| SARA ERNEST
BEING PRO-CHOICE is not a decision I came to lightly in my life. I was raised in a moderate Catholic household that was pretty mixed on which side of the aisle it landed depending on the social issue. The one thing that was unequivocal was that we were on the conservative side when it came to the issues of a woman’s right to choose.
I remember when I first moved to Columbus from the Toledo area, my mom’s frame of reference was how she got around downtown when she came here for Right to Life rallies in the 70s. It was clear to me from a very young age that we were a pro-life household and this was a very sensitive subject.
Throughout my early life I went to church every week and was even occasionally an acolyte at Mass. In high school I was active in my youth group and regularly went on weekend retreats with other kids from my church. It wasn’t really a question of whether I was pro-life or not. It was more of an understanding: This was something the church taught and I was active in the church.
I’m not sure what finally made me stop to think about my views on the Choice issue, but at some point I realized there is so much more to the issue than just whether a woman is ending the life of her unborn child or not. There’s that word we talked about last month again: Just.
Until this column I haven’t openly shared my pro-choice views with everyone, even those I interact with on Facebook. That realization smacked me in the face one day when I was scrolling through my feed and came across a post from a woman I hold in great esteem from the previously mentioned era in my life extolling her friends to “change minds” as they traveled to Washington, DC for the 2015 March For Life. My blood instantly started boiling.
As I said, I still hold this woman in very high regard and I understand that being the mother of a child with Down Syndrome she may have more cause than some to be vehemently anti-abortion. There are still many people who are encouraged to terminate pregnancies when they know their children will be a Down’s baby. This woman did not, and she is now a strong advocate for families affected by Down Syndrome. I wonder if she thought about the fact that she had a choice to keep her child and how ironic it is that she wants to take that away from a woman who is living through entirely different life circumstances.
I realized a long time ago that abortions are going to happen whether they are legal or not. People can stand their high moral ground and think that just because they don’t want them to happen they won’t, but that’s not true. We’ve all heard of back alley abortions and at least one crude joke about what a desperate woman can do with a wire hanger. When abortions are legal women can be provided with adequate medical care to heal their bodies and psychological care to heal their minds.
Contrary to the belief of my friend on Facebook, there is no reason to change minds because the women who feel that terminating their pregnancy is their only option have already spent a great deal of time in their own minds coming to the decision that this is the only choice for them.
I am not pro-choice because I want anyone to indiscriminately kill babies. I am pro-choice for the women who are left after making up their mind to do the most difficult thing anyone could do.
Author | Sara Ernest
As a lesbian I had a chance to find people who understood my point of view. The best part about this community is that it is large enough to be as diverse as the individuals who make it up.