Dear Women, We Need Your Story NOW

I have been pretty distracted since the Supreme Court handed down its ruling on abortion.

How have you been doing?

I know a lot of people are upset and angry, and I’m having a lot of emotions too, I just haven’t been able to sort them out quite yet.

Let me explain.

See, I was raised as an Evangelical Christian and used to be against abortion. The church narrative around abortion is that life is sacred, it begins at conception, and if a woman gets pregnant, well then it’s God’s will that she have a child. Of course, adoption is the best and most viable option for someone who is unable to provide or care for her child, but ending its life should in no uncertain terms ever be considered.

I don’t need to tell you this. If you follow the news, you probably hear variations on this theme coming from the conservative and religious right.

And that’s not what I want to write about today, anyway.

What I want to write about is: How does someone like me, indoctrinated into the belief that abortion is murder and murder is a sin, change her mind?

How does someone like me come to a new understanding and a new perspective on such a controversial issue—one that she was staunchly against for most of her life? And even argued against in mock debates in her high school civics class?

How does someone like me change her mind?


Stories of women changed my mind.

Stories of women who, yes, have had abortions. Stories of women who have witnessed the pain and destruction their fellow sisters experience at the hands of men inflicting violence that often ends with an unwanted pregnancy. Stories of women who have supported their sisters in making hard decisions or in accessing health care.

I don’t need to repeat salacious details because you know the stories. And they are heartbreaking and inhumane and no one should have to go through such suffering.

But they do.

They do and the truth is we do it to each other.

I do it. I do it by not listening and not believing and insisting that my beliefs are the right beliefs that everyone else must also abide by. Or, at least I used to do that.

My work as a publisher and editor of nonfiction has taught me so much, and I learn more and more every day. I learn that I can never know what another person’s life is like until they tell me, and therefore I can never know—nor should I presume to know—what is best for them.

I learn that, yes, people all make mistakes, but also they (for the most part) are doing the best they can with what they have available, which means they deserve grace and compassion.

It’s ironic that I started this email by telling you that I was raised as an Evangelical Christian, because everything I just said you’d think the church taught me. But it didn’t.

Stories taught me that.

That’s why, women, we need your stories NOW.

If you want to affect people like me, tell your story. Tell it any way you can: write it, talk it, shout it, record it, share it.

Judgment and generalization are much harder when you personalize an experience, and that is what stories do.

This is not only about abortion, either.

It’s about changing lives and even saving lives. That’s the power of stories.

So believe me when I say: We need your story NOW.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *