As some readers of my blog may know, recently I had a baby (yay!) and the events of my pregnancy pushed me to finally take a pro-life stance after being pro-choice for most of my life. In this post I would like to outline why exactly I became pro life. First I’ll discuss what my position was before hand, then I’ll go into the sequence of events that caused me to change my mind.
As long as I can remember I was always pro-choice. Our liberal culture and politics have always pushed pro-choice as the correct stance on abortion, typically invoking incest and rape as the reason that women should have the right to end their pregnancies. This always made sense to me. After all, why should you have to keep a baby that was conceived when you were raped? That sounded cruel and illogical and so was never a position I supported.
And that’s about as much as I thought about abortion. It wasn’t something that was ever at the forefront of my mind, unless it for some reason made headlines in the newspapers, such as during an election. Then public discourse would revolve around a woman’s right to choose and reproductive rights, and in my mind I would reaffirm to myself that I am pro-choice and that was that. I firmly believed a woman should be able to choose what happens to her body, that no man should dare dictate what a woman should do with her body, and that even if abortion was objectively immoral, what the woman wanted still and always took precedent.
Occasionally I would have debates with friends about if and when abortion should be illegal, and while I never thought much about specific numbers of weeks, I did concede that late-term abortion was wrong. However, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you specifically what I thought was an acceptable time to end pregnancy in terms of weeks as my thinking had never delved into such specifics. All of that was hazy for me. I simply stuck with the usual line of thinking that abortion should be allowed because, well, what about rape and incest. I also at that point didn’t know the specifics about how a baby develops in the womb (more on that later).
Introduction to the Pro-Life Side
Enter Ben Shapiro. My first real encounter with the pro-life side was via Ben Shapiro’s Young America’s Foundation (YAF) talks. This was a few years ago when my fiancée and I started dating. He is more conservative than I am and pro-life and so I started to think that maybe I should understand the other side of the issue more. I specialized in philosophy at the University of Toronto and so I always enjoyed debating and talking about different issues. As such, I had no problem with wanting to learn more.
This isn’t to say that my fiancée was adamant that I change my mind or anything like that. It was just one of the many things we talked about when we started dating and since he took the conservative stance on many issues it made me want to learn more.
Women Have Superpowers
Back to Ben. One day I was watching one of Ben’s many YAF talks on YouTube and he was talking about feminism and abortion when he said the most incredible thing I had ever heard in my life. And that is not an exaggeration. He said women have the superpower to create a human from their own bodies.
In that moment, I started to change my mind.
I had never, ever heard anyone phrase conception, pregnancy, and birth as a superpower. Sure, we hear about the miracle of life all the time but that is so often said throughout our lives that I failed to see the inherent contradiction in believing that life is a miracle and also supporting the termination of that miracle.
Women have a superpower.
It’s hard to overstate the effect this phrasing had on me. It’s probably exactly the effect that Ben wanted to have. And what can I say, it worked. It worked because it’s true! I immediately thought back to long-ago conservations I’d had with women who didn’t want to be defined by their bodies. All of a sudden that line of thinking seemed so silly to me. Women are capable of creating new life with their bodies! What a beautiful, incredible thing! Maybe it seems mundane because we are so used to it, since this is how mammals work, after all, but I think it’s worth it to take a step back and really think about what an incredible feat it is to grow a baby in your body.
(As an aside, I know you might think that women shouldn’t be defined by their bodies because some women unfortunately can’t conceive and that doesn’t make them women any less. This, of course, is true, but it doesn’t deny the fact that biologically men provide the sperm and women provide the egg and the uterus and the womb to grow the baby.)
Pregnancy and Baby!
- In week five (which is actually only week three after conception), your baby starts to form its neural tube and brain, with a rudimentary head.
- In week six (so week four after conception), the head is forming more, including the cheeks, jaw, and chin. The heart starts beating, and the liver, kidney, and lungs start forming.
- By week seven, the umbilical cord, hands, and feet start developing. And 100 brain cells are generated per minute.
- By week eight, the lips, nose, and eyelids have formed and all essential organs have started to develop.
- By week 10, bones and cartilage are forming.