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I’m Not (Just) Pro-Choice

On the 41st Anniversary of Roe v Wade

I used to do clinic defense, escorting women past screaming mobs. Standing up to people with their fetus signs and Bibles. I’ve sat in meditation in front of Planned Parenthood because others were doing their “40 Days of Prayer” across the street. I’ve done these things because women’s lives are sacred.

I had one abortion in my early 20s. A condom broke. It happens. The abortion wasn’t easy. It was necessary. I vowed to never have to go through one again.

That abortion saved my life.

Not my physical life, but it saved my life nonetheless, enabling me to work toward the life I have now, one which (I hope) contributes and gives back. That abortion also saved the life of whatever child that fetus would have turned into. It saved that child from a life of poverty and difficulty. It saved that child from a parent who didn’t want it and who still needed years to work through the abuse from her own childhood.

I am pro-abortion. I am pro-abortion early term. I am pro-abortion in the middle of a pregnancy. I am pro-abortion late term. Those people who think a woman in late term pregnancy wants to terminate for any but the most serious reasons? They have to be deluded. Abortion is not a walk in the park, even early term. It costs. For many of us, it just costs less than carrying a pregnancy full term.

I am pro-abortion because a parent’s life is worth more to me than the life of a zygote or a fetus.

I am pro-abortion because, in my religion, death and life walk hand in hand, as part of one great cycle.

Death and life are inextricably intertwined. To deny a woman’s power over the workings of her own body is to deny her right to foster life itself. Fostering life comes in many forms.

We are not chattel. We are not property. We are humans who are willing to face the hard choices of adulthood. Rites of passage. Sometimes the patch of carrots must be thinned for other things to grow strong and healthy. Sometimes the fire moves through the forest, so the pines can release seeds.

I have grown so many things. Yet anti-abortionists would tell me, “not enough.” As one sister wrote to me at the time, “You’ve killed one of my nieces or nephews.” As though my family doesn’t have enough children and grandchildren. As though tipping the scales at 7 billion people and counting isn’t not only enough for this planet, but far too much.

I honor the cycles of life. I honor the cycles of death. I honor my power, as a priestess, to hold out a hand to both. I clasp those hands, bringing life and death together. 

One cannot work for the liberation of all beings if one isn’t willing to sacrifice. To sacrifice is to claim power. It is an offering. The blood pours upon the altar from the calf. The incense rises. The fruits of the land are given. I offered the temporary joining of my body with another’s, that brief coming together of cells…I offered up my pain. I offered these for the promise of a life of creativity and service.

I’m still living up to that promise. I’ve needed all this time.

Thank you Roe, even though by now you’ve changed your mind. I honor your sacrifice, too.

____________________ Post Script: Lest anyone think I am chastising poor families for having children, I am not. We all have to make our own choices about whether or not raising children is within our capacity. In my particular case, having a child would have had disastrous consequences for me and whatever child was brought to bear.

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