My Confession

I found a wonderful blog, The Erstwhile Conservative, while searching for posts on the Egyptian Revolution. I swear to God, it was looking in a mirror with a guy staring back at me. When I read his post, Why I Have to Repent, it blew me away.

Like him, I came from a very Conservative Christian background. He is now a self-professed, “unapologetic skeptic of Conservative thinking.” In that post, he shared writings from those Conservative days. Wow. Talk about purging one’s soul.

So here goes nothing.

I was anti-choice. So much so that I joined a protest at an abortion clinic when I was 17.

God, that was hard to write.

Going to college exposed me to radically different thinking. Polar opposites of the views of my upbringing and the Christian high school I attended. I was forced to listen to them, while examining my own.

Enter required reading for one of my classes: The Handmaid’s Tale. This dystopian novel was about a future where women are the property of an all-male theocratic government. This book rocked my world. It made me think. Really think. Is a future like this possible? Can women be nothing more than walking uteri?

It wasn’t hard for me to see the similarities between the anti-choice movement and this nightmare scenario. Women would have no say in what happens to their bodies. This was my turning point.

I was now pro-choice. I learned that pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. The woman has the right to choose to carry to term or have an abortion. You, me, and the government should not have a say so. We aren’t the ones pregnant. They are.

I hate being called pro-abortion, as I said in my post, Infanticide is not a Synonym of Abortion. Why? It’s simply not true.

Years after my “switch,” a family member of mine became pregnant (unplanned). She asked me what she should do. This is what I said, “This decision is completely up to you. I’m not going to love you more or less, whatever you decide. But if it were me, I would keep it. You will have our total support – financial, emotional, all of it. You’re family. And you know you can count on us.”

She was very lucky. She had the support of her family. What about those women who don’t? What if they can’t support a child? They know their situation the best. The decision is theirs.

So there it is. My confession. I was anti-choice. I am now pro-choice.


What did my family member choose? Her daughter turns 13 in September.

43 responses to “My Confession

  • Kendrick Macdowell

    Very interesting Spinny. Wow. Space forbids the kind of thorough exploration I’d most enjoy, having myself grown up in an evangelical Christian household, and having migrated from very conservative, to very liberal, to even more liberal, to somewhat liberal, to conservative, to liberal, to somewhat conservative, to somewhat liberal, to conservative, to whatever I am now (only seeing in retrospect permits me to put a label on myself). 🙂 There were signature influences at each of these resting places in my journey, and I love them all, honor them all. I cannot imagine singling out some part of the rich human tapestry of my political history – all of which was honest, as with you and as with Erstwhile Conservative – for judgment and repentance.

    Let me suggest, respectfully and from an obviously disabled distance, that Erstwhile Conservative may not really be your kindred spirit. I took a look at his blog. He is a very intelligent and very capable writer, but the religious (!) tropes of judgment and repentance do not seem to suit you. You have the courage of your convictions, with no evident need to cut the Other down to size. There is not the slightest hint of sarcasm or meanness in your engagements with the Other – much less any “road to Damascus”-style intensity to make up for all that mortifying error from which you’ve allegedly evolved.

    It takes all types Spinny. Your voice is unique. I like it. I won’t say “don’t change,” because I’d obviously be a hypocrite. But please do consider your less polemical, more generous and expansive soul a gift.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Thank you so much for that, Kendrick. It was comforting to read that you have gone back and forth between Conservative and Liberal, in varying intensities. I don’t feel alone. I guess I am used to seeing people who change their stances staying there – “forever.” That’s why I felt like the odd duckling out.

      I appreciate it. It was very good last night for the spinny head. 🙂

  • Snoring Dog Studio

    No one should have to apologize for growing in wisdom and knowledge through open-minded exploration of the issues. We should rightfully fear the dogmatic, narrow viewpoints of individuals who choose not to see that behind the rhetoric are people living, dying, working, loving, making mistakes. I voted for Bush – both of them. I voted for Obama. I admire and respect Jimmy Carter. I’ve been a proponent of capital punishment. Now, I’m not so sure. I read, I learn, I re-evaluate what I think I know. That’s what thinking people should do. So, I very much enjoyed your post, spinny. You’re human. Like me.

    • Terrance H.

      “…dogmatic, narrow viewpoints of individuals…”

      Like the doctrinaire pro-choice stance many liberals hold. Both dogmatic and —- narrow.

      • lbwoodgate

        Unlike those on the right???

      • Terrance H.

        I’m not sure what you’re talking about, Norman.

      • Snoring Dog Studio

        You make no sense, Terrance. You stated it yourself:
        Me (Terrance) = Pro-Life, Anti-Choice
        You = Pro-Choice, Anti-Life.

        And yet, you’re not sure what Norman means. You’ve taken a stand, Terrance and it sounds firm – it leaves no gray area on the boundaries. You’ve also created two categories of people when it comes to the subject of abortion, thus creating a rather narrow world of possibilities. But, I realize this kind of reasoning is easier for lots of folks. It avoids all that nasty questioning and doubt.

    • lbwoodgate

      “I’m not sure what you’re talking about, Norman.”

      Might that have something to do with the blinders you occasionally wear? 😦

      • Terrance H.

        You mean the ones I borrowed from you?

        I returned them a week ago, right around the time you started claiming Fox News was unfair and unbalanced….

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Thank you so much for that too, Snoring Dog. I am constantly doing that, reading learning, re-evaluating. Makes me think that I think too much. Hahaha. Ay ya yi, this thing called life.

    • Terrance H.

      Why doesn’t it make sense? I can actually support my position with these pesky little things called facts, whereas pro-choicers have mere estimates, like, say, 1,000,000 women a year died from illegal, botched abortions! Of course they know that figure to be totally false, but they use it anyway. And why? Because they are doctrinaire pro-choicers who cannot accept that their position is untenable. If my position had nothing to support it’s verity, it would be doctrinaire. This isn’t the case.

      And what other possibilities are there, Snooze? Either one supports abortion rights, or doesn’t. The whole “Well, I don’t support abortion for any reason, but I think if a women is young and can’t afford…” blah blah blah blah. That person supports abortion rights, period.

      You may be able to confuse people with abstraction in art, but this issue is pretty clear.

  • Terrance H.

    That the self-styled “pro-choicers” get to pick the names by which each group will be known is flimflam.

    I don’t believe abortion should be a legal choice, just as I’m sure you don’t believe car theft should be a legal choice. We must both be anti-choice….

    The “anti-choice” dubbing is just another way for liberals to demonize people. It makes zero sense.

    Me = Pro-Life, Anti-Choice

    You = Pro-Choice, Anti-Life.


    • SpinnyLiberal

      Demonize? Really, Terrance? I think “anti-choice” is a lot less provocative than “pro abortion.”

      Describe yourself and me as you see fit. I will do the same.

      • Terrance H.

        So then would it be fair to say that you are anti-choice because you don’t believe car theft should be a legal choice?

        We are all anti-choice, then. But not all of us support abortion….

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Naah. I’m pro-choice. 🙂 I’ll call myself what I want, however logically inconsistent. I choose to do so. 😉

        And if it makes you feel better, you can call me “anti-choice.” 😉

      • Terrance H.

        It doesn’t make me feel better to call you “anti-choice,” or even anti-life, or just plain crazy. I’m simply made it a habit to call out “pro-choicers” who refer to me and my kind as “anti-choice,” as if we’re simple-minded buffoons seeking only to keep women in their place.

        What we really want is to protect unborn children, but then again, we shouldn’t let facts get in the way of the liberal bombast.

        I don’t have a problem with you because of this issue, because you wisely stay away from it – for the most part. But being the “tag surfer” I am, I often run into the most ridiculous “pro-choice” arguments ever constructed, and after taking them in, you could reasonably suggest the author is more “pro-abortion” than anything else.

      • SpinnyLiberal

        If you’re offended by “anti-choice,” by all means continue to call us out on it. And show how illogical it is. Some may continue to use the term (like me), others may change.

        Thanks for not having a problem with me on this issue because I wisely stay away. It’s interesting how you phrased that. It feels rather “bully-ish.” Or it’s just the defensive thing today.

        I will probably continue to wisely stay away out of self-protection. Or not. 😉

      • Terrance H.

        What’s wrong with the way I phrased it? You obviously believe the same type of nonsense other pro-choicers believe, but you don’t often talk about it. That’s what I meant.

        You are entitled to your opinions, obviously, and though I know you hold ones that differ from my own, it doesn’t upset me because I don’t have to read them, so we don’t get into it. I’m incapable of discussing the issue without becoming enraged, because I’m absolutely convinced of my logic. And what’s more, I can support it with facts, rather than wishful thinking and spurious estimates.

        I have plenty of liberal friends, and we don’t talk about abortion because it’s such a divisive issue. This goes beyond your right to talk about what you want, and my defending your right to disagree with me(think Voltaire said something along those lines).

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Yeah, it’s the defensive thing. I apologize for erroneously thinking that it sounded bullyish.

        It’s definitely a divisive issue. Very. I do try to stay away. Lately, there has been so much about the issue. Roe v. Wade anniversay, the monster doctor and his clinic of horrors, those two unbelievably offensive bills in the House right now. Weird that it is all happening in a short time frame.

      • Terrance H.

        I can’t tell if you’re being a smart-ass or if you’re being serious. Arg.

        I used to be pro-choice, you know. So I understand the pro-choice position, and I believe it’s a bunch of nonsense. And perhaps you believe the pro-life position is shortsighted, failing to take into account *insert noun, adjective, and verb*

        That’s fine. All I’m saying is that I’m glad you don’t talk about it too much, because as I said, I’m incapable of discussing the issue calmly.

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Yeah. It’s too divisive, and it can stir up a lot of emotions.

        Time for pancakes. I’m blogging so much I forget to eat sometimes. Hahaha sad. 🙂

  • lbwoodgate

    Nice post spinny. I had a conversion experience too back when I was 23 that put things in better perspective for me about a multitude of issues I had been conditioned for as a child and an apathetic teen.

    • Terrance H.

      I arrived at my conservative views somewhat differently. My mother has always been rather indifferent to politics, but my father, on the other hand, is the biggest, most doctrinaire liberal you ever want to meet. Every single, solitary seating around the dinner table, I heard about the “evil, racist, women-hating Republicans” tearing down society.

      Church? HA! Never went. Christmas? Just another opportunity for my liberal father to argue with conservative family members. And now? Oh, well, I’m a brainwashed idiot, succumbing to the bombast of people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

      I’ve seen the transparent hypocrisy with which many liberals operate, and it’s sickening. That’s one reason I’m a conservative.

      • lbwoodgate

        Need I remind you that the Universe doesn’t revolve around your own personal experiences? Hypocrisy is not solely reserved for liberals my friend.

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Liberals don’t own hypocrisy, Terrance. There are plenty of Conservatives who espouse one thing and live another. Easy example – Larry Craig, his anti-gay legislation, and “tap tap tap.”

        I’m sure you can find an example of a liberal hypocrite. Many. And we could go back and forth. It will still prove that no side is hypocrite-free.

      • Terrance H.

        I never claimed my side was hypocrite-free, or that my experiences are somehow representative of the majority. You offered up your experiences, so I did the same. Are you implying that your experience is somehow more valid?

        My contention was that I lived with a liberal hypocrite who influenced my political leanings – away from his own.

        If someone can show me where I claimed conservatives were incapable of hypocrisy, I’d love to see it.

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Your experience is not less valid, Terrance. A little defensive today? 😉

      • Terrance H.

        I like you because you have an uncanny ability to be a smart-ass without inciting anger.


      • SpinnyLiberal

        Diplomacy in action Haha.
        I had to move this. The hierarchy thing gets so confusing when there are a lot of posts.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Thanks lb. It is fascinating how certain experiences can dramatically change your thinking. A book that seemed innocuous did it for me. Words really do have power.

      • Terrance H.

        I’m wondering why you didn’t say the same thing to me when I explained that my experience with liberal-hypocrisy influenced my beliefs. Instead you went on an indignant rant about Larry Craig and conservative hypocrisy.

        A little defensive today, Spinny.

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Oh yeah, a lot defensive. And super cranky. Lack of sleep and a long week does that to spinny. 🙂

  • lbwoodgate

    you know, you’re concern about a writing block might have something to do with your insistence on addressing only those things you hate and disagree with. I’m told negative energy tends to do that but reading the crystals isn’t really my thing.

    However, you still might want to try considering subject matter that builds bridges rather than walls. Just a suggestion

    • Terrance H.

      What are you talking about, lbwoodgate?

      I’m not going to agree with you or Spinny on very many issues. I can be decent with you two, and I think I have been. But it seems as though you harbor a bit of resentment.

      What’s the deal with that?

      • Kendrick Macdowell

        Terrance, with apologies for the presumption, I am going to appoint myself Momentary Moderator (a position that disappears as soon as the narrow task is done, and would that it were so with our politicians). I honestly don’t see any resentment by anyone. You have an intense sincerity, which is endearing. I won’t presume to speak definitively for Spinny or lbwoodgate, but I suspect they quite like you, or they wouldn’t continue engaging you. But often the words you use (mindful of how much we lose with typed communication) are quite provocative. On the screen, your words can look angry, even mean-spirited at times, and it takes a while to get used to you, and then know that you are not really “angry” (even when you type that you are enraged), much less intentionally mean-spirited, and that you are being your intensely sincere self. There’s not much percentage in trying to divine the emotional state or hidden motivations of people who type messages — other than to give people the benefit of the doubt given the very high frequency of mistaken assessments. I respect and welcome your style of sincere engagement, even look forward to it, and I have particularly appreciated your engagements at my blog. Your focus on issues is always stimulating. Your honesty about yourself can be amazing. Your occasional focus on other people writing, I’d give that a rest.

      • Terrance H.


        Thanks. I appreciate your input, and I’ll certainly try to cool things down a bit. But I cannot understand why passion and provocative words are somehow, in lbwoodgate’s mind, indicative of some type of mental pathology. I frankly don’t appreciate the implication that I’m mentally unbalanced simply because I’m passionate. That’s a bit of a stretch, I find.

        I happen to like you, lbwoodgate, and Spinny, which is why I frequent your blogs. And, yes, I bring strong opinions, but why anyone would want to engage those who only agree with them is beyond me. I for one welcome disagreement and passion from the other side. But I do see where you are coming from. I’ll heed your good advice.


  • lbwoodgate

    Kendrick. Thanks for taking the time to interject as Momentary Moderator. It was well timed and advice that some of us more than others could take to heart as well.

  • Snoring Dog Studio

    I thank you, too, Kendrick. I’ll comment on my personal experience, not woodgate’s, not yours, not spinny’s or terrence’s — and it goes to the change experience that Spinny referred to in her post. My personal experience is that I adopted stands on issues when I was much younger and I held passionately to those. My views on them were unchanging, and often, quite rigid. But time passes. I experienced events and people who made it impossible for me to not see that there were so many grey areas – so many “what ifs.” Life is complicated and messy because we’re human. We make mistakes. A pregnant woman finds herself in an untenable position. She makes a choice. She has to live with it. From a very personal level, I’m prochoice. From a 40,000 foot level? Less so, but only because our healthcare system, our educational system, the economic environment we live in have to offer a better way to create circumstances that don’t force a woman to make that choice.

    Texan here, too. 20 years in San Antonio.

  • SpinnyLiberal

    Thanks, Kendrick, for playing Moderator. 🙂 Now that I’m better-rested, fed, and not so defensive, I’ll weigh in.

    I dig you, Terrance. You have passion of your convictions, however maddening they may be to me. Aside from the “just plain crazy” comment up thread, you’re good at bantering without the ad hom crap. I appreciate that. I get to hear the other side’s POV without reading “shut up libtard” like in the Yahoo! Comments Section.

  • Dave the Sage

    One should never be ashamed of what they believe, or once did. I am unabashedly pro-life. My wife and her mother are probably more so than mine. If a pro-life doctor had not given my mother-in-law some gried about her decisoin to abort (and changed her mine) she wouldn’t even exist nor would our three beautiful daughters. Her mother thanks God every day she didn’t make the mistake of having an abortion and playing the role of God with another innocent human life. I have helped many women realize that abortion is about human rights, not women’s rights. And when that light ‘clicks on’ they realized how many fellow woman’s lives have been snuffed out by the butchery of abortion. All human life is sacred and should be treated and respected as such. Infanticide in the womb should not be mistaken for liberation. That is probably the most devious lie that feminism provided to the last couple of generations. The guilt and the torture so many worry carry for following for that lie is heartbreaking to see and hear. It is always ethically and morally correct to err on the side of life.

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