When I Was “Pro-Choice”

choose-life-blasck-bg-featured-w480x300There was a time in my life when I was “pro-choice.”  I was raised by parents who were adamantly pro-life members of the Baptist church in the small Georgia town where I grew up, but their passion for this cause had little effect on me at the time.  When I left the Baptist church as a teenager, my immaturity and rebellion against any kind of faith allowed little room in my thinking for considering how I felt about abortion.  The next two decades spent in the “spiritual wilderness” saw my youthful apathy morph into a detached “pro-choice” attitude.  I would not fully embrace being pro-life until I began studying Catholic teaching prior to my conversion to the Church in 2005.

Knowing how strongly I feel about defending the lives of unborn children now, it is sometimes hard for me to understand how I ever considered myself pro-choice.  I can look back and see the steady diet of lies I was fed by our culture for years that subtly maneuvered the public argument into being about a woman’s right to choose instead of the more important right for a baby to live.  I espoused the common yet ridiculous mantra that I was personally opposed to abortion, but respected a woman’s right to choose.  What a cop out!  When I was single, I saw protecting babies as a distant issue that affected other people.  It wasn’t my body or my child so I was comfortable staying disconnected and content with my pro-choice views.  Then I got married and started a family of my own… and everything changed.

I am a proud husband and father of two boys ages 15 and 12.  When my wife was pregnant with our first child, my pro-choice leanings began to erode against the wave of deep love I felt for the baby my wife carried in her womb.  The first time I saw an ultrasound of my firstborn and saw his tiny heartbeat I knew I would love this child forever.  Later, I marveled as I saw his tiny feet push against my wife’s stomach and I understood that this energetic child would be a blessing in our lives.  This miracle of life was played out again a few years later when our younger son was born and I witnessed anew the growth of our child in my wife’s womb.  I remember wondering back then how anyone who had seen an ultrasound of a baby or a tiny foot pushing against a pregnant woman’s stomach could ever use the word “fetus” to describe a fully alive little human being who was waiting to join the world.

When our oldest son was diagnosed with autism at 27 months of age, my love for him only grew stronger.  I have never wondered about how much easier our lives would be if he had developed as a typical child or perhaps if we had not had a child at all.  He has challenges, but our lives are immeasurably better because he is our son and we would never wish for a different life.

Because my children have deeply touched my heart and helped me to understand the capacity I had to truly love others, I was better prepared to embrace the teachings of the Catholic Church in 2005 when my wife and I began our individual journeys towards the Truth of the Catholic Church.  I was largely past my pro-choice positions and I certainly loved my family, but I was not yet fully where I needed to be.  I needed to immerse myself in learning what it truly meant to be pro-life.  Studying Church teaching has opened my eyes to the truth and logic of the pro-life position the Church has always held.  Protecting all human life from conception to natural death is part of Church teaching and as a Catholic, I must do everything in my ability to actively support this position.

In today’s world, babies are increasingly looked upon as a disease to be treated rather than a human life to be celebrated and cherished.   Our materialistic culture lures us down the path of self-indulgent and selfish living, often at the expense of being open to God’s plan for children in our lives.  We are inundated with false arguments that population control will save the planet and allow us to live our lives as we wish.  One only has to look at declining birth rates in Japan and Western Europe to see the logical conclusion to this insane path.  I often share this profound and relevant quote from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta with others:  “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

For those readers who may be pro-choice or simply apathetic about supporting all life, please take a minute and reflect on the miracle of life that I described from my own experience.  Ponder the absolute miracle of God’s creation as you consider the growth of a baby from a few cells to a wonderful blessing several months later.  This is no lump of tissue or fetus.  This is a human being who should be protected and loved from the moment of conception until natural death.

I am not preaching at you.  I have humbly shared in this post that I once held misguided views on abortion until my eyes were opened.  For me, the path to becoming pro-life had five basic steps:

  1. Being open to the miracle of God’s creation
  2. Loving my children more than I loved myself
  3. Studying Catholic teaching on the necessity of protecting all life from conception until natural death
  4. The Sacrament of Reconciliation
  5. Prayer

If you consider yourself pro-choice or approve of abortion in any way, please reflect on the contents of this post.  Seek answers.  Take this to prayer and listen for God’s voice.  The world needs to pull back from the abyss and recognize that we have for too long condoned the murder of innocent children.  We need to end this now and everyone must do their part. “Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants.”  (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)

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Randy Hain, Senior Editor for The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the author of The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work which was released by Liguori Publications. The Catholic Briefcase is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, Aquinas and More Catholic Goods and your local Catholic bookstore.

The Catholic Briefcase was voted the Best Catholic Book of 2011 in the About.com Catholicism Reader’s Choice Awards.

Randy Hain’s exciting new book, Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith was  released by Liguori Publications in November, 2012 and is available in your local Catholic bookstores, Aquinas and More Catholic Goods and on Amazon.  His third book, Something More: A Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life, will be released on March 1st, 2013 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Looking for a Catholic Speaker?  Check out Randy’s speaker’s page and the rest of the ICL Speaker’s Bureau.


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