One year ago today I woke up and checked my blog’s stats. I had known when I had written it that the previous day’s post—How I Lost Faith in the Pro-Life Movement—would be well-read, and was curious to see what the total number of page views had been. The answer: 19,179. I was thrilled. Only one post—This Is the Most Important Election of All Time! (Again)—had ever gotten more page views. I then checked how many page views I’d had so far the current day, thinking that the number would be fairly low since it was only 7 a.m. And that was when I got my real shock. The answer was over 22,000 page views. At 7 a.m. I double checked. I triple checked. I was sure there was some mistake. There was no mistake.
My post was going viral.
I knew my post would strike a nerve, and I had indeed put more time into it than I put into most posts. I had something to say, something I felt was important, and I desperately wanted to communicate it. I just hadn’t realized how much of a nerve it would strike. It began like this:
The spring of my sophomore year of college I was president of my university’s Students for Life chapter. The fall of my junior year of college I cut my ties with the pro-life movement. Five years later I have lost the last shred of faith I had in that movement. This is my story.
And it went viral. On its second day, my blog got a total of 103,463 page views. The following day, the total was 113,018 page views. Over the following four days, my page views declined gradually, but remained high—first 53,425, then 51,306, then 25,124, then 24,790.
In the week after I posted my piece about losing faith in the pro-life movement, I got 390,305 page views. To put this in perspective, the previous week I had gotten only 42,224 page views. In other words, that week I got almost ten times as many page views as I was used to. And the comments rolled in by the hundreds and thousands. Positive comments, oh so many positive comments, but also mixed with some horrified responses. People told me I had changed their perception of the issue. People told me that because of me, they would from now on identify as pro-choice. Other people told me that I had sold out, been blinded, or listened to the voice of Satan. It was overwhelming, humbling, and awe-inspiring.
The number of page views that post has garnered over the past twelve months? 653,537. In the weeks and months that followed, I wrote numerous followups. Here is a listing of the major ones:
Over the past year, I have written dozens of posts dealing with different aspects of the abortion issue. You can scroll through them here. As a result of everything that came out of my viral post, I decided to become active on this issue in real life as well, and began volunteering as an escort at my local Planned Parenthood. I wrote two posts on my experiences:
About six months or so ago, I began training to do counseling at Planned Parenthood and began working on the inside rather than simply on the outside. Since then, I have spoken with dozens of abortive women face to face. I have seen their resolve, their tears, their hopes, and their fears. What I’ve experienced in this position has only served to back up and confirm everything I wrote in my viral post one year ago. That single post has changed my life, and the lives of others along with it.