The Pro-Life Movement Through the Eyes of a Teen Mom

The Pro-Life Movement Through the Eyes of a Teen Mom July 31, 2019
Photo Credit Anh Nguyen via Unsplash

When I was 15, I got pregnant.

I walked into a teen sexual health clinic to get some birth control and a free goody bag of flavored condoms and lube and walked out with pamphlets about growing humans.

I grew up in an Evangelical home. I knew sex before marriage was considered to be one of the evilest of sins. It’s the sin that gives away pieces of your soul that you can never get back. That’s the b.s. that Christianity had told me anyway – which clearly didn’t stop me.

After I got the news, as far as I could tell I had two options. I could either get an abortion and go on living my life completely normal or continue with the pregnancy out-of-wedlock and all the shame that comes with a being a kid shopping at the maternity store instead of American Eagle.

My dad had always been active in the pro-life circuit and a few months prior to finding out I was pregnant; I came across one of his anti-abortion books. A book with pictures. In color. A book created to scare people out of abortions in a very manipulative manner.

As I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my life, the disturbing images from this book had become ingrained into my mind and I knew wasn’t going to have an abortion and decided to have my daughter.

Naturally I was terrified to tell my dad about the pregnancy, but I figured that it was inevitable that he would find out eventually. So I decided to call him when he was out on a walk with my stepmom and then cried in bed until he got home. To my surprise my dad came into my room, told me he loved me, hugged me, and told me it would be okay.

I had the support of my family, which was huge. I don’t know how I would have done it otherwise. I am privileged af. The vast majority of people who become pregnant in difficult situations don’t have that privilege.

White American Christianity seems to hate abortion more than anything else.

Like right now this second there are children that our nation stole from their family dying in our custody at the southern border and most pro-life claiming Christians are simply chillin’ in silence or proactively supporting American concentration camps. But if a new Planned Parenthood goes up, then they show up with signs and megaphones and curse young women going to get a routine Pap, condemning them to hellfire or whatever.

So, you would think in the eyes of the pro-lifers, I made the right choice. I didn’t have an abortion, they should be proud of me right?

The first time I walked into a church, 16 years old with a baby on my hip, I will never forget the looks I got, it was as if I had kicked a puppy on the way in. They did not approve, they didn’t even try to hide their disdain, and this was a pattern.

Even when I went to a more progressive church, the stares were sharp.

I made the choice they wanted me to make. I kept my child and I was even a pretty good mom, but it didn’t matter to them.

I was an impurity that they didn’t want to be contaminated with.

I would have never admitted it at the time, but random strangers’ blatant disapproval of me as a human, hurt. I felt small. There was so much unwarranted shame.

These people were Christians, they claimed to be good people, loving people, but I had never felt so unwelcome than I did crossing through the threshold of church doors. Any church doors.

The thing is, if I would have had an abortion, I would have been welcomed with smiles. There would have been no stares. I bet they would even have invited me to youth group or some crap.

The hypocrisy screams loudly on many levels.

As I put it in Not Your White Jesus: It’s almost as if the value is not in life itself, but in the idea of appearing righteous in the stance of “pro-life” because really, it’s easy to argue that abortion is wrong without any sort of perceived personal costs.

When White-Jesus Christians picket abortion clinics and call young women murderers – they lose nothing. There is no personal cost. It’s not like they are out there offering these young, terrified women who feel there is no other option another way out. They don’t actually have to do anything; they are sacrificing nothing.

If we claim all life is precious and actually mean it, we should be willing to make sacrifices so that others can have things like clean drinking water, food, shelter, breath in their lungs—instead of cutting funding for children’s health-care programs so that billionaires can get a tax cut.

 It’s hard to argue that you are pro-life if you are also campaigning against social welfare programs like affordable housing, food assistance, and free daycare—things that give people who are in a tough spot a chance at being able to successfully parent a child.

Even if the passion of your soul lies on the issue of abortion, your votes are undermining the very goal you are striving for. We can’t stand behind people who will take away free contraceptives and then wonder why the abortion rate climbs.

If we can picket an abortion clinic but won’t offer a dime to help give young women a chance to either prevent the situation in the first place or fight to enable a system that will allow them to be able to parent successfully, then we’re not even pro-life when it comes to abortion. We are not even really pro-birth.

About Sheri Faye Rosendahl

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