I was a rabid pro-lifer in high school and wore the ABORTION IS MURDER t-shirt to school regularly. I attended the March for Life in DC* with my youth group twice.
I am SO sorry, World.
Sometime in college it occurred to me through logical, empathetic thinking that unwanted pregnancy must be a very scary and difficult position to be in, and I couldn’t help but have the utmost respect for any woman who made a choice for herself and her life, whatever her choice was. That was a turning point for me, somehow suddenly recognizing the human—the woman—involved in the situation. I was skeptical about different aspects of the Church since** about middle school, but I had no support for those thoughts, and it took a long time to get to where I am today on my own.
There was no argument up to that point that could topple my righteous fight for the unborn, for whom their faceless mothers should feel compelled to give their lives at any cost because they had already had their shot, already made their choice. I believed it all. I'd been raised Catholic, attended Sunday school every week, every year up through the eighth grade when I was confirmed, and then was an active member of the high school youth group.
I was fed a lot of statistics about the relationship between abortion, depression, breast cancer, etc., and I believed it all. They (the youth pastors) told us too that there were far fewer abortions before Roe v. Wade, and that was proof that banning it would decrease the number happening, that the back alley abortion was an insignificant number, mythical almost. I’ve since learned international statistics don’t support that and that all the other stuff is false, too. Banning abortion does not decrease the number of abortions that happen; but it does increase the danger of the procedure and does kill more women.
I try not to dwell on the pain I perhaps caused and the misinformation I spread in the past because it would surely crush me. All I can do is learn more and say more, be informed and inform others, and hope that I will have a lifetime ahead of me to counteract my actions in the first 18 years.
*I have some beautiful pictures of the cathedral that I'll try to find and share.
**Or maybe younger. I know I asked my mom why girls couldn't be altar servers. My parish changed its policy after I was too old to serve.
Recommended reading: Here is a really well-written memoir about one woman's loss of faith in the pro-life movement because the movement is not interested in lowering the number of abortions or unwanted pregnancies. It's long but very informative with lots of good links throughout to support her assertions and statistics.