On page three, Angel Armstead, 32 (Muslim):
I’m from a predominantly liberal, Democratic area. Being pro-choice was the accepted belief in my household. I figured that since women are the ones who are stuck with the baby, we should be the ones to choose. I probably would have considered abortion if I had gotten pregnant as a teenager. I had my own dreams and goals that I didn’t want thwarted.
In college, people challenged my beliefs, especially during my second year—2008—when there was a presidential election. A lot of my friends were Catholic. Most were pro-life. I thought, I should be more open-minded and at least read up on the issue. In my biological-anthropology class, I held the skull of a fetus I’m guessing was three to five months old. I was shocked by how developed it was. It made me wonder what a fetus goes through when aborted. It made me sick to think of inflicting that on anyone.
I went through a hard, slow transition. I don’t like the idea of telling other people what to do. I’m black and Muslim. As a child, I thought the pro-life movement was mostly white and Christian. But on the Internet, I saw that all kinds of people were pro-life. If being pro-life were only about religion, I wouldn’t be so outspoken about it.
In some ways, my decision has made things harder. I know that some pro-life people are judgmental, but I’m annoyed if others see me that way. To me, a true pro-lifer is someone who cares not only about unborn babies but also about pregnant women who need better resources to choose life.On pages four and five, Albany Rose, 21 (spiritual but not religious):
Abortion was never brought up in my family until I got pregnant at 15.My dad told me that if I did not get an abortion, I would be kicked out of the house. So I went into the clinic and had it done. For 15 days after that, I didn’t get out of bed. I felt numb and angry, and I didn’t know why, as abortion had seemed to be the best option. Rather than facing what happened, I decided to be pro-choice. I felt that being pro-life, after what I’d done, would have made me a hypocrite.
I became pregnant again at 19. And it was different from the very beginning. My boyfriend was ecstatic, thrilled. He said, “We’re going to make this work.” Then came the eight-week ultrasound. My expectation was that I was going to see a little fuzzy thing, but this was one of the clearest pictures I’ve ever seen. I could see the baby’s head, the stubs of its arms and feet, and the heart beating away, clear as day.
Seeing that not only made the pregnancy more real but also made everything else more terrifying. Because when you see a sonogram, you can’t deny there’s a life. Whether you think it’s human or not is a different story, but it’s obviously alive. Now all I could think was, What happened before? Did I kill something?
The next few months were the hardest of my life. At 16 weeks I felt my baby move for the first time, and at 20 I found out I was having a girl. I’m thinking, I’m going to meet my daughter, and then I’ll know what could have been. I lost a child that I chose to lose. Ultimately I became pro-life with no exceptions for rape or incest.On pages five and six, Diane Geiger, 43 (atheist):
If you had told my 25-year-old self that I would end up identifying as pro-life, I would have said, “No way.” I’m an urban gal, well traveled, adventurous, secular . . . People tend to assume I’m liberal when they meet me and are surprised by my views. But by way of two experiences, I stumbled upon what was inside my heart.
In 2008, I began taking care of my dad. He was diagnosed with lung cancer at 82 and beat it, but the stress on his body from the chemotherapy really wore him down. My maternal grandmother, who was 92 and frail, developed ovarian cancer two years later and also needed care. It brought out a lot of love in me, as well as a strong protective urge and a desire to ease their suffering.
I was with them the moment each passed in February 2010. Except for having been present when my cat died five years earlier, I’d never experienced death so firsthand. I became conscious of the limited amount of time people have and of the finality of death. My father and grandmother had both been remarkable people with long lives full of love and significant relationships. The more I thought about it, the more I realized: A baby in utero has the same potential. Just because we have the ability to cause conception doesn’t mean it’s OK to cause a death. To end a life before it has an opportunity to draw a breath suddenly seemed unjust, unfair and uncivilized.Thanks for your contributions, ladies!