Sunday, April 03, 2011

Andrea Grimes: I used to be a pro-life Republican

[via Reality Check and Rachel Kramer Bussel]

I used to be a pro-life Republican.
by Andrea Grimes
Hay Ladies

I had a favorite line, in high school, when debating people on the subject of abortion. It was “Hey, that thing in your stomach’s not gonna come out a toaster, right? It’s a baby!”

Oh, I thought I was really, super clever with that one. Because I loved talking about the babies. I talked about the babies at the high school Young Republicans Club–not only was I the president, but also the founder. I talked about the babies at Club 412, the evangelical punk teen hang-out in Fort Worth I frequented with my friends. I talked about the babies in class. I cried about the babies while I strummed my guitar. I wrote songs about the babies, imagining myself as a broken, murderous whore who regretted her abortions.

I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other on abortion until I started hanging out with right-wing punk rock kids in high school. Then, somebody–probably one of the older teenage punk rock boys I would later fend off in the back of a car or behind the chapel at church camp–handed me a pamphlet with an aborted fetus on the front. The pamphlet told me all about how abortion causes breast cancer and about how women who abort can never be redeemed in the eyes of God and will live with heartache and depression for the rest of their lives, a shell of the beautiful thing they could have been if they’d only carried to term. I was outraged. I couldn’t believe women were killing members of my own generation–my sisters and brothers!–just because they couldn’t keep their legs together.

Because while I said it was about the babies, it wasn’t. It was about slut-shaming. I absolutely loved slut-shaming. Because I was saving myself for marriage–well, oral sex doesn’t really count anyway, does it?–I knew that I would always be right and virtuous and I would never be a murderer like those sluts. The issue couldn’t possibly be up for real debate, to my mind: either you were a baby-killer slut, or you behaved like a proper Christian woman and only let him get to third base. Babies were simultaneously women’s punishment for having premarital sex and beautiful gifts from Jesus Himself. That didn’t seem like a contradiction in my mind. It was just another one of God’s perfect mysteries.

After all, I was 16, 17, 18. I knew everything. And what I knew more than anything else was that anyone who got herself into the position of having an unwanted pregnancy was filthy in body and soul. And again, since I would absolutely never have premarital sex, I would absolutely never make the decision to murder my child. Because I was pure, and so were babies, and together, me and the babies and my perfect hymen, we were all going to be fine if we could just fight the ignorant sluts. So that’s what I did. I talked and argued and cajoled and pontificated. I ministered to the heathen nerdgirl sluts in Telnet chats and online bulletin boards. I stood up for what I believed in, which was: If you do not believe like me, you deserve whatever brand of God’s wrath comes your way.

But, you know, to hear me talk, it was all about the babies. The innocent children. The mass genocide! Perpetuated, of course, by millions of American women who I imagined happily scooping out their wombs with ladles before heading back out for another gang-bang. In private, my anti-choice friends and I would laugh and laugh (or, in some cases, LOL and LOL, if we were chatting online) about how stupid women were for having premarital sex. How evil they were for not being able to control themselves. How great I was for not having sex with my boyfriend. How loved and special I was in the eyes of God because I didn’t let my boyfriend, you know, do it with me.

To Read the Rest of the Essay

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