As a small child, I never heard about abortion, though I and Roe v Wade were born the same year.
As a young child, I heard arguments about abortion that convinced me it wasn’t murder. Then I read something in a circular in the church bulletin that changed my mind. These Focus on the Family circulars were a trusted source of Christian wisdom to me. But there was always the caveat of rape/incest/life of the mother being acceptable reasons for abortion even to Christians.
As a teen, I started watching the 700 Club and listened to Christian music, and became convinced that Operation Rescue was heroic and that abortion was a great evil, a holocaust, that had to be stopped, that most abortions were sociopathic and not for the accepted caveats.
In my 20s, I had trouble driving past a protest outside a Planned Parenthood clinic that didn’t even do abortions. As I told a friend, even though I agreed with them, the disgusting signs and the protest itself really bothered me. I couldn’t put my finger on why.
In my late 20s, I was moving away from conservative politics and religion and into a more moderate camp. I was influenced by various Evangelical and progressive Christian voices I heard over the years on a variety of political, moral and theological topics. There were solidly conservative groups who worked with the poor and minorities and talked like liberals on their issues. I kept taking quizzes that said I would be Democrat except for the abortion issue. I read in Time-Life history books about reformers in various cultures who would begin to make changes to improve the lives of the people, only to have conservatives come in and roll them all back again.
I was pregnant for the first and only time that I know of for sure, though there were other times I wondered about. I was so sick that I couldn’t keep anything down and was very weak. I feared that abortion may be necessary to save me from dying of starvation. Fortunately, medication got my stomach under control. I told the doctor that I didn’t want the baby aborted if anything went wrong during pregnancy/labor. I watched a chart of how babies develop, and wondered how anyone could abort a baby.
But I agreed with George Bush that abortion could not be legislated away. I helped in the youth group, where the pastor read a poem or lyrics about the trouble with abortion protest signs. It was okay to question, and I was questioning all sorts of Evangelical controversies, such as Harry Potter and homeschooling. There were Democrats in the church, even.
In my 30s, with a healthy baby in the family now, we had moved to the PCUSA, and their views on abortion were different from what I was used to in evangelicalism. They wanted it to be rare, but legal. I thought their reasoning for this was sound. I learned that the medical community defined pregnancy differently than I’d always heard it. I became Orthodox soon after, but never stopped my liberal-moving progression.
In my 40s, I learned that many things I’d heard about abortion and contraception from conservative sources were simply wrong. I learned that making abortion illegal only leads to the deaths of women/girls, NOT to the end of abortion. I learned that late-term abortions are done because something goes terribly wrong, NOT because the mother or doctor is a murderous psychopath. I learned how women in Ireland couldn’t get proper health care even if they weren’t pregnant, because doctors were so frightened of causing an abortion. I learned that the callous woman I’d always heard about who got an abortion because she wanted to look good in a bathing suit–that this was a strawman. I learned about the various actual reasons women and girls feel compelled to get an abortion.
I learned that abortions actually go DOWN under Democratic leadership because they address the reasons for abortions instead of just outlawing abortions. So on every count, the Democrats are the true pro-life party.
I voted in every election instead of playing purity politics; I didn’t stay home just because I wanted Bernie instead of Hillary, while I saw other Dems stay home election after election, apparently trusting that everything would stay exactly as it was. I knew, after all, that on the conservative end, the big issues were abortion and gay rights, and that they had never given up.
Then just days after I turned 49, abortion became illegal in much of the USA.
All these years we’ve heard from the radical right about loss of freedoms and activist judges; turns out they’ve been projecting this entire time. The party of freedom and democracy and Life is the Democrats!