I realize that there aren’t a lot of pro-abortion and anti-abortion arguments that begin and end calmly. I also realize that both sides tend to get very heated when sharing their opinions. So when I asked around for a pro-abortion advocate to talk to, I did so wanting to talk to someone I knew personally because it was essential that there would be a mutual respect. Here’s what happened.
As a trigger warning: sexual assault is mentioned.
I began the conversation by asking what they believed should be the cut off line for abortion.
Their response: “So let me tell you that I am pro-choice but I believe that no woman should have an abortion due to birth defects, that would be my cut off line if that’s what you mean.”
I clarified by asking if they believed in abortion up to 20 weeks or even as far as full term?
Their response: “I do not support that at all. I think if you’ve already grown the baby full term, you have to be absolutely insane to have an abortion. That’s when it’s murder.”
The activist confidentially discloses that she herself had an abortion after being raped. I won’t go into their medical history because that is her business that she chose to share with me, but I do not feel that it is my job to explain what the reasoning behind her abortion was. All I can say is there were medical complications with the pregnancy as well.
I was heartbroken to hear her story. That decision wouldn’t be easy. If you knew this person, you would know how tough it was for her to do this. I expressed my deepest sorrow for her tough situation. Then, I asked when she believed it would be too late to have an abortion to which she responded: “I think after the first trimester is too late.” I was shocked because most pro-choice activists don’t have that early of a cut off line.
I continued by asking when she believed life begins.
She replied: “So…it’s weird but I think life begins at first breath.”
Me: “Okay so would you say you die when you stop breathing?”
Her: “Yes, I would.”
Me: “So what about people who can’t breathe on their own? Are they not alive?
Her: I think that if they are on a breathing machine with no brain function, I don’t think that they are alive. If they have some sort of brain function then there’s the possibility of life.”
Me: “Well, this brings up an interesting point. Babies have brain function at 6-8 weeks. While they don’t do respiratory breathing, they are getting oxygen from the mother. How is that different?”
Her: “That’s a very good point. And one I don’t have an answer to and I don’t want to sound stupid, but that’s a valid point.”
I would like to pause here to say I see a bunch of power and intelligence when someone stops to say that they don’t know the answer to that and they would need to do more research. I really appreciate that open dialogue and honesty and think we would all be better for it if we could admit that more.
She continued: “I think it’s the breathing on their own for me. The whole life begins at first breath when coming into the world. I’ve become very open to the pro-life movement recently because I don’t agree a lot with the left’s agenda.”
I mentioned to her that I had previously had a conversation with a former pro-choice activist about her hesitation to use the label “pro-life” and being turned off of the movement because of the pro-life extremists. She agreed that the extremes of both sides can be a major turn off.
The conversation then moved back towards her own abortion and what that experience was like. She talks about her emotions after and how she didn’t want to be near people. Though she feels like it was the right decision for her from a medical standpoint, she shared with me how terrible she felt about the tough decision. When asking her if Plan B was ever an option, I learned something new. If you are considered “overweight,” Plan B isn’t an option.
We then circled back to clarify her comments about the Left’s agenda and she shared: “I think they just do not are what stage of pregnancy to have an abortion which is mind blowing. If you are full term and want to have an abortion, at that point, adoption should be your main option. I hate that some of friends who are very pro-abortion push our pregnant friends into the decision to have an abortion rather than celebrating her choice. I think it’s become a “fad” to support abortion and I’m not here for that. Do your research. Understand that it’s a very hard decision.” She continued, “It’s like they don’t care anymore, and just want to do anything crazy to make others mad.”
As a pro-life woman, I was so happy to see a pro-choice activist recognizing that the support of abortion has gone from “safe, legal, and rare” to it being a “shout your abortion” culture and even encouraging abortion instead of viewing all of the choices.
After sharing all those sentiments, it would seem she might be pro-life and I asked her what qualms she might have with associating herself with that title. She shared, “I hate feelings like I did something terrible when it was something I needed to do. I hate that we are looked at like murderers when we are already dealing with the aftermath.” She continued by sharing that it’s the lack of compassion in the pro-life movement.
As someone in the pro-life movement, I have seen firsthand the compassionate side of pro-life activism. It saddens me that it is our side of the pro-life argument that is overshadowed by the more radical sect of the movement.
Finally, we talked about Planned Parenthood. Of course, I had to ask her opinion of the movement to defund Planned Parenthood. She said this: “I believe we need funding. It’s helped many of my friends with birth control and other reasons.”
I responded “A lot of the defunding movement is because while people appreciate many of the services they provide, they still don’t provide things like mammograms, cancer screenings, prenatal services. The biggest point of contention is that Planned Parenthood provides abortions. What is your opinion on this?”
She responded in disbelief as she didn’t know those things. She even said, “oh plot twist.” After sharing that information with her, she expressed that she didn’t know how to feel at this point. Again, it’s more than okay to say “I don’t know” and that more research would need to be done to form an opinion.
Overall, it was definitely a productive conversation. That is something we need more of in our political landscape. I really appreciated her taking the time to share her honest opinions with me
So I challenge you, after reading this, to have conversations with someone your disagree with. It is important to have these conversations with people that you know won’t cross the line in any way and will remain respectful. It’s how we grow and become better activists.