I found this article on a former pro-lifer’s cross over to a pro choice stance, and was moved by her words. Not just in terms of her own personal story, but her statememnts regarding the racism the informs many of the pro-lifer’s and their political stance regarding abortion.
This was a compelling read.
Also a very fascinating site in general; one that explores the gender politics of our era and the stories of the women who are effected by the patriarchy’s institutionalised mysogyny.
Six months before I became pregnant, I marched the streets of Washington, D.C. Every January 22nd, the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, thousands of ˜pro-lifers” from all over the country pour into the streets to protest. The year I turned eighteen, I was one of them. How could I have known that in less than a year I would become one of “those women” against whom we were marching?
I will never forget the night before the march. The vigil. The one that ends with Catholic Mass in the Basilica. I was in awe, very aware of the “privilege” to share in the occasion with bishops and cardinals from all over the world. The splendor of this church alone. And there were so many men, indeed, most of them were.
During a moment of silence, from several rows behind came the blood-curdling screams, those of a woman. She screamed with her whole being, in protest of the church, the gathering of all these men, and against our efforts to end legalized abortion. Right then it seemed to me that all of the bodies present should have been able to absorb or buffer the screams of one lone woman. But her voice, her message, resounded throughout the Basilica, and went right to my very core.
I never actually saw her. As this woman was wrestled down and led out, the Mass continued as if nothing had happened. Nothing. Wait a minute. I can’t even begin to describe the way her screams tore through me. I did not see one person turn around. I had been standing next to a priest who grabbed hold of me, physically keeping me from turning and acknowledging her. But it was too late. I recognized something in this woman’s voice. And while I had no idea what it was, I’d never felt so afraid as I did that moment. My tears came and wouldn’t stop. Another young woman nearby was as affected, and she and I clung together, sobbing and rocking into one another, waiting for the Mass to end.
The next day’s march was filled with people toting all kinds of pictures of mutilated fetuses. We were excited to take pictures of the most grotesque, most ‘convincing’ signs we found. Many people brought their young children and babies to the march. My friends and I decided to pose with one for a picture because we thought it made a statement. I’m sure I still have it somewhere, the picture of me and Jessica and Laura with some smiling baby among swarms of huge, blown up photos of bloody fetuses. For me, it was all about the babies. Saving them. Sending them into good, Christian families who weren’t able to have their own. It seemed so obvious to me, especially with the baby shortage they talked so much about in religion class. Individual couples were waiting years to adopt while so many women aborted their babies.
So imagine my excitement, following the initial shock and shame of an unintended pregnancy, to be able to do the ‘right thing’. My plan was to tell my parents once arrangements had been made. With ease, I found a program out east, Circle of Love or something like that. The woman with whom I spoke was great. She was delighted to tell me about their program, and even more delighted to receive answers to the questions about my background: White, upper-middle class, excellent health and education, and college-bound. She commended me for my bravery, and empathized with my situation. I had just graduated from high school the month before, and in the fall I was to go away to the University of Tennessee, where I had accepted a cheerleading scholarship. Really, we surmised, if this had to happen, there wasn’t a better time in my life. Rather than go away to school, I would go out east for a year. The agency was ready to pay for my housing, any counseling I might need, even college courses while I waited to have the baby. I would even be allowed to aide in choosing the adoptive family, and was assured the child would be placed in an affluent one, where they would have endless opportunities. She helped me envision my return to Tennessee the following fall, where I could just pick up the poms again and nobody would ever have to be the wiser. It all seemed very romantic.
But then came the questions about the ‘father’, my then-boyfriend Dennis. She should have been delighted to know that he, too, came from a ‘good’ background, one nearly identical to mine. As I told her about him and his plans for college in the fall, something was happening on the other end of the line. Something was terribly wrong, the fading connection seemed almost tangible. Her breathing, her tone, everything had changed. With these words, it was all over: “Oh. Well, I’m really very sorry, but we just don’t have a demand for bi-racial children. Our program won’t be able to help you.”
Dennis was black.
So. It wasn’t about babies after all, but about white babies. They didn’t tell us that in religion class, nor did they mention it at the march. But wait! Open any newspaper and you can find couples advertising, selling themselves as loving parents who wish to complete their lives with your baby. Yes. Your white baby.
From: Sexing the Political