Pro Choice and Pro Abortion!
When I was 16 and had just received my driver’s license, when a girlfriend came to me with a request for which I had no idea how to fulfill. She said she had gone to a party, gotten drunk, and woke up with blood on her in a sleazy hotel near to where the party had been held.
Obviously, she had had unprotected sex. In the 1970s, at the age of 18, she was scared of her parent’s fury. She thought she might get arrested for drinking under age and truly had no idea who had had sex with her. This last reason became the scariest part of this scenario. Her friends who hosted the party told Grace that she had passed out on a lounge chair on the patio. That was the last they had seen of her. They thought she had walked home.
In tears, she shared with me (her best gay friend) that she was pregnant and asked if I would help her?
At the time I was a Catholic and firmly believed in the church’s stance on abortion. Quite honestly I believed that I was probably going to go to hell for being gay, as well. This was my conundrum: How do I help Grace? She loved me unconditionally, knowing that I was gay and in a world that few understood. Could I be the same kind of friend she was for her without judgment?
Grace was very popular in school. She was on the prom court, a cheerleader, dated a football player, and was afraid to talk to anyone else but me. Her worst fears were that her parents (also Catholic), teachers, and friends would find out about her problem and she would be ridiculed in reclusivity. Ultimately, the rest of her life would be tainted by this one mistake.
More than anything, she felt she had some unknown person’s baby about to grow inside of her. She simply wanted to get rid of the evidence of that night in her mind and in her body. As much as I wanted to help her, my heart was sickened by both choices. I truly adored my friend and felt blessed that she turned to only me for trust and help, but clearly was too young to make a choice like this.
In the late 1970s, clinics existed in Pittsburgh (the closest large city to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania) that could help Grace. They would even provide counseling, which I could be a part of.
With much resistance in my heart, praying fervently to God for guidance, I agreed to take her to the center where we would both discover all of her choices. I told my mother I was going to a tap class in Pittsburgh, picked up Grace in Mom’s Chevy Impala, and on we went to a very distressed community Clinic in the suburbs of North Pittsburgh around the football stadium.
The woman who took Grace’s case was a licensed social worker. She anxious to answer all of our questions before she shared the choices Grace had before her. Because Grace was so scared, she asked me to go first.
My biggest question was: Could I help someone who wants to get an abortion without really believing in it for myself?
It was then the social worker took me by the hand and said, “Honey, you are so brave to help Grace. You’re a wonderful friend. But, what YOU ARE and what kind of choices YOU MAKE, or even your strongest beliefs are NOT Grace’s choices. You are not GRACE.
Taking her to this session for counseling in hopes of her changing her mind would not be doing Grace any favors. What Grace needed was to know that her choice was her own—not mine, not her parent’s, not the government’s, certainly not any man’s, and not the doctor’s either. Granted this is probably the greatest choice she has probably ever had to make. This choice must be her own. The social worker shared that I should not in any way feel that Grace’s choice is my choice.
The therapist asked me if I could be this kind of friend.
I looked into Grace’s teary eyes and realized that my love for Grace was much bigger than my idea of sin and death. This moment in my young life was probably the first time I had taken my own stance about anything religious. I wasn’t sure if I would get struck down by lightning or get sent to hell. But I absolutely knew that my Love for Grace and God’s Love in me would move through me to be the best friend I could be.
I answered, yes, to the social worker.
I want you to know that it doesn’t matter in the end what choice Grace ultimately made. I learned on that special day that the difference between being Pro-Abortion and Pro-Choice was mine, not anyone else’s. It wasn’t Grace’s choice, it wasn’t my church’s choice, it wasn’t my parent’s choice. It was mine. In that moment, that social worker had empowered me in a way she will probably never know.
Pro Choice has little to do with being in favor of Abortion and has everything to do with allowing an adult woman to make her own choices about her body.
I hear many Republicans saying that they are Pro-Life and not Pro-Abortion, which makes them hold fast to their Republican nominee, no matter who it is. I have heard few Republicans say the words Pro Choice or even know if they understand the different.
Honestly, that’s why I’m writing this letter to you. Know the difference before you vote for a leader you don’t respect.
Bo Sebastian (names have been changed to protect the identity of my friend)