EDIT: Not looking for praise, not trying to toot my own horn. Just offering a perspective. Shouts-out to my mom and the other loving, accepting, woke moms out there. Y’all don’t get enough credit.
Once upon a time I was an avid pro-lifer. I was utterly lacking in empathy and perspective. My reasoning was entirely selfish.
I was adopted at birth. My birth parents were a couple of young, broke kids who knew that they couldn’t keep me. When I was in high school and first learned about the concept of abortion, my only thought was, “That could’ve been me. I could’ve been aborted, and then I wouldn’t have this blessed, privileged life with my adoptive parents.” I thought, “I would never do that to a baby. Even if I didn’t want it, I would make sure that it went to a good home.”
I was only thinking about me, and not about the number of children stuck in the foster care system, or stuck in homes where they were unwanted and unloved. I didn’t think about any of the actual, real pregnant women and the wide variety of circumstances that could lead them to want or need an abortion. I certainly didn’t do any research of my own, and being in a suburban, mostly Christian community in Texas, I was in a bit of an echo chamber.
But I clearly remember the conversation that flipped the switch for me. After listening to one of my nuttiest teachers rail against Obama and the upcoming election, I went home and parroted to my mom, adding my own thoughts on the abortion debate. I heatedly said that I would never vote for someone who was pro-choice. When I finally paused to take a breath, she quietly said, “I’m pro-choice.” I stared at her in disbelief. As a woman who had desperately wanted a child and couldn’t have one, I was sure she would feel the same as I did.
Instead, she told me that she remembered what things were like before Roe v. Wade, and how much more common it was for women to be hurt or killed in self-inflicted or back-alley abortions. She told me that you can’t stop abortions from happening, you can only stop abortions that are safe for women from happening. She said that she thought their lives were important, and that they shouldn’t be forced into anything. I don’t remember everything she said at that moment, but it was enough to give me what I needed: perspective.
Then there was the day, some years later, when I told her I had decided that I didn’t want children, ever, and asked how she felt about that. She told me that, as happy as she would have been to have grandchildren, it was more important to her for me to be happy. She said, “Nobody should have kids if they don’t want to have kids.” And that is still the first thing I think of every time this debate comes up.
In conclusion: Thank you Mom for being woke before we knew what woke was, and for helping me to get my head out of my ass. May your words inspire somebody else today.