Coming to Terms With My Anti-Abortion Upbringing

The following post originally appeared on The Fem Word, a global platform amplifying women’s voices and stories.

I had my first encounter with our nation’s abortion debate on an otherwise unremarkable day when I was about eight.

The details are fuzzy — I don’t remember where I was exactly or where my mother and I were driving to — but I starkly remember the protest signs bearing graphic images of aborted fetuses surrounding our car. I remember crying, terrified, in the back seat. Despite this experience, I wouldn’t learn exactly what the word “abortion” entailed until long after I was sent to Catholic school.

From 5th grade until I left for college, I wore some version of plaid and studied hard to ensure my theology grade did not drag down my GPA. On mass days, classes would come second to sitting in pews and being berated for not closing our hymnals quietly enough. I joined the choir and eventually become a cantor both out of my love for music and because any Catholic school chorister will tell you it makes time fly. We would pray for all the saints, the ill, the dying and deceased, our neighbors, and the unborn babies.

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