Today i had a very interesting thing happen.
First, some pretext:
I work in an abortion clinic. It is my job to accompany the patient from beginning to end making sure they have the information they need to make an informed decision about their procedure. I test their blood, I dot the Is and cross the Ts and i do it all while doing my best to be cheerful and polite so their day might be a little easier. I do a very good job. I am excellent at patient care. I am informative, knowledgeable and kind.
Today, I spent part of my day with a pro-life woman who was visiting the clinic for an abortion. She was nice and polite but i could tell she was torn and defensive about her decision. It is not my job to judge people or why they have abortions. Personally, i don’t care if you have a dozen abortions in two years so long as it’s your choice.
Part of the conversation that i have with her is one on one making sure she has a support system in place, that she is firm and clear in her decision and that she has the resources she needs including counseling referrals, contraception, and emergency phone numbers.
Part of this conversation is also important to make sure that she has not been forced to have an abortion. It is called a consent conversation.
I asked her “Tell me a little about what brought you to your decision today.”
To which she responded “Well, i don’t personally believe in abortion but i think my situation is special. I have been sick to my stomach for weeks. I can’t eat or drink and i can’t take care of my other child.”
Now, i really really wanted to be snarky about this. Instead I said “Well, i’m glad that you made your decision today and had the chance to consider all the options. It’s really fortunate that we live in a state where you have the opportunity to make this decision. Not all women in this country are that lucky.”
That’s when i saw the light switch on. I sat and watched as her perspective changed right in front of my face. What i think this person was lacking was the understanding that not everyone has the same experience or personal life. This woman, who later told me that she has been staunchly pro-life all her life, was finally considering the other side of the argument. That not all people live the life she does. She was pro-life till she was faced with a difficult and dangerous pregnancy, a son whom she could not take care of and a precarious financial situation that could not bear the weight of another child.
I saw someone transform from a person who had never considered why women get abortions to a person who understands why abortion access is so important.
THIS is why i do this work. I changed a life today. Not because i convinced her to have an abortion. Not because i tortured or forced her to change her mind. Because I shined the light on hundreds of thousands of women who choose to have an abortion every year, each of whom has a different story, different reason and different experience.
This is the culture of choice, folks. You can be personally opposed to abortion and never choose to have one. There is nothing wrong with that. But the second you shame or belittle someone who has chosen to plan for their personal or their families future by having an abortion you step into the realm of hatefulness and oppression.
If you don’t personally support abortion but you don’t care about what other do when it comes to that subject:
You’re pro choice.