A Sexual Revolution: One woman's journey from pro-choice atheist to pro-life Catholic

Back in my pro-choice days, I read that in certain ancient societies it was common for parents to abandon unwanted newborns, leaving them to die of exposure. I found these stories to be as perplexing as they were horrifying. How could this happen? I could never understand how entire cultures could buy into something so obviously terrible, how something that modern society understands to be an unthinkable evil could be widely accepted among large groups of people.

Because of my deep distress at hearing of such crimes against humanity, I found it irritating when pro-lifers would refer to abortion as “killing babies.” Obviously, nobody was in favor of killing babies, and to imply that those of us who were pro-choice would advocate as much was an insult to the babies throughout history who actually were killed by their “insane” societies. We were not in favor of killing anything. We simply felt that a woman had a right to stop the growth process of a fetus if she faced a crisis pregnancy. It was unfortunate, but that was the sacrifice that had to be made to prevent women from becoming victims of unwanted pregnancies.

At that time I was an atheist and had little exposure to religious social circles. As I began to search for God and open my mind to Christianity, however, I could not help but be exposed to pro-life thought more often, and I was put on the defensive about my views. One night I was discussing the topic with my husband, who was re-examining his own pro-choice stance. He made a passing remark that startled me into reconsidering this issue: “It just occurred to me that being pro-life is being pro-other-people’s-life,” he quipped. “Everyone is pro-their-own-life.”

Growing Discomfort

His remark made me realize that my pro-choice viewpoints had put me in the position of deciding whose lives were worth living, and even who was human. Along with doctors, the government and other abortion advocates, I decided where to draw this crucial line. When I would come across Catholic Web sites or books that asserted “Life begins at conception,” I would scoff, as was my habit, yet I found myself increasingly uncomfortable with my defense. I realized that my criteria for determining when human life begins were distressingly vague. I was putting the burden of proof on the fetuses to demonstrate to me that they were human, and I was a tough judge. I found myself looking the other way when I heard about things like the 3-D ultrasounds that showed fetuses touching their faces, smiling and opening their eyes at ages at which I still considered abortion acceptable. As modern technology revealed more and more evidence that fetuses were humans too, I would simply move the bar for what I considered human.

At some point I started to feel I was more determined to remain pro-choice than to analyze honestly who was and was not human. I started to see this phenomenon in others in the pro-choice community as well. As I researched issues like partial-birth abortion, I frequently became stunned to the point of feeling physically ill upon witnessing the level of evil that normal people can support. I could hardly believe my eyes when I read of reasonable, educated professionals calmly justifying infanticide by calling the victims fetuses instead of babies. It was then that I took a mental step back from the entire pro-choice movement. If this is what it meant to be pro-choice, I was not pro-choice.

Yet I still could not quite label myself pro-life.

I recognized that I too had probably told myself lies in order to maintain my support for abortion. Yet there was some tremendous pressure that kept me from objectively looking at the issue. Something deep within me screamed that not to allow women to have abortions, at least in the first trimester, would be unfair in the direst sense of the word. Even as I became religious, I mentally pushed aside thoughts that all humans might have God-given eternal souls worthy of dignity and respect. It became too tricky to figure out when we receive those souls, the most obvious answer being “at conception,” as opposed to some arbitrary point during gestation. It was not until I re-evaluated the societal views of sex that had permeated the consciousness of my peer group that I was able to release that internal pressure I felt and take an unflinching look at abortion.

Sex and Creating Life

Growing up in secular middle-class America, I understood sex as something disconnected from the idea of creating life. During my entire childhood I did not know anyone who had a baby sibling; and to the extent that neighborhood parents ever talked about pregnancy, it was to say they were glad they were “done.” In high school sex education class, we learned not that sex creates babies, but that unprotected sex creates babies. Even recently, before our marriage was blessed in the Catholic Church, my husband and I took a course about building good marriages. It was a video series by a nondenominational Christian group, and the segment called “Good Sex” did not mention children once. In all the talk about bonding and back rubs and intimacy and staying in shape, the closest the videos came to connecting sex to the creation of life was a brief note that couples should discuss the topic of contraception.

All my life, the message I had heard loud and clear was that sex was for pleasure and bonding, that its potential for creating life was purely tangential, almost to the point of being forgotten. This mind-set became the foundation of my views on abortion. Because I saw sex as being by default closed to the possibility of life, I thought of unplanned pregnancies as akin to being struck by lightning while walking down the street—something totally unpredictable and undeserved that happened to people living normal lives.

My pro-choice views (and I imagine those of many others) were motivated by loving concern: I just did not want women to have to suffer, to have to devalue themselves by dealing with unwanted pregnancies. Since it was an inherent part of my worldview that everyone except people with “hang-ups” eventually has sex, and that sex is, under normal circumstances, only about the relationship between the two people involved, I was lured into one of the oldest, biggest, most tempting lies in human history: the enemy is not human. Babies had become the enemy because of their tendency to pop up and ruin everything; and just as societies are tempted to dehumanize their fellow human beings on the other side of the line in wartime, so had I, and we as a society, dehumanized what we saw as the enemy of sex.

As I was reading up on the Catholic Church’s understanding of sex, marriage and contraception, everything changed. I had always assumed that Catholic teachings against birth control were outdated notions, even a thinly disguised attempt to oppress the faithful. What I found, however, was that these teachings expressed a fundamentally different understanding of sex. And once I discovered this, I never saw the world the same way again.

Burdens or Blessings?

The way I had always seen it, the generally accepted view was that babies were burdens, except for a few times in life when everything might be perfect enough for a couple to see new life as a good thing. The Catholic view, I discovered, is that babies are blessings and that while it is fine to attempt to avoid pregnancy for serious reasons, if we go so far as to adopt a “contraceptive mentality”—feeling entitled to the pleasure of sex while loathing (and perhaps trying to forget all about) its life-giving properties—we not only fail to respect this most sacred of acts, but we begin to see new life as the enemy.

I came to see that our culture’s widespread use and acceptance of contraception meant that the “contraceptive mentality” toward sex was now the default attitude. As a society, we had come to take it for granted that we are entitled to the pleasurable and bonding aspects of sex even when we are opposed to the new life it might produce. The option of abstaining from the act that creates babies if we see children as a burden had been removed from our cultural lexicon. Even if it would be a huge crisis to become pregnant, we had a right to have sex anyway. If this were true—if it were morally acceptable for people to have sex even when they believed that a new baby could ruin their lives—then abortion, as I saw things, had to be O.K.

Ideally I would have taken an objective look at when human life begins and based my views on that alone, but the lie was just too tempting. I did not want to hear too much about heartbeats or souls or brain activity. Terminating pregnancies simply had to be acceptable, because carrying a baby to term and becoming a parent is a huge deal, and society had made it very clear that sex was not a huge deal. As long as I accepted the premise that engaging in sex with a contraceptive mentality was morally acceptable, I could not bring myself to consider that abortion might not be acceptable. It seemed inhumane to make women deal with life-altering consequences for an act that was not supposed to have life-altering consequences.

Given my background, the Catholic idea that we are always to treat the sexual act with awe and respect, so much so that we should simply abstain if we are opposed to its life-giving potential, was a revolutionary message. Being able to consider honestly when life begins, to open my heart and mind to the wonder and dignity of even the tiniest of my fellow human beings, was not fully possible for me until I understood the nature of the act that creates these little lives in the first place.

All of these thoughts had been percolating in my brain for a while, and I found myself increasingly in agreement with pro-life positions. Then one night I became officially, unapologetically pro-life. I was reading yet another account of the Greek societies in which newborn babies were abandoned to die, wondering how normal people could do something like that, and I felt a chill rush through me as I thought: I know how they did it.

I realized in that moment that perfectly good, well-meaning people—people like me—can support gravely evil things because of the power of lies. From my own experience, I knew how the Greeks, the Romans and people in every other society could put themselves into a mental state where they could leave a newborn child to die. The very real pressures of life—“we can’t afford another baby,” “we can’t have any more girls,” “he wouldn’t have had a good life”—left them susceptible to the temptation to dehumanize other human beings. Though the circumstances were different, the same process had happened with me, with the pro-choice movement and with anyone else who has ever been tempted to dehumanize inconvenient people.

I suspect that as those Greek parents handed over their infants for someone to take away, they remarked on how very unlike their other children these little creatures were: they couldn’t talk, the couldn’t sit up, and surely those little yawns and smiles were just involuntary reactions. I bet they referred to these babies with different words than they used to refer to the children they kept. Maybe they called them something like “fetuses.”

The author will be responding to readers questions on July 7 & 8. Click on the comments link below to submit questions.

8 years 9 months ago
Great story, as the true ones often are. I have a Q - the RCC, as I understand it, does not teach that ensoulment occurs at conception, or at any particular point in a pregnancy. Given the large %'age of spontaneous abortions, and the known phenomena of twinning and chimeara (or compaction), is embryonic stem cell research still a theoretic possibility worthy of discussion?
8 years 9 months ago
Ms. Fulwiler: What a generous gift this message is to not only the unborn babies of today and tomorrow, but to the many people who have bought into those lies, and the many who struggle for the words to displace the lies with the truth. Thanks to you, and with more voices joining yours daily, the scourge of abortion can be beaten back. Thank you.
8 years 9 months ago
Dear Ms. Fulwiler, Thank you for writing your heart-wrenching story. I found your reference to the "Contraception Society" thought-provoking. Now past child-bearing age, and with but one son, I can see the generation-to-generation aspect of contraception. I see my own son, nearing 28, hardworking, reliable, etc., who though raised a Christian, has allowed the elusive promise of happiness via pre-marital sex is not all it's cracked up to be. Where, or where is the romance? Everything is about "your stuff / needs" vs. "my stuff / needs". Where is the desire for commitment to a lifetime together, not a fourth-string organizational plan? When the very real possibility of pregnancy existed, society was in fact, more grown-up. Now, everyone has a "relationship" of passing interest. Very few people below even 30 years old act like an adult. Every waking hour is about making money, playing and "playing house" (such an old-fashioned term!). Will the younger generation get married? If they do, do they REALLY think that they are have "just as much energy" at 40+ as they did at 25? Who loses, if they, in fact, do not? The delayed children, of course. The children will be the ones whose parents are in wheel chairs, or perhaps, even dead, and will never see their child's high school graduation, and certainly not THEIR marriage. There will be no adult to walk the bride down the aisle, if that is still done. Clearly (it is supposed) Boomers are always right, "because they always get what they want". Well, you reap what you sow. The results of the hedonism of the Boomers, and soon, the Gen-Xers, will be visited on the coming generations. Sincerely, Vanessa Prouty (A 51-year-old Protestant).
8 years 9 months ago
Dear Jennifer, I am a Secular Franciscan and consider your article the most inspiring and forthright with heartfelt honesty, clarity and integrity that I have ever read on this subject. May Our Lord richly bless you for sharing this spiritual journey. I will ensure that it reaches all the Secular Franciscan sisters and brothers in my fraternity, the Regional Fraternity which I serve and the National Fraternity. When I read an article such as yours I realize again how, God, through the enlighenment of the Holy Spirit call us to the truth about the dignity of the human person. Your article will be a great instrument with which to convince many to become pro-life. Thank you.
8 years 9 months ago
What an honest, inspirig story! I wish every American could hear it so they too would realize that the unborn are alive. As Dr. Seuss said, "A person's a person, no matter how small." Thank you for your testimony.
8 years 9 months ago
Barack Obama REALLY needs to see this!
8 years 9 months ago
I totally admire your honesty and willingness to hear God calling you. I have never been pro-choice and your article helped me to understand the mentality of those who are. May God bless you and keep you on this route. You are an inspiration.
8 years 9 months ago
Great article Jennifer! Your testimony was a good reminder to me of what motivates those who hold Catholic families who are open to life in contempt . . . ignorance and denial. I am going to my brother-in-laws' secular wedding in a week and we will stick out like a sore thumb as we have 5 children and i am 7 months preganant with my 6th. Your story will be my inspiration for trying to show by example the beauty of the church's teachings on the sanctity of life. God Bless, Amy
8 years 9 months ago
i am so glad that you are now on the right path. We used to visit a Planned Parent Building every Saturday and say the 15 decades of the Rosary. Our new Bishop joined us on Satudays. Then one Sunday mourning the Planned Parenthood Building burnt to the ground. It was their fault. No one from the prayer group ever prayed on Sunday, we were all in Church. God really does not like the Planned parenthood Buildings. We had been praying at another place and the doctor decided to leave. No one took his place. We had the miracle of the sun one day and a week later the doctor left.
8 years 9 months ago
i am always blown away by these stories from nothing.....everything... thanks for sharing this message when i think about so many who do not believe in God or who support abortion i feel like hiding in a cave.... but Christ has died, Christ had risen, Christ will come again - He is in charge and nothing happens without him knowing or his grace regards krist heft
8 years 9 months ago
i am always blown away by these stories from nothing.....everything... thanks for sharing this message when i think about so many who do not believe in God or who support abortion i feel like hiding in a cave.... but Christ has died, Christ had risen, Christ will come again - He is in charge and nothing happens without him knowing or his grace regards krist heft
Bill Mazzella
8 years 9 months ago
Jennifer F mixes up a lot of things in her heartfelt experience. It may be "better than thou" talk to paint such a broad brush on people who have seriously struggled with this issue and clearly are not sexually permissive or have no regard for children. One's conversion from a sexually permissive life does not mean that others felt the same way. It is such an incorrect and unfair conclusion. And there may be some grandstanding in all this. Secondly, an overwhelming amount of Catholics believe that contraception is acceptable and is quite proper in a loving caring marriage with children. I would not canonize jennifer yet. In an age of memoirs on everything, perhaps we might return to valuing humility and think about why the hierarchy has such an obsession with sexual matters, considering their deep problems in this area.
8 years 9 months ago
Abortion is the biggest lie of our generation. Just imagine, everybody born after Roe V Wade is here only because the mother allowed it to happen. Roe v Wade only allowed women to be as irresponsible as the men who got them pregnant. Of course self indulgent men would be pro abortion, it let them off the hook. When life isn't sacred, anything goes and humans can reason almost anything to be reasonable. All I know is, I have 3 Grandchildren who look up at me and say Grandpa and I melt. What an honor and a priviledge.
8 years 9 months ago
Thank you for sharing your spiritual journey and how your perspectives on the abortion issue simultaneously changed in your pursuit for truth. Life is such a miracle! After almost 12 years of marriage and much suffering due to infertility my prayers were answered when I gave birth to my twin daughters. Some one had given me a statue of St. Gerard Magella to pray for this intention. It wasn't until I was teaching CCD that my girls looked up what saint day they were born on. To our surprise it was St. Gerard! Nothing is a coincidence with God. I never understood the pro-choice mentality until your explanation of how rationalization and dehumanization along with narcissistic needs could misguide intelligent good citizens.
8 years 9 months ago
Please do not post this ... I only wanted to send something for Jennifer to see. Jennifer, I have never read a pro-life article as beautifully articulated as this one. It is truly an answer to prayer - everything you write about is imbued with absolute truth - and gives me beautiful words to speak when confronted on this issue. Or, at the very least, deeply confirms my exact sentiments. I could go on forever about how timely this article is ... Clicked onto your blog and read about your "junk food detox" something I was called to do last year ... then the article about your mother-in-law ... also so many similarities. I thought "WHO IS THIS PERSON?!" How surprised and excited I was to see that you're a mom in Austin, TX as well! I'm a parishoner at St. John Neumann ... is that your parish? Anyway, thank you for your very edifying words ... I would love to meet you sometime - possibly at the playground with our kids. If it is meant to be, I'm sure it'll happen. God Bless, Kate
8 years 9 months ago
Jennifer, The journey that you took to become pro-life was a long one, filled with many bouts against the Truth. I can tell you agree with me. The journey was worth it. How can anyone look into a newborn's eyes and not see that special part of God's wonder and mystery?
8 years 9 months ago
Oh! the power of lies! There is an old saying that states that "people beleve WHAT they WANT to believe in, inspite of the truth! The journey from atheism to conversions is a head-on confllict between truth and relativism, between truth and rationalistic/compartmentalistic thinking, and between truth (as espoused by God/Jesus himself and the group ethic which seeks only self gratification at any cost! I do NOT think, nor believe for one minute that this lady did not believe in or could not believe in the principle of right versus wrong! But moral offenses that offend the sensibilities of humanity such as the holocaust, barbaric practices, torture etc bring to light that "God's Word" and the absolutes of truth in the Ten Commandments cannot nor will not be ignored....when they are, then the battle of the minds, the battle of the wills will ensure! Only when people CHOOSE to search for, believe, and LIVE the truth(s) found in God's Word and HIS Ten Commandments can people stop believing and adhering to the liberal, "free-thinking", relativistic thinking of those who CHOOSE to believe in the arguments of the pro-choice movement! In the Pro-Choice movement, the TRUTH, especially "Thou Shalt Not Kill" are permanently sacrificed because of emotional arguments and rationalizations that individuals utilize to make "murder" acceptable! The Nazi's realized that the method to "demonize" those of "Jewish blood" was through the power of words and that once the Jews were labeled as "sub-human" it would not take long to make a convincing argument that "sub-humans" were not necessary or worthy of living. Those that are considered worthy and "acceptable" are called "babies." Those that are marginalized or deemed "disposable" are referred to as "fetuses." The power of words, the power of lies, the power of evil and the ongoing battle of the minds/wills/souls is an ongoing battle. If God's TRUTH is ignored, then TRUTH is the fatality....and the evil of abortion continuesl and the average citizen embraces the ideology of what is/is not "sub-human" or disposable as something morally acceptable!
8 years 9 months ago
Also, I assume what you are saying in this article is that sex should only be engaged in if you are willing to produce life (a child)? In that case, don't have sex unless you intend to get pregnant? I have never heard this before could you tell me what you and your husband think about this? Do you plan to never have sex again if you don't plan to have more children? By Trina on July 1, 2008 at 4:59 PM +++++++++ c'mon trina,please ? what led you to the conclusion that sex was ONLY for procreation ? and not the domain and right of a married couple ? why weren't you led to the conlusion that married people do NOT contracept,leaving the possibility of a pregnancy ? you think that every "intimacy"(i'm being polite),results in a child ?
8 years 9 months ago
First and foremost, i thank the Lord Almighty for your conversion and your change of heart. I know that prayers offered up by many others continue to bring about these changes, so that people who once chose death, begin to choose life. Your article was truly profound and on point. It has always baffled me why pro-choice people choose to deceive themselves in such a manner as to think that a woman is entitled to end the life of what they call a fetus and child. My question to them has always been, why do you think that you have a right to have sex outside of marriage? And of course, the usual scorn and laughter is thrown at me, immediately followed by: "you must be Catholic." I was horrified when sitting in a classroom one day, my professor uttered the words: "Thank God for abortion." I don't know which God he was thanking because the God i know DOES NOT smile at those women who choose to spread their legs and have a CHILD ripped apart limb from limb. I think that someone in your position has an added advantage to help others through prayer and discussion as you have experienced both sides. Your article in itself must be an eye opener for someone. Although when people shut their hearts against God's grace, nothing sinks in until they are ready to be humble again. You touched on the problem. And it is that the culture permeates sex as something each person is entitled to without the 'burden' of a child. And they continue to propagate the cycle of having children out of wedlock and not teaching them the true moral values and ways of God. I truly await the day when many will stop deceiving themselves and realize that each and every and human being should carry themselves with the dignity and self-respect thrust unto them by the Most High merely by their existence. Thank you for your article. Welcome to the most Catholic church. And God be praised for your conversion. God Bless you.
8 years 9 months ago
Dear Jennifer, God moves His people! I'm really overjoyed for even just one person to realized the evil of abortion and be converted to His Church. I could see the awesome power of His grace working through you because to tell you without it all of us are lost! Please go to Priest for life. com and support its ministries and the topic of contraception you can just google, "Humanae Vitae", written by Pope Paul IV, it's a very prophetic letter to our modern world. God Bless the Church...who preserve and proclaims the TRUTH! Every Blessing, Jae
8 years 9 months ago
Thank you so much for this well written article. We were warned not so long ago that accepting contraception would be like taking the little boys finger from the hole in the dyke. It would start a chain of events that we could not possibly control and would lead to the total moral disintegration of our society. This article shows exactly how. In attempting to remove the sexual act from the conception of life, we devalue human life. What good can possibly come from that? I always find it frustrating to hear about abortions for women in 'crisis' pregnancies. How on earth is counseling a woman to kill her unborn child "helping" her? It seems like another sign of our indifference as a society. If we were there to help and support these women, if we were there to adopt these babies, surely the woman would not feel so tempted to turn to murder. And abortion is not just about women. What about the father's of these unborn children? What about their right to raise their sons and daughters? We may try, continuously, to deny and defy nature, but it is woman who carries babies and nurtures them with their very selves. Thoughtless sex, contraception and abortion cannot change this reality. Rampant immaturity seems to be the main culprit in the deaths of so many innocent people.
8 years 9 months ago
A follow up to my previous comment (#18) that was hastily sent, with a typo, "chice" for "choice," and with a tone that was not what I intended. Seeking to legally ban abortion is not easy and uncaring. It may be very caring and courageous, but it may lead to or stem from seeing the typical woman who aborts as doing it to rid her privileged life of an inconvenience. As claire b.(#21) pointed out, however, the typical abortion seeker may be poor, desperate, unable to live her own life much less carry and support a new life. My point was that care for the unborn cannot be separated from care for the pregnant mother of that unborn. In fact, our separating them in our thinking may contribute to some pregnant women feeling overwhelmed and more likely to separate themselves from the life within. Life needs support. If more pregnant women felt this support, fewer would consider or have an abortion. This seems to me the Christian way to address this problem. Thanks to Jennifer for her thought- and feeling-provoking article. Bless her for her journey and for sharing it with us.
8 years 8 months ago
You have deep insights here. Wow. Now this is what I call "metanoia". Thank you. Warren
8 years 8 months ago
Dear Jennifer, Thank you for your thoughtful presentation of your “conversion” to the pro-life perspective and to the view that sex and the creation of human life are sacred acts. I respect your willingness to challenge yourself and others to look at these issues directly. I have gone through a similar process in changing my views on these issues. However, while my religious faith (I am a “reconvert” to Catholicism) has been an important part of that process, it is not, I believe, my sole source of guidance or inspiration. My questions and comments below are directed at drawing out your perspective as someone who has been on both sides of the faith and pro-life divides. I realize that these questions may be too broad, but I would appreciate hearing any responses you might want to provide. Since your article did not address questions of law, I have tried to leave that perspective out of what I say here. While the question of how the law reflects and shapes our philosophies and moral views is vitally important, it is, by itself, a vast subject. I see your article as a way of developing a discussion on the related issues of philosophy, language and moral obligation. I believe it is important, particularly for those of us who have been on different sides of these issues, to develop arguments apart from our religious faith so that we can engage the larger culture in a more meaningful discussion. It appears to me that while you express your views and conclusions primarily in the language of faith, particularly Catholic teachings, at least some of them could be expressed from a more “secular” perspective. Have you considered that, and, if so, how would you feel about developing or using arguments on the life issues without utilizing the terminology or concepts of a particular religious faith? In your article you refer more than once to the question of when human persons receive souls. What do you think of pro-life arguments that set aside the question of the existence or origin of the soul and look just at our biology? I ask this because, as you probably know, various religious apologists for the pro-choice position, such as Catholics for a Free Choice, argue that not only do different faiths disagree on the issue of ensoulment, but that Catholic doctrine had in the past made distinctions regarding ensoulment based on the antiquated notion of “quickening”. On the other hand, the basic facts of human conception and embryology are not now in dispute. Their growing knowledge of human gestation and development led nineteenth century physicians to increasingly oppose abortion as it became harder to deny the continuity of human development from conception. Our current knowledge of genetics only reinforces this understanding. There are atheists and agnostics who oppose abortion, usually on the grounds of a philosophy based on this basic understanding of human biology. I understand your statements on “the contraceptive mentality” as directed primarily towards your fellow Catholics. I generally agree with you that our society’s focus on reliance on contraception has distorted our understanding of both sex and children. I believe that Catholics should follow, as best they can, the Church’s teachings on contraception. However, for the purposes of the debates within society at large over human personhood and abortion, can we make a moral distinction between those forms of contraception which serve to prevent the unification of a sperm and egg, such as the barrier methods, and those forms, such as the IUD and the hormonal methods which may prevent an already conceived embryo from implanting in the uterus? I think your characterization of abortion and “the contraception mentality” as dehumanizing babies as “the enemy” is apt. But, as you know, a typical pro-choice response is to characterize pro-life people as heartless zealots who care about the pre-born, but appear to be otherwise unconcerned about women o
8 years 8 months ago
Excellent article - should be compulsory reading for all prolifers. I work with so many well meaning prolifers who don't have a clue about the mindset of those they are trying to convert and they blow it all the time. Also, the article shows the only way we are going to defeat abortion - by defeating contraception first. To do that we must reintroduce God and His message back into society.
8 years 8 months ago
May God convert many people through you. Keep up the good work for the Lord. Your great rewards are in heaven. Thank you.
8 years 8 months ago
Jennifer, Thank you a thousand times over for writing such an article! I share your views on this subject entirely and enjoy a large brood of precious life and a husband who is happy to have them. I am not Catholic, but do consider myself a follower of Christ and as such, am in acquaintance with many believers in Christ of all walks of life or denomination. I have noticed a disturbing trend among my well-meaning brothers and sisters. Many of them, including some close friends, have convinced themselves to partake in what I call the "spirit of abortion"(some using in ignorance IUDs and the pill) to pursue what others might call a higher level of "ministry". They inhibit having children in order to serve a church in some capacity whether it be a teacher, a preacher, a missionary, etc. May I have your blessing to copy and paste this article to my blog with your name attached. It would open the eyes of so many I know who do read my blog. I look forward to your reply and many thanks again. Deb Paul
8 years 8 months ago
"I was lured into one of the oldest, biggest, most tempting lies in human history: the enemy is not human. " And you, in this article, have done the same toward women. You show absolutely no respect for the acts of gestating a fetus and giving birth - giving new life to a human, something that only women can do. Since this is something that only women can do, the misogynist institution of Catholicism and other repressive religions IGNORE these acts - thereby completely erasing the role of the woman in the birth process. In their view, once a woman conceives, her role - and her ability to make decisions regarding it - ends. She becomes a subhuman non-entity, a mere Petri dish. Most likely, this attitude compensates for the fact that the man has no role in the process after he donates the sperm. It is totally out of his hands (unless of course, he murders the pregnant woman, as happens all too often). I'm sure this has frustrated and enraged men for thousands of years. Until anti-abortion advocates like yourself come to terms with the reality of biology, that is, that a fertilized ovum is not a human being in any sense of the phrase - and until you can figure out some way to gestate a fetus to term without the willing participation of a woman and her womb - you are merely living in a dream world, parroting senseless propaganda. "As I researched issues like partial-birth abortion, I frequently became stunned to the point of feeling physically ill upon witnessing the level of evil that normal people can support." Late-term abortion is almost always used in tragic cases of fetal abnormality or danger to the woman's life. Would you like to explain why you think that medical professionals are "evil" for helping in these cases? Are you really ready to say that the life of a fetus trumps the life of a grown woman? It's easy to say such things when you make the woman invisible and rob her of her humanity and her authority over her own body.
8 years 8 months ago
Dear Jennifer, Thanks a lot for your wonderful article. It strikes me because it’s based on a life journey, not an intellectual black or white / good or bad demonizing-the–other simplistic fight over arguments. I remain however puzzled on why so many pro-life committed Christians seem so less enthusiastic, to say the least in some cases, in fighting for other social issues of the pro-life teachings of the Church (e.g. the death penalty, arms trade, debt relief to third world countries, the lies of the anti-terrorist propaganda, social and economic rights, the plight of the poor, migration issues and so forth). Again: do we really embrace the teachings of the Church as a whole? Or are we retaining the pick and choose mentality while showing ourselves self-righteously pro-life? What do you think of this? Mario Almeida, SJ
8 years 8 months ago
Dear Jennifer, In the last dozen years, I went from being an agnostic who vaguely disliked the idea of abortion to being a pro-life atheist who hates the idea of abortion except in the the most extreme circumstances. Since I cannot believe in a theistic God, the notion of snuffing out a life before it even leaves the womb horrifies me. Unlike a believer, I cannot comfort myself with the idea that there is another place for that little soul to go to. Sincerely, Geoff Hawkins
8 years 8 months ago
I appreciated your story. Perhaps because I followed a similar trajectory. I started as an agnostic who believed the overpopulation myth of the 1970s and thought abortion was just another necessary means of solving that problem. Though my agnosticism did not survive my teen years, I was pro-choice until I asked one question: What is a fetus exactly? It's neither dog nor cat; 42 chromosomes distinct from father and mother thus not a tumor. (You'll note my Bible remained close during this process.) The purely civil questions of whether the fetus is a person, non-person, non-citizen, or citizen followed--along with questions of obligations that the state has in securing that being's rights. As a Baptist, I insist upon the separation of church and state, and this requires that I find a purely secular rationale for my pro-life politics. I can appreciate, though I do not fully embrace, the Roman Catholic assertion that sex is essentially procreational, as opposed for recreational. Given how well my children have turned out, I deeply regret having stopped at two. My mistake for not being Catholic, eh?
8 years 8 months ago
I wish to figuratively (only because I don't own a real one) doff my hat to you ma'am. For such brutal honesty and willingness to confront one's own worldview, share it with the world, and unflinchingly "stick to your guns" so to speak, I wish to applaud your guts. I have been reading from the works of Dr. Francis Schaeffer, lately, and he outlines how we in the West arrived at where the majority are, philosophically and theologically, and I heartily recommend "The God Who Is There", "Escape From Reason", & "He Is There And He Is Not Silent" to anyone and everyone
8 years 8 months ago
Jennifer Thank you for your beautiful, honest article.
ROBERT HARRIGAN MRS
8 years 8 months ago
OK, abortion is killing a baby; agreed. Not to be done. But contraception? why is that wrong? Must one have a baby a year? We were well on that path, when our third child was born before our eldest was three years old. We tried the rhythm method and almost lost our marriage. The scars remain. Our fourth child was born by choice, and then I took the pill, which had just become available. This was the time of Vatican II; we had great hopes that the church would listen to the faithful and come to a less 'all or nothing' approach to marriage; a commission was appointed to study marriage and eminent Catholic leaders like the Crowleys from Chicago were on it. But when the group presented its conclusions, they were the wrong ones, i.e. they did not echo the church's position, so they were dismissed. What after all did married people know? So we don't listen to celibates on the subject of marriage! A grandmother of 10, married 50 years.
8 years 8 months ago
I very much appreciated this article, but would like to observe that the pro-life position is very broadly speaking THE Christian position and is not peculiar to Catholics. Those calling themselves 'Christian' who are 'pro-choice' are at least to that extent not Christian, but pagan.
8 years 8 months ago
Wonderful story. To bring politics into this, I was wondering if you could write a letter to Senator Barack Obama. Perhaps with your own story of a conversion from being pro-choice to being pro-life, his opinion could be impacted. He's apparently held his views for more than a decade, but he said recently that he hadn't come to a firm conclusion about when life begins. Maybe he'll never change his opinion, but it's worth the effort. He seems to be a reasonable, but lost, man. Thanks.
8 years 8 months ago
This is one of the most amazing articles I have ever read. Thank you for sharing, Jennifer!
8 years 8 months ago
A wonderful, thoughtful, well-written article, Jennifer. This is perhaps the clearest demonstration of the link between abortion and the contraceptive mentality that I have read. May God's grace continue to flow onto you and your family.
8 years 8 months ago
At the risk of usurping Jennifer's role, I feel compelled to give a brief response to Heather Rose Ryan of Post #66 In your post you state: "Until anti-abortion advocates like yourself come to terms with the reality of biology, that is, that a fertilized ovum is not a human being in any sense of the phrase - and until you can figure out some way to gestate a fetus to term without the willing participation of a woman and her womb - you are merely living in a dream world, parroting senseless propaganda." With all due respect, you are yourself parroting pro-choice propaganda. One of the points that Jennifer and others have made here is in regards to the fact that an embryo is in fact biologically human from the moment of conception. You are in fact the one avoiding this hard fact. The fundamental issue of who is and who is not considered to be "human" is one of the fundamental moral and philosophical questions that humanity has always faced, and it confronts us in the present age in so many ways that I cannot list them all here. I ask you to at least consider the perspectives of the consistent life movement and the common ground movements. A good person to start with on this is the writer Frederica Matthewes-Greene. You might also want to read (they are online), a series of articles published in the Boston Globe about the common ground meetings between pro-choice and pro-life activists in the Boston area during the late 1990's. Peace, Peter Small
8 years 8 months ago
Is it possible to have a large print option? Thanks for your consideration
8 years 8 months ago
A beautiful journey in faith and wisdom. The change in world view from 2008 America to that of the Church. See "Contraception:The Trojan Horse" (http://www.stthomasmore.net/NewsLetters/2001/DecemberAdVeritatem2001.pdf) for our similar take on the issue.
8 years 8 months ago
Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for an insightful article. I will forward this to all my friends and family and I am confident that hearts and minds will be opened. Our culture needs a wake up call so thank you for sharing your conversion story and caring about the dignity and protection of even the tiniest of fellow human beings -- the precious unborn in the womb.
8 years 8 months ago
Dear Jennifer, Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I too am a convert, 19 years. I have worked at Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati for almost 13 years. Your conversion story helps me to understand how a pro-choice person thinks. I have thought for a very long time that they must feel as passionate about their cause as I do about mine, but how and why? I believe that because of my work, I probably know more about the abortion issue than most people would want to. But I could not understand, if people know that they will probably get pregnant, why would they engage in sex anyway. How could someone get pregnant and put their body and soul through having an abortion, later regret it, then turn around and support the right to abortion. I thought it was just very weak will power or very convincing or abusive partners. It never occurred to me that so many people feel that having sex is an individual right. And now that I've read it, it makes so much sense with our media, and how we have been trained to think. As I work from now on, this article will guide me in understanding how to reach out to those who believe abortion is a right.
8 years 8 months ago
Jennifer, I've been wanting to ask for a long, long time... what did you tell your gay friends? Among my circle of college friends, most are very liberal and some are gay, and I often feel defensive or "guilty" when certain topics come up.
8 years 8 months ago
Fantastic article! This piece is invaluable in the way it exposes the mindset of a well-intentioned, good-hearted, but reality-deceived pro-abortionist. More than that, it reveals that a person's attitude about abortion is intimately related to their attitude about contraception and the purpose of sex. It gives compelling argument for the wisdom and truth of the Church's "Humanae Vitae" encyclical.
8 years 8 months ago
"Is it possible to have a large print option?" M J McKee, You should be able to control the font size of any web page from your web browser. Check your options menu.
8 years 8 months ago
Excellent piece, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I think the people who are pro-life themselves, but resist "projecting" their views upon others in the wider arena of American life and politics would find great direction from reading our Pope's writing on the dangers of moral relativism. Here's a brief taste of Pope Benedict's thoughts on this matter: "With this we have arrived at the real heart of the matter. People today know of no standard; to be sure, they do not want to know of any because they see standards as threats to their freedom. Here one is made to think of some words of the French Jew Simone Weil, who said that "we experience good only by doing it. . . When we do evil we do not know it, because evil flies from the light." People recognize the good only when they themselves do it. They recognize evil only when they do not do it." pg. 261, "Sin & Salvation", The Essential Pope Benedict XVI. I know this ethical argument is a little abstract, but it goes to the heart of the matter for me. When I was mired in the contraception mentality, using contraception and engaging in unethical & unsafe pre-marital sex, the abortion issue seemed complex and slippery. (I even offered material aid to help a dear friend obtain an abortion). As a strong pro-choice feminist, I ardently objected to the "men" in Congress having a say over what happened inside my own body. It took a radical act of obedience on my part, as a Catholic convert, to stop committing an "evil." Only after I stopped using contraception, did the arguments against abortion start to make sense to me individually. Now as a mother, especially one who lost a beloved son at age 13 weeks gestation, my thoughts have turned 180 degrees around on this matter. I see the need for great corporal acts of charity in the abortion debate. The must be tangible acts of kindness for all the mothers, fathers, and babies involved in this tragic situation. Yet I also see a great need for the spiritual acts of mercy- prayer for a cure to spiritual blindness which currently plagues so much of our society on this issue. Sincerely yours,
8 years 8 months ago
"At that time I was an atheist and had little exposure to religious social circles. As I began to search for God and open my mind to Christianity..." How can these comments be congratulating the author on her "honesty"?!?! Did everybody miss the above quote? An atheist looking for god is like a vegetarian looking for a good steak house! As an atheist I can assure you that this kind of thing DOES NOT HAPPEN - well, to real atheists anyway. Maybe a few messed up people that are mad at their 'god', and calling themselves atheists, would turn back to god - but these aren't atheists - they're angry theists. Do you believe in unicorns? If the answer is "no" then ask yourself - would you set out looking for one?? I didn't think so.......
8 years 8 months ago
Jennifer, If you are interested, I believe my university would gladly sponsor you as a guest lecturer. We have a reputation for being at the fore-front of the pro-life movement in relation to other Catholic universities. Please contact me at Ryan.Hawkes@avemaria.edu if you may be interested and I will see what can be done during the upcoming fall semester. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, Ryan A. Hawkes Ave Maria University Ave Maria, FL 34142 www.avemaria.edu www.avemaria.com
8 years 8 months ago
Your experience provides powerful evidence for the link - often denied - between contraception and abortion. Thank you for sharing your testimony. You've given a wake-up call that parents and Church educators should take to heart - that the truth that sex makes babies must be conveyed to our children before they absorb society's alternate view.

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