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I Used To Be Pro-Choice. So I Know This Is An Opportunity For Life Advocates To Start Changing Minds.


Rally Held In Support Of Cutting Planned Parenthood Funding - DC
Getty - Olivier Douliery
 IJR Opinion is an opinion platform and any opinions or information put forth by contributors are exclusive to them and do not represent the views of IJR.

If you're a pro-lifer like me, you too have been outraged and horrified after the release of three undercover videos this month from the Center for Medical Progress that show Planned Parenthood senior officials haggling over the price of body parts from aborted babies in order to try and maximize the money they can get from them.

Equally troublesome were the questionable medical ethics of the officials in the first two videos who seemed to suggest - in a possible violation of patient consent forms - that routine abortion procedures themselves can be altered in order to preserve specific organs from the baby whose life is being terminated.

Most horrific, however, is the third video, released this week, which shows graphic images of the remains of aborted babies being picked through for parts. Some of the images - and allegations made - were so disturbing that even Democrat 2016 front-runner Hillary Clinton signaled Tuesday she'd be on board with Congressional inquiries that went even beyond Planned Parenthood.

But beyond the understandable verbal rage and contempt being shown towards Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations for their advocacy of the inhumane practice of abortion itself, let alone the harvesting of aborted baby parts for profit, beyond the nationwide protests and calls for investigations and defunding, there is going to be curiosity from many and in that, there are opportunities here to change minds, and advocates for the sanctity of human life should take them.

“There are opportunities here to change minds, and advocates for the sanctity of human life should take them.”

“Why bother?” some may ask. “You can't get through to these people. Don't waste your time.” Well, I'm here to tell you that's not true. You can get through to a diehard supporter of abortion.

I know, because I used to be one.

My teenage and early adulthood years excuses for supporting a woman's “right to choose” were pretty awful in hindsight. “What if their family won't love them?” I'd ask. “They're better off not existing.” Or, “What if it's a poor mother who can't afford to feed her child?” Perhaps the worst was, “It might be an inconvenient time in the woman's life to have a baby. It's too difficult to hold a job/go to college and support a child.” Fortunately, I wasn't so far gone that I considered myself in the “it's just a clump of cells” camp, but the excuses were bad enough.

I volunteered for Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. One of the primary reasons I supported him was because of his belief in the “right to choose.” Roughly one week before he was elected, I stood in the front row of an uptown Charlotte park, mesmerized by his speech, knowing he would do everything he could to protect abortion “rights.”

Two years later, I did an about-face. Not because of family members and close friends who used to openly express their anger and frustration at me for my point of view (we all know people trying to force you into how to feel about something always works, right?), but a student in the community college I attended, someone who I only knew casually, started talking to me one day about it as we debated general political issues. They weren't pushy, but instead asked me why I believed what I did, and when I gave my superficial reasons, they suggested to me that I dig a little deeper, to think about the process involved in the termination of an unborn life. In essence, a light bulb had been switched on.

I grumbled a bit at the implication that I didn't know what I was talking about, but after a few days of considering it, I realized they had a point. So I started doing some reading. And thinking. And soul-searching. And over time, it finally dawned on me what I was actually advocating.

Back then, I was like many mainstream pro-choice women are today. I always thought of abortion in the abstract - never about the developmental stages of the baby, only about the convenience of it for the woman, and of what life might be like for the child once it was born. The brick wall that kept me from acknowledging that that was a tiny innocent life moving, and growing, and developing inside of a woman's body came crashing down, and the guilt I felt (and still feel) once I realized the sheer brutality and cruelty of what I at one time had so passionately defended hit me like a Mack truck.

“The guilt I felt (and still feel) once I realized the sheer brutality and cruelty of what I at one time had so passionately defended hit me like a Mack truck.”

Twelve years after standing in that park and waving my Clinton/Gore sign, I stood on the edge of the same park again, on lunch break from being summoned for jury duty. There was a pro-life rally being held. Graphic posters were being displayed. Tears welled up in my eyes and I had to turn away. I silently thanked God for planting the seeds for my change of heart, because I felt responsible on some small level for the culture of abortion thriving, for tiny unborn, helpless baby bodies being torn apart, the life choked, torn, and ripped right out of them.

Because my mind was opened, as well as the minds of many women who I am honored and happy to call friends, I know minds can be changed. The best people to try to counsel on the issue are not Cecile Richards types. Women like Ms. Richards have a vested interest in keeping the pot stirred, in keeping women angry and feeling victimized, to the tune of $400,000.

Ignore the militant activists, and talk to average abortion supporters whose lives - and livelihoods - don't revolve around abortion. Do one-on-one work with them. Be patient with the ones who seem genuinely interested in having the discussion. Don't get upset when they ask a question that might seem obvious or annoy you. And don't get discouraged if it seems like what you're telling them isn't getting through. The likelihood of someone telling you they've had a change of heart because of what you've said to them is slim to none. Your part in it isn't to try and force someone to believe anything or think a certain way, but to merely plant the seeds in their minds that will make them curious enough they'll begin to do their own research. And maybe one day your efforts will pay off, like my college acquaintance's efforts at changing my mind paid off with me.

If enough people did this, decades down the road we could be looking at a time in our country where only a small percentage of Americans believed it was okay to terminate an innocent unborn life, with the vast majority realizing that the era where millions of babies were lost due to abortion on demand was inexcusable and indefensible, and should never, ever be repeated.

Wouldn't that be something?

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