On Life and That Lightbulb Moment

On Life and That Lightbulb Moment
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

I’ve written previously here about my “conversion” to conservatism and, more specifically, my becoming pro-life. It didn’t happen overnight. But as I discussed during my appearance on NewsTalkStl.com Friday morning (with Paul Curtman guest hosting for Vic Porcelli), I can pinpoint one of the key moments in that conversion.

It was in roughly 2004 or 2005. I was already a mother and so had developed a fuller appreciation for what it means to conceive and carry a child. But I was still camped out in that “I would never have an abortion myself…but I don’t believe it’s my place to tell others what they should do” comfort zone that seemed, at the time, so nuanced. (It wasn’t. It was lazy and/or cowardly. It enabled me to take a stand that wasn’t really a stand, while escaping critical examination of my belief(s).)

I had a friend/former co-worker whom I’d often meet for lunch. He being a conservative and me being a liberal and us both being lawyers who were political junkies, most lunch conversations involved us debating the political hot topics of the day. The conversations were lively and sometimes grew heated, though never hateful.

We were at TGI Friday’s, and the topic turned to abortion. I made, what I thought, was a persuasive point in support of maintaining the status quo — that Roe v. Wade had been the law of the land for over 30 years; and that more than a generation of women had come of age under that law and developed a reasonable expectation of the “protections” it afforded. To overturn it would be to take that away; it would be unjust, I contended.

My friend calmly pointed out that slavery had been legal for hundreds of years.

That was one of those lightbulb moments for me. With just a few, pointed words, he’d driven a stake through the heart of my argument. I wasn’t angry or defensive about it, mind you. Just nonplussed. I had no pithy comeback. I had no comeback at all.

It wasn’t that that was the only argument in my pro-choice arsenal. I could have pivoted and made another run at it. I could have moved the goalposts. But that was the first time I’d seriously pondered the parallels between slavery and abortion — and it sent me reeling. It was the first real crack in the protective wall I’d built around my beliefs. It was the first time I truly confronted the personhood of the unborn. And I wasn’t able to readily wave it away.

It sat with me and worked its way into my subconscious — and slowly into my heart. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Once you consider the possibility that the unique being formed at conception is a life — a human life — you can no longer dismiss its value. You can no longer nuance away its claim: the most basic right of all.

You can listen to the entire conversation at the link below (editor’s note: forward the audio to 12:17).


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