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.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Andrea Fitzgerald

    Thank you for your honest assessment of the “christian’s” actions.

  • Larry Dawson

    Those people who scowled at you were NOT Christians, they just imagined that they were.

  • It goes both ways. In the right wing evangelical church, as a child mother you were verboten even though you had chosen life. In the progressive church, I’m sure they said in your heads, “Why the heck didn’t she get an abortion?”

    But not all churches are like that. Other teen mothers have written about how a church welcomed them in and provided them with all kinds of support.

  • Bonnie Rice

    It’s really sad that there are Christians, who ought to understand that we are all sinners, so determined to judge others–whether it’s a teen mother or any woman walking into a Planned Parenthood clinic–as if their own sins were somehow less, as if they even knew enough to compare, as if Jesus didn’t command them to love their neighbor even if she sometimes makes choices they don’t agree with. I wish I could believe that they were serious about wanting to prevent abortions, but they ignore every opportunity to fix the reasons women have abortions and instead just work on blocking access and trying to outlaw the procedure. It’s sad. It’s not Christlike. And it doesn’t really work that way.

  • adriancrutch

    …basically it’s all about controlling your mind and body…unless your baby looked like this abomination…lol…and good luck… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cb452b92e8449b2018639fdc6b90a9cc10b0fefa47a4528cd9b7759aff324927.jpg

  • Thank you for sharing your experience. I agree completely with your opinion, and wish also that the boy who got you pregnant also held some responsibility for your journey. Thank you again.

  • erika willis

    Pure conjecture on your part. Have you stepped foot in a “progressive church?” You might be shocked to realize that Jesus’ teachings are about as progressive as they get.

  • Max

    They also are generally opposed to contraception, because “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.” That’s their outlook and so it you don’t like it don’t visit their churches, where furriners are unwelcome anyway. So there’s no need to be kind because their big shot patriarch says they don’t have to be,. And as for Jesus, you will find that far more Christians love Leviticus than they love Luke and his Gospel associates.

  • Max

    I no longer believe in evolution.

  • Progressive anti-Christian insensitive remark that shows your self-absorption is so high it eclispses the author’s pain from making the correct decision. You should consider why it is you connected the two.

  • Obviously…

    Not a progressive remark, just a rude one. While rudeness seems to be everywhere, it isn’t everyone. This progressive is sorry they posted it.

  • Max

    What is UP with Christians? Nervous, uptight, no social skills, under-educated, out of shape, their faces wrinkled like parchment and frozen in self-righteous disapproving frowns. You know who you are. I might add, virtually illiterate. I once had a boss whose religion (Christian) forbade dancing and music. He was a stupid as stupid can be.

  • Max

    Wrong. They were my favorite kind of Christians (see above for my description of Christians are like.)

  • Rev. Jeannette Solimine

    No most of us would not ask such a stupid question. Most progressive Christians don’t like abortion either. We just tend not to think it should be illegal and we tend not to second guess the choice of the woman with regards to her choice. We would support her and love her and her child if she showed up at our church.

  • Lawrence

    Well written and well said. My wife had her first child at 15. The “good Christians” in her life insisted that she give her daughter away, the teen baby-Dad had no interest. She didn’t and I adopted the child when we married. I am glad she didn’t as is she. We have been together for over 50 years, our children grew up to be Mommies themselves and productive members of the community. Religion may have some benefits but sometimes we need to set it aside in order to be ethically humane people.

  • Please list the top two teachings of Jesus that align with Progressives.

  • Alexandra

    Sadly, many churches are the most toxic places, and I really don’t understand why it should be so.

  • Pan Unicorn

    Give away all your stuff to help the poor (“eye of the needle” etc)
    Love everyone as you love yourself

  • Thanks. Love has been preached in all the churches for 2000 years. A Progressive church that does not preach Love would be an anomally.
    Has anyone in your church given all their stuff away?

  • C_Alan_Nault

    For one thing, the very concept of a religion is designed to separate people into 2 sets, Us ( the members of the religion) & Them ( everyone who is not a member of the religion).

  • Kyllein MacKellerann “

    From my own observations, most Christians-aren’t. What they are are Denominational Hypocrites. This religion of Hypocrisy covers many denominations; Christian, Moslem. Hindu, Judaism, you name it. It is also the oldest religion on the planet, and one that most of the Gods despise above all else. Focus on your own spiritual growth and ignore the others around you; they are not with you or supportive of you. Befriend the few who honestly try to live a goodly life, they’re out there and yes, you can find them The rest, be polite and respectful, be kind and considerate; and remember “That which you would have others do unto you, do you unto them”. That will guide you to the few who can be called your friends.

  • fractal

    Her Choice.

  • bluearkie

    I disagree with your assessment of the reaction of a progressive church. Much more likely they would have been supportive whether she had kept the baby or had an abortion. It’s about having choices.

  • Mr. James Parson

    If they were baptised and / or Born again, they were 100% Christian (by certain definitions)

  • Mr. James Parson

    If he didn’t do it willingly, the law should have gone after him and forced him to.

  • Sugarman Design

    Thank you for sharing. I believe your experience and am sorry that you had to live through this hypocrisy. I’m not a Christian, but encountered similar judgement growing up in our Temple. In this case, I had a brother that was gay. Our religious community did zero to love and support him unconditionally. Since then I have come to know and respect many religious people. They keep their faith to themselves and do not find it necessary to publicly demonstrate their virtue. They are stronger, better people for it. The problem is Organized Religion. When people congregate in groups, be they Christians, Jews, Moslems, etc… they tend to make rules for others, reasons they do or don’t belong in their group. That’s when the hypocrisy starts every time.

  • soter phile

    Ask her daughter.

  • soter phile

    Ironies abound.

  • soter phile

    did you read the article? she explicitly said otherwise.

  • soter phile

    I’m sure you wouldn’t trade your daughter now for all the money in the world.

    Glad to see you’re fighting for a whole-life understanding of what it means to be ‘pro-life.’

  • AntithiChrist

    It’s really sad that there are Christians.

    The good ones would have been good anyway.

    The bad ones would have been bad anyway.

    The good ones who were twisted to the point of condemning others for life choices…that sort of thing takes a Christian community.

    Strange old world.

  • Rusty Inman

    The absence of a loud, dissenting, collective voice from the evangelical “pro-life” community in the face of the hideous cruelties exacted by the Trump administration on undocumented children/parents at the southern border gives one serious pause per the credibility of continuing to characterize its adherents as “pro-life.” Ronald Sider, the well-respected progressive evangelical scholar, provides a simple but damning descriptive of the evangelical “pro-life” paradigm which gives rise to this hypocrisy when he notes that “they believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth.”

    Essentially:

    As long as an embryo/fetus is unseen and unheard, as long as the mother’s body is taking care of its needs, they preen about being “a voice for the voiceless”—as if the mother had no “voice” in the matter. But, once that child exits the business end of the birth canal, they offer “thoughts and prayers” and perhaps a MAGA hat for Mom as they disappear over the far horizon.

    Of course, should Mom be an undocumented person who is separated from that child during an ICE raid and deported sans her young’un, she might, as her bus pulls out of the detention center, see some familiar faces among the “pro-life” crowd ranting about “illegals” and carrying signs that say “No Room in the Inn.”

  • Hans-Georg Lundahl

    I recall a teen mum of thirteen in the Catholic (Neo-Catholic) parish, I admired her, but was bashful and didn’t come out.

    One of the reasons I’d like to have marital age lowered back to early teens, she would have had a totally different life with her daughter, if she could have married the father.

  • DBxyz

    I am confused. The progressive church you went to was anti-abortion? Then in what sense was it progressive? Did they think women who had abortions only went to the second level of hell instead of the eight?

  • SCUBAsabre

    NO she was talking about “The Pro-Life Movement Through the Eyes of a Teen Mom” which by definition is NOT Progressive Christianity. Perhaps you should reread the article yourself.

  • onlein

    Back in the late 1950s, before I graduated from high school, one of my classmates was the oldest in a large Catholic family, the only boy with 8 sisters. During the week, gossip spread about the oldest girl being pregnant. There was expectation on Sunday morning: would the whole family take their usual place up front, filling one and a half pews? They did and she received communion along with the rest of the family except those too young to do so. I had hoped they would do this, was proud of them. She was clearly part of the family. I’m surprised I realized the importance of this at the time, the Christian example, as I was like your average clueless boy teenager.