This post is part of our “What Does Choice Mean to You?” series commemorating the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
I was raised pro-choice. I was raised to believe in reproductive freedom. There are a lot of reasons for that but it mostly has to do with my parents. I am the product of an interracial marriage. People never know what I am, and they are always curious to know. Is that because they’ll know how to treat me after? Does it make them feel better because they’ve had experiences with some of my “people?”
As a multiracial woman growing up, it just didn’t make sense to be a bigot. It didn’t make sense to be supporting something that barred individual liberty and ignored the elements of diverse social and ethnic realities. Seeing the ostracism my own parents experienced being together, I never wanted any part of anything right wing or narrow-minded.
And that’s exactly what the anti-choice movement represents to me, since I’ve seen the same people who show up protesting at clinics yell homophobic slurs at my gay friends or serve me last at a restaurant.
I remember being about 10 years old and coming home from my Catholic school asking my mom if abortion was wrong.
“They said it’s like grinding babies.” I repeated to my mother.
“Jessica, I’m going to tell you something. Abortion isn’t wrong. Making a personal decision for someone else is wrong.
Pretending you know what it’s like to be in their shoes is wrong.”
“But they said that God won’t love you if you get an abortion!” I continued.
“I’ve had two. Do you think the Creator doesn’t love me?” my mother replied.
Whoa. Well that shut me up. Because now my own mother was one of “those” people. People who have had abortions.
My mother would then recount to me her story about being 15 then 16, living in a small community, her parents barely
being able to put food on the table, and the series of abusive relationships she would go in and out of. It was strange for me to picture my mother back then, given how different our lives were at that moment.
“Well how were you able to have me and Jennifer? Why’d you pick us?” I asked.
“Because it was the right time” my mother told me. “Because I was old enough, mature enough, able to actually give you
the life you deserved. Your spirits have been with me all along. It wouldn’t have been fair otherwise. Listen, having kids is a big deal and it should never be taken lightly. Those pro-life people are really are missing the point of giving life in reality.”
So that’s why I’m here.
Fighting for reproductive justice that is inclusive and encompassing for everyone. Trying to make sure we can all make the
best decision for our own lives.
Because I know the Creator still loves my mom.