stories, not of downtrodden women facing impossible circumstances, but of regular women, just like me, killing the growing embryos/fetuses inside them because they just didn’t feel like being pregnant. At first, I assumed these stories were made up—that they were actually pro-life radicals masquerading as post-abortive women, to make the pro-choice camp appear to be fueled by vacuous narcissism rather than high-minded ideals.

I pored over story after story told by women in my own demographic who got pregnant, sometimes through birth control failure, sometimes because birth control had seemed too big a bother at the time. There were a few stories I would have expected to see: people in dire straits with no easy “right” solution. Far more common, though, were stories with the same punchline: abortion—for anyone and for any reason—is simply a part of women’s healthcare. Specific reasons were incidental. The incidental nature of reasons actually seemed to be the point.

According to the new narrative being shaped, the very notion that people should have to justify their choice was problematic because it suggested that the fetus, itself, mattered in some way. In fact, terms like fetus or embryo weren’t even used (probably because they suggest a being, however primitive, existing beyond the mother). Almost exclusively, the human embryo or fetus was referred to as simply “the pregnancy.” A very clever linguistic turn, especially if you believe, as I do, that our ability to think is restricted by the words we use.

It seemed the pro-choice movement had officially moved on from mantras like “safe, legal, and rare.” If abortion is a humane service (so went the new argument), why on earth should it be rare? My side—the side which recognized that sometimes the best solution available is the least-bad of a host of terrible ones—had abandoned all pretense of engaging with the harsh ambiguities of life. Now, abortion was just good. Full stop.

I’d thought #ShoutYourAbortion would alienate other pro-choice people, but no one else seemed fazed. I started to wonder whether the pro-choice side had actually moved at all. Maybe they just finally felt free to express their views openly. Maybe I was just one of a handful of naive people on the pro-choice side who’d actually believed the earlier, feel-good narrative. Maybe, for all my belief that I was on the side of compassion and justice, all I’d really been was the pawn of an ideology which left no room for conviction that our lives have any inherent value.

For the first time, I felt utterly unqualified to make any definitive claims on the subject of abortion. Yet I needed to. In some way that I couldn’t understand, I knew this specific culture clash was rooted in something bigger.

I had to start somewhere, and I figured looking at my local culture (I live in the United States) was as good a place as any. From its inception, this country was united by a novel concept based around the ideas of John Locke: that all of mankind was created equal—that everyone had the right to their own life and destiny—because among equals, no one can rightfully render the life or will of another subservient to their own. We were never united by any specific belief system, but the dogged belief that the individual transcends even belief systems.

It sounds pretty great, but of course, it was never actually put into practice. From the genocide of Native American populations (obvious to any non-frontiersman), to the manifest injustice of slavery (obvious to any non-slaveholder), and countless other stains on our national conscience, we keep falling into the same trap over and over again.

I’d thought that people just couldn’t allow themselves to see human rights violations when their own livelihoods depended upon those violations. But the problem was so much more insidious than that. I don’t think it’s actually that hard for most of us, when directly faced with own hypocrisy, to admit that what we’re doing is wrong. What we can’t confront is the structural injustices our own tribe depends upon.

This is the difference between taking a good hard look in the mirror, versus walking up to your neighbor, brother, sister, your closest of friends, holding up this mirror to them, and saying: “Look! This is what you really are. You, who’ve brought me soup and bread every time my family fell on hard times, were only in a position to share your wealth because you’re propped up by the labor of your slaves!” Or “Son! You think you’re out there, on the edge of the frontier, risking your life to protect your family from savages, but let me tell you the truth! Those are innocent people—people just like you and me—and they were here first! They’re just defending themselves and what it rightfully theirs! You, son, are no hero. You are the savage.” How could any parent say this? Especially if they had already lost another son, as many had, in the service of that same cause?

Here is the dark, seedy underbelly of the beautiful, loyal, deeply social nature of the human psyche. Before anything, even our most sacred beliefs, come those people we love. Condemning them goes against our very deepest intuitions. This is how injustice to the Other is propagated again and again and again. Because, while our most cherished doctrines teach us that all humans are people with inalienable rights, our hearts only bind us to some of them. Our love for some effectively blinds us to existential reality of others. And there are very good reasons for this. But when this trait is exploited and deployed on a societal scale, the effects are disastrous.

This is at the heart of liberal Americans’ support of abortion rights for women. How could we acknowledge that many of our close friends killed their own children in the name of convenience? Only a monster could kill their own child. And our friends have proven themselves to be good, kind people. People who have been there for us when we needed them. How could we ever acknowledge a truth which would render them monsters—when we know, on as deep a level as we know anything, that our friends are not monsters?

And so they did not kill their child, we say. And they do not ever wish to do such a thing. What they want is simply control over their own body. We shove our cognitive dissonance down, telling ourselves stories of how a pregnancy involves only the woman—that even if there is some other human involved, that it doesn’t count. We say that it’s okay because in their early stages, humans almost certainly can’t experience much—not even pain. Yet we’re simultaneously outraged over the idea that killing a human in any other circumstance could be justified if only it was painless. We tell ourselves that the embryo or fetus has nowhere near the developmental capacity which renders human beings special, furiously stamping down the realization that this argument equally justifies infanticide.

I find myself more and more convinced that this is not a religious issue, and that it never really was. No mainstream religion has ever solved the myriad conflicts of interest that arise from people pursuing conflicting goals, or people who want to use other people as mere tools for their own end, or people who don’t want to be shackled to the tiny human who (for at least a little while) can’t survive without them. I know that people see this as a religious issue. But why? Why should it be necessary to believe each of us possesses a soul in order to oppose abortion?

If anything, belief in the soul acts as consolation in the case of abortion. If there is no immortal soul, whenever someone’s life is stripped away, this loss is permanent. All the potential of a unique, singular human being gets snuffed out—not merely relegated to place beyond this world—but finally, utterly, destroyed. I can’t imagine any moral weight heavier than that. 

I think no one else in the pro-choice camp was bothered by the #ShoutYourAbortion movement because, subconsciously, they’d long ago realized the only sustainable way to support abortion on demand is to assume there’s no person being obliterated. No person, no loss. Just a woman and her uterus. Once people have taken that idea firmly onboard, of course, of course, this new movement couldn’t be seen as horrific.

What is required here is imagination. The ability to honestly face conflicts of interest for what they are. The ability to say to our friend who finds herself tied to a human of her own (possibly unwitting) creation, “I am here with you. You are strong enough to do this.” We do not need to feel love toward the unborn, or anyone else who is being “othered” in order to defend their right to not be killed. All we need is to recognize that, intrinsic to their being, is the potential to love and be loved—that no one, not even those we love most, has a monopoly on that.

We must figure out a way, as a society, for all of us to finally count as people. It’s a hell of a thing to ask of ourselves; anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t thought enough. But I believe we’re capable of creating such a reality. I don’t know the precise path that will get us there. But I do know this: seeing ourselves as a potential force for good—and recognizing this potential also lives inside the youngest of us—will get us a hell of a lot farther than, say, shouting our abortions.



[Today’s guest post by Laura Elkins is part of our paid blogging program.]

NWF attends “Abortion Stories” panel at The Women’s Conference

About a year ago, Destiny of New Wave Feminists attended The Women’s Convention in Detroit. Recently she created a video (FB, Youtube) talking about attending the “Abortion Stories” breakout session. We’ve transcribed the video below. Phrases in italics signify thoughts not spoken out loud.

*****
Okay so I don’t have a ton of time but I want to tell you guys real
quick about something that happened last year at the women’s conference in
Detroit. This was a conference that was put on by Planned Parenthood—that was
one of the big sponsors—and the Women’s March. So the people who had removed us from the Women’s March. They had a conference and I registered with my full
name and everything and they accepted it. And so I was able to go, and it was a
fascinating experience.
Obviously I was surrounded by a lot of very pro-choice women. I did not
go there in any way to protest them or start trouble. I really kind of just
wanted to be in dialogue with them, and to talk to these people who I think so
many of us in the pro-life community maybe even without realizing we’re doing
it, we have dehumanized them. You know, we made them the enemy. So I thought it
would be a great opportunity to just go and sit and hear them. And listen to
them, listen to why it is that they think abortion is such a necessary
quintessential part of feminism.
Abby Johnson also went with a couple people from her organization. So I
was not planning going to this one particular panel, but at the last minute I
decided to go. And it was called “Abortion Stories.” And I walk in, and Abby
was there with her people, and of course Abby’s very recognizable. So she’s
sitting a little bit away from me. I saw people kind of pointing at her. They
knew who she was. So at the beginning of this session, somebody went to the
front and said “We know that we have some people in here who disagree with
this. And we want to make it very clear that if anyone disrupts, you will be
removed immediately.” And Abby was like What?
Me? Nooo.
It was really funny because we really weren’t there to disrupt!
We just kind of wanted to listen. Luckily I was sitting far enough away I don’t
think anyone realized that I was also like a “pro-life spy” or whatever.
[Laughs] Is that what they thought was going on?
So I listened to this panel. It was 4 or 5 women. A couple of them had
had multiple abortions. One of the more outgoing women on it, she was
hilarious, but she kept talking about how she had had this Etsy shop where she
posted abortion related stuff. So she had this flask that she takes with her to
all her speaking engagements and it says “I love my abobo.” And she says “I’m
going to sell these on my thing.” As someone in recovery myself, I kept
thinking Why do you take a flask to all
your speaking engagements?
That—I don’t know—that’s a signal to me that
maybe something isn’t resolved with you about your abortion.
So anyway I listened to them tell their stories and answer all the
questions. They started doing a Q&A. And there was a young woman who stood
up. She said her name was Coco and she was with a Planned Parenthood actually
here in Texas. “How come Planned Parenthood is constantly saying ‘It’s only 3%,
it’s only 3%’?” Because a big part of what they had talked about during their
presentation was how we stigmatize abortion and how there’s a stigma around it.
So she said “Aren’t they in turn actually adding stigma to abortion by saying
‘It’s only 3%’?” And everyone in the room agreed. The outspoken woman on the
panel said “That’s why I say go work for a small, independent abortion
provider.” And everyone starts cheering, like they were kind of anti-Planned
Parenthood. And all of a sudden I’m like Am
I in on some weird pro-choice secret? Like people don’t actually love Planned
Parenthood as much as Planned Parenthood would like us to think they do?

And so the woman was like “Okay, okay” and she sits down.
So at this point there was a reporter who had said she wanted to come
with me if I was going to ask any questions or anything. And she said “If I
can’t be at the session with you, if you could just record it.” So I had
literally just turned my phone on to record and caught the Coco thing. Because
I thought I don’t know if I’m going to
ask a question.
Again, I didn’t go to this to start trouble. But before Coco’s
question they had said “Does anybody have any questions?” And it was just kind
of a long silence, nobody in the room did, and so I almost asked at that point.
And then Coco got up. And so then it was my turn because now the same thing
happened: they were like “Do we have any questions? Any questions?” And it’s
kind of silence. And I thought You know
what? I might as well.
So I raised my hand. All the stories we were hearing
were very positive abortion stories. And I said, “What if a woman’s abortion story
is not positive? What if she was coerced into an abortion? One that she didn’t
want. Is she allowed to be a part of your campaign as well? Or would that be
considered stigmatizing abortion?”
And I remember the outspoken woman who had called on me looks at me,
straight in the face, and she says “Do we have any other questions?” And starts
looking around the room. And the coolest thing happened at that moment. A woman
right in the front row—her hand shoots up—and she says “No. That’s a good
question. Answer it.” And so I’m assuming this woman in the front row is
probably post-abortive and definitely pro-choice, and here she was advocating
for my voice to be heard, which I thought was just kind of beautiful. 
So the woman looks at her and she goes, “Well I guess I really just
didn’t understand the question.” And the woman behind that lady says my
question! Explains it. Which was also really cool. Here these women were saying
“No, we want an answer to this.” So she says, “She’s asking if a woman had a bad
experience and was coerced into an abortion, can she tell her story as part of
your campaign?” And the lady goes, “Well, first of all, if a woman comes to us
and she wants to have her baby, we send her on her way with a pack of prenatal
vitamins and a picture of her sonogram and we say ‘Go be a mom.’ This does not
happen. There are not coerced abortions.” And of course she thinks she’s
putting it to rest with that.
Another hand shoots up from a third
woman in this room who says “No. She’s saying if a woman was coerced, can she tell her story?” And at this point, somebody
else on the panel who’s a little better at PR jumped in and says “Well we
wouldn’t want to be hurting a woman. We wouldn’t want her—if she has unresolved
issues with her abortion—we wouldn’t want to be re-wounding her by having her
share that story. We would want to get her into a healthy place before she
shared her story.” And I was like, That’s
kind of a cop out
, but that was a much better answer.
So then this session wraps up and nobody was escorted out. None of us
started any trouble, right? And the next day I’m meeting with that reporter. So
we’re down at the little hotel coffee shop and she had her recorder on because
she was interviewing me. And all of a sudden Coco walks up. And she says, “Hey,
I hate to interrupt you guys. I’m so sorry. But I just wanted to say thank you
so much for asking your question yesterday. I get that question all the time
and I never know how to answer it. Thank you for doing that.” And I’m just
like, “Of course!” Clearly she has no idea who I am or she would not be
thanking me for doing this.
And I said, “You know, at the end of the day, I am a feminist. And I
hate women’s voices being used as propaganda. And I think there’s a much larger
conversation we need to be having about the nuance within abortion and the fact
that there are women who are pro-choice out there who feel like it was the
right decision for them to make. But they still have these wounds. And I know
this because they’re my friends. I have many pro-choice friends who don’t
necessarily regret their abortions, but they still know exactly how old their
child would be today. They still think about it. They still wonder what their
life would have been like if they would have had that child.”
“And when we don’t allow women the ability to express that because we
label them as ‘stigmatizing abortion,’ I think that’s incredibly cruel. And I
think, especially as a feminist, I don’t believe we should be in any type of
bondage. I don’t think we should be chained barefoot and pregnant to a stove,
but I also don’t think that we should be in emotional bondage from an abortion
that we’re not allowed to talk about unless we put a smile on and say it was
the best thing we ever did. Because for so many women, it’s a very complex
multifaceted issue, and we have to let them talk about it. We have to hear
their stories.”
So with that, I’m really excited to see these new groups cropping up
that do after-care, you know, abortion healing, that’s not religious, and is
more wide-ranging. I spoke to a woman on the phone today that I’m just really
encouraged by, because she was saying she has pro-choice friends who are
post-abortive, and they want to be able to talk about their abortions. And
she’s pro-life but she wants to be able to offer them a safe space to do that
as well. And I think that is just one of these ways that we can really break
down this divide between the pro-life and the pro-choice side, where it’s
constantly dehumanizing the other side and not looking at them fully, but then
expecting them to understand the humanity of the unborn person when so often we
disregard their humanity.

NWF attends “Abortion Stories” panel at The Women’s Conference

About a year ago, Destiny of New Wave Feminists attended The Women’s Convention in Detroit. Recently she created a video (FB, Youtube) talking about attending the “Abortion Stories” breakout session. We’ve transcribed the video below. Phrases in italics signify thoughts not spoken out loud.

*****
Okay so I don’t have a ton of time but I want to tell you guys real
quick about something that happened last year at the women’s conference in
Detroit. This was a conference that was put on by Planned Parenthood—that was
one of the big sponsors—and the Women’s March. So the people who had removed us from the Women’s March. They had a conference and I registered with my full
name and everything and they accepted it. And so I was able to go, and it was a
fascinating experience.
Obviously I was surrounded by a lot of very pro-choice women. I did not
go there in any way to protest them or start trouble. I really kind of just
wanted to be in dialogue with them, and to talk to these people who I think so
many of us in the pro-life community maybe even without realizing we’re doing
it, we have dehumanized them. You know, we made them the enemy. So I thought it
would be a great opportunity to just go and sit and hear them. And listen to
them, listen to why it is that they think abortion is such a necessary
quintessential part of feminism.
Abby Johnson also went with a couple people from her organization. So I
was not planning going to this one particular panel, but at the last minute I
decided to go. And it was called “Abortion Stories.” And I walk in, and Abby
was there with her people, and of course Abby’s very recognizable. So she’s
sitting a little bit away from me. I saw people kind of pointing at her. They
knew who she was. So at the beginning of this session, somebody went to the
front and said “We know that we have some people in here who disagree with
this. And we want to make it very clear that if anyone disrupts, you will be
removed immediately.” And Abby was like What?
Me? Nooo.
It was really funny because we really weren’t there to disrupt!
We just kind of wanted to listen. Luckily I was sitting far enough away I don’t
think anyone realized that I was also like a “pro-life spy” or whatever.
[Laughs] Is that what they thought was going on?
So I listened to this panel. It was 4 or 5 women. A couple of them had
had multiple abortions. One of the more outgoing women on it, she was
hilarious, but she kept talking about how she had had this Etsy shop where she
posted abortion related stuff. So she had this flask that she takes with her to
all her speaking engagements and it says “I love my abobo.” And she says “I’m
going to sell these on my thing.” As someone in recovery myself, I kept
thinking Why do you take a flask to all
your speaking engagements?
That—I don’t know—that’s a signal to me that
maybe something isn’t resolved with you about your abortion.
So anyway I listened to them tell their stories and answer all the
questions. They started doing a Q&A. And there was a young woman who stood
up. She said her name was Coco and she was with a Planned Parenthood actually
here in Texas. “How come Planned Parenthood is constantly saying ‘It’s only 3%,
it’s only 3%’?” Because a big part of what they had talked about during their
presentation was how we stigmatize abortion and how there’s a stigma around it.
So she said “Aren’t they in turn actually adding stigma to abortion by saying
‘It’s only 3%’?” And everyone in the room agreed. The outspoken woman on the
panel said “That’s why I say go work for a small, independent abortion
provider.” And everyone starts cheering, like they were kind of anti-Planned
Parenthood. And all of a sudden I’m like Am
I in on some weird pro-choice secret? Like people don’t actually love Planned
Parenthood as much as Planned Parenthood would like us to think they do?

And so the woman was like “Okay, okay” and she sits down.
So at this point there was a reporter who had said she wanted to come
with me if I was going to ask any questions or anything. And she said “If I
can’t be at the session with you, if you could just record it.” So I had
literally just turned my phone on to record and caught the Coco thing. Because
I thought I don’t know if I’m going to
ask a question.
Again, I didn’t go to this to start trouble. But before Coco’s
question they had said “Does anybody have any questions?” And it was just kind
of a long silence, nobody in the room did, and so I almost asked at that point.
And then Coco got up. And so then it was my turn because now the same thing
happened: they were like “Do we have any questions? Any questions?” And it’s
kind of silence. And I thought You know
what? I might as well.
So I raised my hand. All the stories we were hearing
were very positive abortion stories. And I said, “What if a woman’s abortion story
is not positive? What if she was coerced into an abortion? One that she didn’t
want. Is she allowed to be a part of your campaign as well? Or would that be
considered stigmatizing abortion?”
And I remember the outspoken woman who had called on me looks at me,
straight in the face, and she says “Do we have any other questions?” And starts
looking around the room. And the coolest thing happened at that moment. A woman
right in the front row—her hand shoots up—and she says “No. That’s a good
question. Answer it.” And so I’m assuming this woman in the front row is
probably post-abortive and definitely pro-choice, and here she was advocating
for my voice to be heard, which I thought was just kind of beautiful. 
So the woman looks at her and she goes, “Well I guess I really just
didn’t understand the question.” And the woman behind that lady says my
question! Explains it. Which was also really cool. Here these women were saying
“No, we want an answer to this.” So she says, “She’s asking if a woman had a bad
experience and was coerced into an abortion, can she tell her story as part of
your campaign?” And the lady goes, “Well, first of all, if a woman comes to us
and she wants to have her baby, we send her on her way with a pack of prenatal
vitamins and a picture of her sonogram and we say ‘Go be a mom.’ This does not
happen. There are not coerced abortions.” And of course she thinks she’s
putting it to rest with that.
Another hand shoots up from a third
woman in this room who says “No. She’s saying if a woman was coerced, can she tell her story?” And at this point, somebody
else on the panel who’s a little better at PR jumped in and says “Well we
wouldn’t want to be hurting a woman. We wouldn’t want her—if she has unresolved
issues with her abortion—we wouldn’t want to be re-wounding her by having her
share that story. We would want to get her into a healthy place before she
shared her story.” And I was like, That’s
kind of a cop out
, but that was a much better answer.
So then this session wraps up and nobody was escorted out. None of us
started any trouble, right? And the next day I’m meeting with that reporter. So
we’re down at the little hotel coffee shop and she had her recorder on because
she was interviewing me. And all of a sudden Coco walks up. And she says, “Hey,
I hate to interrupt you guys. I’m so sorry. But I just wanted to say thank you
so much for asking your question yesterday. I get that question all the time
and I never know how to answer it. Thank you for doing that.” And I’m just
like, “Of course!” Clearly she has no idea who I am or she would not be
thanking me for doing this.
And I said, “You know, at the end of the day, I am a feminist. And I
hate women’s voices being used as propaganda. And I think there’s a much larger
conversation we need to be having about the nuance within abortion and the fact
that there are women who are pro-choice out there who feel like it was the
right decision for them to make. But they still have these wounds. And I know
this because they’re my friends. I have many pro-choice friends who don’t
necessarily regret their abortions, but they still know exactly how old their
child would be today. They still think about it. They still wonder what their
life would have been like if they would have had that child.”
“And when we don’t allow women the ability to express that because we
label them as ‘stigmatizing abortion,’ I think that’s incredibly cruel. And I
think, especially as a feminist, I don’t believe we should be in any type of
bondage. I don’t think we should be chained barefoot and pregnant to a stove,
but I also don’t think that we should be in emotional bondage from an abortion
that we’re not allowed to talk about unless we put a smile on and say it was
the best thing we ever did. Because for so many women, it’s a very complex
multifaceted issue, and we have to let them talk about it. We have to hear
their stories.”
So with that, I’m really excited to see these new groups cropping up
that do after-care, you know, abortion healing, that’s not religious, and is
more wide-ranging. I spoke to a woman on the phone today that I’m just really
encouraged by, because she was saying she has pro-choice friends who are
post-abortive, and they want to be able to talk about their abortions. And
she’s pro-life but she wants to be able to offer them a safe space to do that
as well. And I think that is just one of these ways that we can really break
down this divide between the pro-life and the pro-choice side, where it’s
constantly dehumanizing the other side and not looking at them fully, but then
expecting them to understand the humanity of the unborn person when so often we
disregard their humanity.

Review: Ctrl Alt Delete

Last month, an independent journalist contacted Secular Pro-Life, asking for our thoughts on a web series called Ctrl Alt Delete. Its creators are strong abortion advocates with the stated goal of “normalizing” abortion “through the hahas.” They also aim to dispel the stereotype that women who have abortions are irresponsible.

Each video in the series features a different woman pursuing abortion—except for a recurring character who is in the abortion facility waiting room every time. (I think this is supposed to be funny?) The episodes are quite short, so the seven-part series is only 20 minutes long.

As you probably guessed, Ctrl Alt Delete didn’t bring the hahas for me. The agenda of “normalizing” the death of helpless children in the womb just doesn’t tickle my funny bone for some reason.

And yet… I didn’t totally hate it, either. The acting and production values are solid, and it’s an interesting glimpse into abortion supporters’ psychology.

The journalist asked me for my thoughts on how abortion was portrayed and what portrayals I would like to see from Ctrl Alt Delete in the future. At this point I don’t know whether the proposed article will ever be published (I’ll add a link if it is [update: here it is!]), so please allow me to share my thoughts:

In their quest to dispel stereotypes, the creators of Ctrl Alt Delete have completely neglected the most common reasons women have abortions; of all the characters, none felt pressured by others to have an abortion and only one cited financial insecurity. Of course, it’s hard to create a comedy series that incorporates those tragic realities. The only way to portray abortion positively is to portray it falsely.

The conspicuous absence of any information about the child’s development, and how abortion terminates the child’s life, is irresponsible. 

The show also relies heavily on stereotypes about pro-lifers on the sidewalk. A more realistic depiction would, at a minimum, include offers of free assistance at a pregnancy center. 

On a positive note, I do appreciate that Ctrl Alt Delete included young people and women among the anti-abortion characters. I also appreciated the surprising move of putting a population control activist in the role of abortion counselor; most abortion supporters shy away from explicitly acknowledging that connection. 

In future episodes, I’d be curious to learn more about the “frequent flier” character. Why does she use abortion as her primary form of birth control? What are her interactions with the sidewalk advocates like? 

Watch the series for free here and give us your take in the comments.

Review: Ctrl Alt Delete

Last month, an independent journalist contacted Secular Pro-Life, asking for our thoughts on a web series called Ctrl Alt Delete. Its creators are strong abortion advocates with the stated goal of “normalizing” abortion “through the hahas.” They also aim to dispel the stereotype that women who have abortions are irresponsible.

Each video in the series features a different woman pursuing abortion—except for a recurring character who is in the abortion facility waiting room every time. (I think this is supposed to be funny?) The episodes are quite short, so the seven-part series is only 20 minutes long.

As you probably guessed, Ctrl Alt Delete didn’t bring the hahas for me. The agenda of “normalizing” the death of helpless children in the womb just doesn’t tickle my funny bone for some reason.

And yet… I didn’t totally hate it, either. The acting and production values are solid, and it’s an interesting glimpse into abortion supporters’ psychology.

The journalist asked me for my thoughts on how abortion was portrayed and what portrayals I would like to see from Ctrl Alt Delete in the future. At this point I don’t know whether the proposed article will ever be published (I’ll add a link if it is [update: here it is!]), so please allow me to share my thoughts:

In their quest to dispel stereotypes, the creators of Ctrl Alt Delete have completely neglected the most common reasons women have abortions; of all the characters, none felt pressured by others to have an abortion and only one cited financial insecurity. Of course, it’s hard to create a comedy series that incorporates those tragic realities. The only way to portray abortion positively is to portray it falsely.

The conspicuous absence of any information about the child’s development, and how abortion terminates the child’s life, is irresponsible. 

The show also relies heavily on stereotypes about pro-lifers on the sidewalk. A more realistic depiction would, at a minimum, include offers of free assistance at a pregnancy center. 

On a positive note, I do appreciate that Ctrl Alt Delete included young people and women among the anti-abortion characters. I also appreciated the surprising move of putting a population control activist in the role of abortion counselor; most abortion supporters shy away from explicitly acknowledging that connection. 

In future episodes, I’d be curious to learn more about the “frequent flier” character. Why does she use abortion as her primary form of birth control? What are her interactions with the sidewalk advocates like? 

Watch the series for free here and give us your take in the comments.