How one conversation made me pro-life

I kept saying, “You just made me pro-life!” I kept repeating it the next
morning as well, awed by the change in me and how it had happened.

BY {related_entries id=”alternate_author”}How one conversation made me

December 15, 2011 ( – In several previous articles for Live
Action, I have alluded to the fact that I used to be pro-abortion, and
fairly recently. The conversation that convinced me that abortion was wrong
occurred in the fall of 2006. Before that day, I would have told anyone who
asked that I was pro-choice. I was never involved in activism, unless you
call giving the middle finger to pro-life protesters as I drove by abortion
clinics “activism.” In fact, I never really gave abortion much thought.
But in political debates — in which I frequently engaged — one of the
accusations I liked to hurl at the opposition was that they were

I have a clear memory of looking for a website one day when I accidentally
typed the URL incorrectly, and instead of the shopping site I was looking
for, I ended up at a pro-life website with a large, graphic photo of an
aborted fetus on the title page. I remember feeling disgusted… by the
pro-lifers. This emotional reaction is mystifying to me now, although I felt
it many times myself and have witnessed it in others. Confronted with a
jarring photo of the violence of abortion, the pro-abort does not feel
sadness or horror for the child, but anger at the pro-lifer for offending
him. They simply do not see the baby. They see only their own opinion,

There are exceptions to this, and I’ll get to them.

Join a Facebook page to end abortion here.

I knew girls my age — mid to late twenties — who’d had abortions. When
they told me about them, I reacted with what I felt was the requisite
nonchalance, but inside I always felt a little horrified. I did not have
children — I still do not — and had never tried to, but I also knew that
no matter how poor, lonely, or desperate I was, I could never abort my
child. And I have been poor, lonely, and desperate. In my mind and heart, I
understood babies to be sources of joy.

My mom was a 27-year-old mother of two working in the food service industry
when she became pregnant. Her boyfriend, upon finding out she was pregnant,
surprised her by taking off and never coming back. Then the sonogram
surprised her by revealing two heartbeats. That’s right: twins.

She considered abortion briefly, in a moment of panic, but not seriously.
She says she thought about it the way you sometimes think about doing
something you know you’ll never do. It was a momentary fantasy born of
desperation, but it was never an option. She credits prayer with getting her
through the next few years until she met the man who would become my
brothers’ father. My mom has a strong will, and she was determined to be
positive. She put a magnet on the refrigerator so she would see it every
day. It said, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” I
remember it being there for years.

When the twins were born, she could no longer work 60+ hours a week as the
manager of a fast food restaurant. My grandparents helped some and I, at
nearly nine, was a built-in babysitter and diaper changer and entertainer.
Now my mom was 28 with a nine year old, a seven year old, two infants, no
job, and a GED.

I never remember being surrounded by gloom. I didn’t feel poor. I knew
things were hard, and I worried about my mom, and things weren’t perfect,
but ours was not a miserable childhood.

More than anything, I remember the joy my baby brothers brought to our
family. They were the light of everyone’s life. It’s almost like God
said to my mom, “Well, since the circumstances for these babies are less
than ideal, I’m gonna make the babies themselves ideal. How’s that?”
They were perfect: blonde curls, giant blue eyes, creamy skin, with fun,
happy personalities. They were smart and charming and wonderful, and they
still are. They are 23 years old now, and one has a daughter of his own. She
is the light of our life, too, and my mom is a proud grandmother.

It would have been so easy for my mother to choose abortion. It was 1988 in
a major metropolitan area. Abortion was legal and fairly commonplace. But my
mom did the courageous, difficult, wonderful thing, and chose life for her
sons. In doing so, she gave our family — and the world — a wonderful
gift in my two youngest brothers. I cannot imagine life without them. I
don’t want to.

Considering the story of my brothers’ origins, and the fact that my mom
was adopted at birth, you’d think I would have been a natural candidate
for pro-life views. But by the time I knew what abortion was, I was old
enough to start rebelling against my parents’ values. My rebellion was
more ideological than practical. I wasn’t much for running around with
boys or sneaking out constantly — my mom was pretty strict — but I read
a lot, and I had wild ideas. I decided to do what young people have done
from time immemorial, and reject the mores of the society I knew.

So I said “no thanks” to the Baptist church and traditional values in
general at around age 14, and I stayed more or less
anti-everything-I-grew-up-with until the age of 27, when I got in a van with
a Catholic.

Here’s what happened:

I had a friend. I’ll call her Sadie. She was a fellow rebel with me in
high school and up through our early 20s. In the past couple years, we had
fallen out of touch. She had converted and married a Catholic and had two
babies. She’d become a sort of Betty Crocker, a model suburban housewife,
albeit one who retained a marked tendency to listen to The Cure and smoke

Anyway, Sadie and I reconnected somehow, and she asked if I wanted to come
spend the night. Her husband was overseas with the Army, so we could put the
kids to bed and stay up all night talking like we did back in high school. I
said sure, and she said she’d come by to pick me up.

I knew Sadie had become a Catholic Army wife, and I was prepared for the
mini-van, the car seats, and the munchkins, but not for the pro-life bumper

Later that night, after the kids were in bed and I had imbibed some Jack
Daniels and whooped her butt at Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit, I said to
Sadie, “What’s with the pro-life bumper stickers? I mean, come on. I
know you’re Catholic and all, but haven’t you gone a little bit

Sadie replied with something I had not known. She told me she’d always
been pro-life.

“I thought you were a feminist,” I said.

She answered, “I am.”

“Then how can you not support a woman’s right to choose?”

I don’t remember exactly how Sadie walked me through the pro-life
argument. I know what she didn’t do, and that’s invoke religion or God
in any way. At the time I would have described myself as an agnostic
pantheist, so I would have immediately rejected such language.

After about an hour of back and forth, I knew I was had. I couldn’t argue
with her anymore. Every talking point I had, she had shredded with logic and
knowledge. But I was still wavering.

During the course of our conversation, she kept alluding to photos and what
a large part they played in helping someone understand what abortion is.
Finally — and this is important — I asked to see them.

She showed them to me, and I had a completely different reaction than the
one I’d had when confronted with the accidental website, or protesters
bearing signs. My reaction before had not been horror at the dead baby, but
anger at the pro-lifer for making me look at it. I thought it was
“disrespectful of the dead,” and somehow glossed over how disrespectful
it was to cause that death.

But this time, I had just had my mind and heart opened. I had slowly over
the course of an hour been made to hear the truth, and now I was ready to
see it.

I looked at the photos, and I had a visceral reaction. No words formed. But
something inside me, something simple and human, said, “That is not
okay.” I knew that what I was looking at was a dead human being. I knew

At that moment, I was pro-life.

I kept saying, “You just made me pro-life!” I kept repeating it the next
morning as well, awed by the change in me and how it had happened. It was
completely unexpected, and more than a little unwelcome.

I went home and got on the computer and went immediately to pro-choice
websites hoping to be unconvinced. Reality was setting in, and with it the
understanding that a pro-life viewpoint was not compatible with my
lifestyle, my friends, my political and religious beliefs, or my irreverent
sense of humor. I felt a mild sense of panic, because if abortion was what I
unfortunately now believed it was, then it was not only wrong, it was
reprehensible. It was not just something I was going to disagree with, it
was something I was going to have to fight.

The pro-choice websites couldn’t unconvince me of the wrongness of
abortion, and the scientific information I found only made things worse.
More than anything, I wanted to find those photos discredited as fakes or
misleading, but instead I found more photos, and plenty of authentication. I
found a video in which a former abortionist turned pro-life activist, Dr.
Bernard Nathanson, handled an aborted fetus and described it to the viewer.
I watched and wept.

I started to feel duped, and a little angry. I felt lied to by the
pro-choice side. I felt the terminology they used, like “clump of
cells,” was misleading. I knew the information my friends had gotten in
abortion clinics, and I knew now that it was patently false.

At the time I was blogging on MySpace — remember MySpace? — and had a
lot of readers. I posted about my newfound viewpoint with trepidation, and
people went a little wild. Over the course of the next year, I would lose a
few dear friends over this issue and similar ones. Other people have
remained friends with me, but it’s never quite been the same. The issue is
so divisive that it really can make or break friendships, I’ve learned,
especially when you do what I did and become an overnight activist.

You see, I was committed to a belief in human rights before I became
pro-life, and I understood more and more as time went on that abortion is
the ultimate human rights violation. It violates the most basic right —
the right to life — for the most innocent and helpless among us — the
unborn baby. It is the ultimate in the kind of “might makes right”
thinking people condemn when it comes to wars, but embrace when it comes to
a mother’s tyranny over her pre-born child.

The night I learned that abortion was wrong, I would have told you I was not
only not a Christian, but that I disliked and distrusted Christianity. Less
than a year later, I was confirmed in the Catholic Church. This is not to
say the pro-life philosophy leads one to religion necessarily. In fact, I
know pro-lifers of every political and religious persuasion and sexual
orientation. But for me personally, I believe God used this issue to open my
heart and start me down a path that I never expected to walk.

In many ways, Sadie is a completely different person than on the night we
had that conversation, and so am I. But we are still good friends, and we
are both still pro-life. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for having the
courage to stand up for life in the face of someone who was pretty direct
and challenging (that would be me), and the knowledge and wisdom to approach
the issue from a secular, scientific point of view.

I am living proof of several things:

First, that it is essential for the pro-life apologist to be ready to tailor
the argument to the person.

Second, that graphic images can absolutely change hearts when used

And third… Well…

You know that friend you have that you don’t even bother mentioning
abortion to? The one who is so prickly and such a smarty-pants that you feel
like you’d be shot down if you even tried explaining the pro-life
viewpoint? I was that friend. And look at me now.

There is no heart that cannot be changed by truth.

Reprinted with permission from

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