It was a little over a year ago that I began to discover I was becoming apathetic to abortion. Upon this discovery, I wanted to cry. In fact, I think I did. I was upset with myself about my growing anti-stance against the right to choose. This new philosophy that was flourishing in my mind was too scary to admit out loud at first. “No, it couldn’t be,” I thought. Not only was I ashamed of myself, but I was in deep denial. At least publically that is.
Since my senior year in high school, I was a loud and proud Democrat and feminist. For me, being a feminist meant supporting the choices of women and being against any person or establishment, especially the government that sought to interfere with a woman’s choice. So I kept my newfound awareness to myself. I didn’t want to face it. Though I was acutely aware of my predicament, I didn’t have the strength to face it, at least not out loud. But in my private space, my mind, there was no escaping that every political and philosophical action that I ever knew, well, it was becoming invisible. Mentality, I thought I had betrayed not only myself but women and liberalism.
I also knew I couldn’t continue living in denialism. I had to face this visceral emotion that my mind had changed its mind. Thus, I went on a digital quest to learn what being pro-life meant. Up to this point, I thought pro-life supporters were judgemental, disrespectful, anti-woman, fascists, and dictators. Now that I was pivoting to pro-lifeism, did it mean I was just like them? Was I something that I had always despised?
To be honest, I’d always known I never would personally never get an abortion, but I had always respected the choices of other. For a good seventeen years, I’d been this way. But now I wanted to deny other women that right. What right did I have? I had to learn why I was feeling this way. So I opened the door, but I didn’t do it willingly. I was still stubborn with the notion because I was disgusted with myself. Thus, I set off with my investigation hoping I would discover some uncomfortable information that would wake me up and point me back to reality and common sense. I was investigating how I could be to be pro-choice again. I went into my research with hate.
Needless to say, the hate with myself didn’t last long. I read pro-life liberal-leaning blogs, commentary, and new articles. The readings provided insight that I wasn’t betraying my liberalism, women, or the political party I ascribed too by being pro-life. Just a few articles in, and I found myself obsessed with reading everything about being pro-life from the right and left. I read obsessively the work of Elizabeth Stoker who wrote in The Week:
“The pro-life leftist position maintains that human life is so significant, so inherently valuable, so irreplaceable that it should be the central subject of political concern. This view requires, therefore, that since we care enough about the outcome of pregnancy to insist against abortion, then we must continue to care about the outcome when abortion is no longer a legal option. To me, this requires a culture agreeing to put its money where its mouth is — that is, to provide robust support programs that render feasible the entire process of childbearing and childbirth, from pregnancy to child care to the total span of family life. Programs that immediately come to mind include universal health care, which would obviate the incredible expenses of pregnancy, often costing in the thousands of dollars out of pocket; government-supported parental leave and policies protecting the employment of mothers; and a no-strings-attached child allowance.
“Yes, yes, yes,” I shouted in the privacy of my home. I nodded in agreement with every paragraph, saying “This is me, this is sooo me.” Then I read the works of Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America, “Politics and the Culture of Life – Why I am Still a Democrat.”
“…the Democratic Party was not perfect for me. As any good Democrat, I believed that I had to support a women’s “right to choose” because that is what good Democrats did. Something told me it was wrong; I knew that I would never have an abortion, no matter the circumstances. I felt so strongly aligned with the Democratic Party that I could not admit, even to myself, that I was pro-life. If I admitted it, I thought I would have to turn in my Democratic Party credentials. It was not until I graduated and worked on Capitol Hill for five years that I realized that I wasn’t alone.
A kindred feeling with Mrs. Day cemented. I was especially in awe with this line, “I felt so strongly aligned with the Democratic Party that I could not admit, even to myself, that I was pro-life.” Although, unlike Day, I didn’t know from the moment of conception to politics that I was pro-life — though probably deep inside it was there, and I was intentionally or unintelligently suppressing it.
However what confirmed my pro-life position was reading about the biological stage of fetal development. I was moved to tears learning the heartbeat can be detected within three weeks and by the second trimester, many of the organs are formed. No surprise, science, biology had convinced me. I’m a liberal after all. What the science of life was telling me was life indeed began at contraception (And yes I know that a majority of scientist disagree). Personally, a heartbeat is a sign of life.
Recently presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stated on The View that you can identify as pro-life and a feminist. Though I doubt Clinton was including pro-life Democrats in the statement, considering 63 percent of liberals identify with reproductive rights and pro-choice lobbyists, have a stronghold on the party. I still commend Clinton for making the statement and doing so affirmatively. To be honest, it’s not much of a surprise. Clinton once used to hold the belief (and the Democratic party, actually) that abortion should be “legal, safe, and rare.”
To be clear, I’m not quite ready to define abortion as illegal (with some exceptions), just yet. I think that would be immoral right now, considering the high rate of poverty among children, the stagnant wages, eroding rights to reproductive care (i.e. contraception), and conservatives incessant need to eliminate welfare programs. All these issues must be addressed and resolved first. However, for now, I would like to see the party shift back to “legal, safe, and rare.”
That said, you may not consider me a feminist, and I’m just fine with that because I know who I am. Besides, I’m no longer ashamed. I’m a proud, pro-life Democrat and feminist too.
* Quiana Fulton has donated to the Democrats For Life of America and in 2015 attended a pro-life meeting sponsored by the DFLA organization.
Quiana Fulton has a B.A in Political Science from American Military University. She is a freelance writer. You can read more of her writings online at http://www.conservativeinblue.com.
Follow her on Twitter via @BlackGrlPoli