Choice: Understanding the Other Side

During my freshman year of college, I joined the campus group Students for Life, because abortion was definitely the worst thing ever and needed to be stopped.

Understanding the other side never graced my radar, because I knew we were right. We were going to make all those crazy pro-abortionists see reason and save all the babies. 

I had never been pregnant, never used birth control, never had sex. Basically I had never made a decision more complicated than which morning to schedule chem lab. 

Yet I knew women who aborted must be awful and callous and selfish, and clearly I made better choices. So it would certainly be up to me and my pro-life cohorts to put an end to this evil. 

Dark blue sky meets light blue water. Text reads: Choice, understanding the other side.

It seems ridiculous to recount now, but this really, really bothered me. Like, I thought about it a lot. I worried about it almost obsessively.

At one point I considered devoting a career to it {i.e., getting into politics to effect changes and/or switching majors to journalism so I could do investigative reporting to share the “facts” on the issue}. 

Oh, and I was definitely going to write a strongly worded book on the matter. {I had outlines, y’all.}

Once again, understanding the other side did not factor into my views at all. They were simply wrong, and my views were undeniably correct.

By my junior year, however, I placed myself firmly in the pro-choice camp. What prompted my change of heart was the simplest thing. I went to a debate/forum to basically cheer on “my” side. As I listened intently to the “other” side {with the intention of planning the perfect retort, of course} a radical thought occurred to me. They were doing more to help my cause than I was.

Once again, understanding the other side did not factor into my views at all. They were simply wrong, and my views were undeniably correct. Click To Tweet

These pro-choice folks whom I thought were the enemy were doing more to reduce the number of abortions than anyone I had ever met in the pro-life crowd. They were disseminating accurate information, talking about birth control, and advocating for better sex education.

Most importantly, they actually listened to women. With the exception of allowing abortions to occur “in the meantime,” they wanted everything I wanted, and were doing more to make it happen. I had it all wrong.

I never forgot that sobering moment, and I often think of this epiphany when I think I have all the answers other people need.

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  1. Avatar

    Go for you for seeing both sides! There’s always more to the story but I know it’s easy to get caught up in what we believe at the moment!

    1. Avatar

      It is, and even when we think we are absolutely certain about something, taking a step back and looking at it one more time from a different angle helps. Thank you for stopping by, Shantel.

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