The following is a guest post from a woman named Amy L.
In my first 30 years of living, I never once called myself pro-choice. I am 33, and I have called myself pro-choice just in the last couple of years. I am the last person my friends or my family would suspect of being pro-choice. Yet here I am. It has been a long journey.
I was raised in a rural, Southern community. I attended a rural Southern Baptist church. I am from a conservative family. And for a long time, I didn’t stray much from those pro-Republican, pro-family values that we hear so much about. I learned how to be like the people around me. I knew the reasons I should be anti-gay rights, anti-abortion, woman-submissive, etc. And I could tell anyone those reasons. They made sense…to that girl and young woman that I was then. I even attended a semester at Focus on the Family learning all about the “Christian worldview.” I made an A on the tests there, but I was really just repeating what I had been taught. I know that throughout my undergraduate education, I was not thinking for myself.
Ironically, I started really learning about what I believed in divinity school. Maybe it was unlike anyone else’s experience in a seminary, but by the end of my third year, I had become more open-minded. It started when I sensed that I was called to be a preacher. Some baptists don’t like that very much because I am a woman. My divinity school encouraged it, thankfully; but if this idea of woman-submission could be shattered, I realized that other ideals I had been brought up with might need some examination.
After divinity school, I called myself a pro-life democrat. Even after I had become pro-immigrant, pro-social justice, pro-gay rights, becoming pro-choice was the last thing to fall into place. Truly only in the past year have I been able to call myself pro-choice. How did this happen? How did any of these changes happen? Because of relationships and civil dialogue. Because I read personal accounts and looked at both sides of the issues. I really gave this issue a lot of thought.
I am pro-choice because every woman has a choice to make when facing any pregnancy. I figured this out after watched The Daily Show during the Republican National Convention in 2008 when Samantha Bee brought up the issue that Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol really did make a choice when she chose to carry her pregnancy to term. It is a choice at the most basic level. It is a choice that only a woman can make–not white men in politics. Whether it is made automatically by a pro-life woman desiring to have a child or a woman who chooses to abort because she can’t feed another mouth, it is a choice. Choices that are antagonizing or joyous or exhausting or whatever. Pregnancy is a personal event, and the choice is also personal.
I am a stay-at-home mom in suburbia. I have faced both miscarriage and unplanned pregnancy. I have three great boys who I want to raise to be feminists. The more I see of life, the less I see in black and white. Everything is a shade of gray to me now. The preacher in me knows that God is not seeking a world where people condemn. Instead it has to be a world that loves despite differences. A world where relationship is valued above spouting a line of scripture taken out of a different cultural place and time.
I am pro-choice. How did that happen? Just remember what I used to be and see where I am now. It is possible for someone who is pro-life to become pro-choice.