Seminary Taught Me to be Pro-Choice.

16 Apr

The following is a guest post from a woman named Amy L.

In my first 30 years of living, I never once called myself pro-choice.  I am 33, and I have called myself pro-choice just in the last couple of years.  I am the last person my friends or my family would suspect of being pro-choice.  Yet here I am.  It has been a long journey.

I was raised in a rural, Southern community.  I attended a rural Southern Baptist church.  I am from a conservative family.  And for a long time, I didn’t stray much from those pro-Republican, pro-family values that we hear so much about.  I learned how to be like the people around me.  I knew the reasons I should be anti-gay rights, anti-abortion, woman-submissive, etc.  And I could tell anyone those reasons.  They made sense…to that girl and young woman that I was then.  I even attended a semester at Focus on the Family learning all about the “Christian worldview.”  I made an A on the tests there, but I was really just repeating what I had been taught.  I know that throughout my undergraduate education, I was not thinking for myself.

Ironically, I started really learning about what I believed in divinity school.  Maybe it was unlike anyone else’s experience in a seminary, but by the end of my third year, I had become more open-minded.  It started when I sensed that I was called to be a preacher.  Some baptists don’t like that very much because I am a woman.  My divinity school encouraged it, thankfully; but if this idea of woman-submission could be shattered, I realized that other ideals I had been brought up with might need some examination.

After divinity school, I called myself a pro-life democrat.  Even after I had become pro-immigrant, pro-social justice, pro-gay rights, becoming pro-choice was the last thing to fall into place.  Truly only in the past year have I been able to call myself pro-choice.  How did this happen?  How did any of these changes happen?  Because of relationships and civil dialogue.  Because I read personal accounts and looked at both sides of the issues.  I really gave this issue a lot of thought.

I am pro-choice because every woman has a choice to make when facing any pregnancy.  I figured this out after watched The Daily Show during the Republican National Convention in 2008 when Samantha Bee brought up the issue that Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol really did make a choice when she chose to carry her pregnancy to term.  It is a choice at the most basic level.  It is a choice that only a woman can make–not white men in politics.  Whether it is made automatically by a pro-life woman desiring to have a child or a woman who chooses to abort because she can’t feed another mouth, it is a choice.  Choices that are antagonizing or joyous or exhausting or whatever.  Pregnancy is a personal event, and the choice is also personal.

I am a stay-at-home mom in suburbia.  I have faced both miscarriage and unplanned pregnancy.  I have three great boys who I want to raise to be feminists.  The more I see of life, the less I see in black and white.  Everything is a shade of gray to me now.  The preacher in me knows that God is not seeking a world where people condemn.  Instead it has to be a world that loves despite differences.  A world where relationship is valued above spouting a line of scripture taken out of a different cultural place and time.

I am pro-choice.  How did that happen?  Just remember what I used to be and see where I am now.  It is possible for someone who is pro-life to become pro-choice.


3 Responses to “Seminary Taught Me to be Pro-Choice.”

  1. Peggy April 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this story. I feel that leaders in the Christian community have a great opportunity to be advocates for social justice and to encourage others to reach out to marginalized groups. I know that it’s not always easy to be pro-choice in certain environments; your courage is inspiring!!

  2. Not Guilty April 16, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    One thing that I always wonder is what is it that I can say to a pro-lifer to help them see why what they believe is so wrong. I am certain that some of them hold on to the belief because that is how they were raised, and it never occurs to them that maybe they are wrong. I do accept that they really think they are right. So I wonder, do you have any advice on what sorts of things might “get through” to pro-lifers? I am definitely NOT trying to look down on pro-lifers from my high horse. But I truly believe that if they actually understood all the issues, and not just the pieces they are “fed”, they would reconsider. Maybe I am fooling myself, but I really just want to give pro-lifers all the information and dispel the lies that they are often told.

  3. KushielsMoon April 17, 2010 at 12:31 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! It’s always good for religious voices to speak up in the prochoice crowd.

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