Students for Life encounters many “minds changed” during our outreach on campuses nationwide. Sometimes, it only takes one educated, civilized conversation. But everyone is completely unique, and their conversions from pro-choice to pro-life reflect that. A California student, who wished to remain anonymous, recently shared her interesting conversion story with us, and how she went from pro-choice antagonizer to pro-life advocate.
Often, we hear a commonality in pro-life conversion stories – a sort of “aha” moment. A single, life-changing instant or experience that sets everything in motion. For this young woman, it was a literal nightmare. Though it’s not an officially diagnosable health condition, between 2% and 8% of the adult population is plagued by recurrent nightmares (or night terrors). They can be caused by a wide range of factors and can induce psychological damage, including anxiety and depression, and even physical harm as a result of sleep deprivation.
Coming Back Home to the Pro-Life Movement
By a California Student
I didn’t start off my journey as being pro-choice. In fact, at the very beginning, I remember considering myself to be pro-life. I knew that taking the life of an unborn baby just didn’t seem right to me. That all changed, however, when I opened one of my first social media accounts at the age of 14 and decided to make a pro-life piece of art.
In my art piece, there was an unborn baby talking to her mother. I think it stated that she would have been a few months or years old today, but that she never had the chance to be born and so she would never the chance to open her eyes, go to preschool, go to prom, and things like that. It was very emotional for me to make that piece because of all the things that I realized that aborted children would never get to experience. Inevitably, a random woman invaded my post and left angry pro-abortion messages.
I tried to explain myself, but because I was only 14 and hadn’t been thoroughly educated on the abortion issue, I didn’t have much of a leg to stand on and was easily persuaded by what this woman had to say. It was from that conversation that I started down the road to becoming pro-choice.
Around this time, there was also a strange thing going on with me. Ever since I was a kid, I had been having recurring night terrors, like I was being told a horrifying ongoing narrative. In this nightmare world, I had successfully run away from home and went to live on the streets. From there, I ended up getting sex trafficked.
I’m not mentioning these night terrors for fun, either. The reason I bring them up is because of something very important that has to do with my pro-life conversion. I ended up having a nightmare one day when I was 14 or 15 where I had gotten pregnant from what was happening to me, and I had an abortion.
In that nightmare, I didn’t witness the abortion itself, but I did see myself sitting on the ground in a dirty alley in the rain just wailing and bawling my eyes out as I clutched my stomach. I woke with tears streaming down my face. Years later, I had another abortion nightmare.
These nightmares got me obsessing about abortion and its impact on women. The recurring terrors I experienced at night affected my mental health, for sure (imagine being forced into a terrifying reality again and again, with no control over it), but the abortion aspect intensified the psychological damage even further. And if I found it so emotionally jarring just to dream it, how hurt were women experiencing it in real life?
But I still considered myself to be pro-choice. Everyone around me was strongly pro-choice as well and would have put me on the chopping block if I even so much as breathed a question about the pro-choice stance. So, I shut up, tried to dismiss and bury my feelings, and tried to move on as if nothing had ever happened.
Fast-forward to my last semester in community college. It was an average day, but my teacher came into the room looking pretty upset. She dismissed class very prematurely that day and said that we didn’t have to go outside to confront them, but there were some pro-life people outside who were showing some graphic abortion banners and they had “completely ruined her appetite.”
After we were dismissed, a lot of our class went to talk to these pro-life people, who were not a part of Students for Life, and asked them to move to our campus free-speech area. They refused and that made us very mad. We started confronting them with different scenarios to try to justify abortion. These arguments were all promptly resolved by the pro-life reasoning that they shared and that made me even angrier.
A group of us decided to go and create our own posters to hold up in counter-protest. My sign said something like, “God Still Loves Women Who Have Abortions.”
We then went back to where the pro-life people were and proudly held up our signs. I felt like I was being the good guy in this situation, but if that was the case, then it was a little bit odd that I was actively trying to hide my face behind my sign. It was like a part of me was telling me that this wasn’t a good idea, but I wasn’t listening… at least, not at first. With each passing minute, I was more and more disgusted by my involvement. I passed the sign off and left.
Later on, I saw that the pro-abortion students were now trying to physically block the abortion imagery that was being displayed. Passing by, I helped spur them on, which I now regret. I don’t necessarily like the use of graphic abortion imagery like that, since it can be re-traumatizing for women who have had abortions, they still had every right to express their freedom of speech. As of the composition of this article, I’ve written an apology to the pro-life group that was at my school that day.
After all that, I still considered myself to be pro-choice. I ran a super liberal personal blog that would promote the services that Planned Parenthood offered and conveyed that pro-lifers were mostly hypocritical and only “pro-birth.” But January 2019 was a big month for me. I had started to question my beliefs a bit after watching YouTubers whom I disagreed with.
At first, I was just watching them to make myself angry, but the more I listened to them, the more they made sense. By January, I was thoroughly on the fence about abortion. I was pro-life in the sense that abortions should be avoided at all costs and that I would never abort my own child, but I was still pro-choice because I thought that was a decision that was ultimately left up to a woman and her doctor.
In January, my parents were getting ready to go to the Walk for Life in San Francisco and had invited me to go, too. I hesitated because I wasn’t sure if I agreed with their motives, but took into account that I had never been to San Francisco before. Using this as an excuse, I decided to join them.
In the days leading up to the Walk for Life, I started looking up the pro-life side of the debate. I listened to a talk by Stephanie Gray called “The New Conversation: Changing Hearts and Minds on Abortion” and everything in the talk made sense to me for the first time. From there, I couldn’t stop researching the pro-life points, and by the time the Walk for Life came, I was officially pro-life once more.
After the Walk, I contacted the Students for Life group at my school and found out when and where their meetings were held. I’ve been attending their meetings ever since and I’ve learned so much about fetal development, Title IX rights for pregnant and parenting students, the process of an abortion, the truth about Planned Parenthood, and so much more! Not only that, but I’ve made the greatest group of friends that a person could ask for.
For the first time in forever, I no longer feel angry at everything and everyone. In fact, I feel a lot more at peace and happier than I’ve ever felt in my life. I truly thank God for helping to show me the truth about abortion by sending me the important people who I’ve encountered on this journey.
I’m looking into volunteering with Rachel’s Vineyard, a Pregnancy Resource Center, and an adoption agency. Not only that, but I’m also looking to do some political work as well to try and protect the rights of unborn children and ensure that mothers and fathers are given every opportunity that they can in order to choose life.
Readers, I want you to know that you are so much stronger than you believe, and if you should ever need any resources, know that there are so many people out there who are willing and eager to help you. As for the people you interact with who are pro-choice, please don’t lose hope for them. It may seem impossible, but there is always a chance for people to change their minds. I’m living proof.
Author: Brenna Lewis