The pictures showed a fetus being pulled halfway through a woman's birth canal and scissors jamming into the base of the skull to create a hole through which the brain could be suctioned.
At lunchtime, I discovered that the paper had been removed, having caused a mini-uproar amongst my classmates.
“Xiomara, why would you put that up on the wall?” Beth,* a girl who rarely spoke to me, asked me from her seat on the cushioned bench. Beneath the anger, her green eyes showed genuine confusion.
“I just want people to know the truth about abortion. How it's the taking of a life.”
“Those pictures are disgusting. The wall isn't for stuff like that. It's for announcements.”
“Well, it's my announcement,” I shrugged. “Everyone asks me why I'm pro-life, and that's why... because it's horrible. People should know what's it's like before saying they think it's okay.”
“So you don't believe a woman should have the right to have an abortion?”
“I think a woman can do whatever she wants, but I don't think abortion is the right choice.”
“What if you were raped?” another classmate interjected. “Would you have the baby?”
“Yes, and I'd love him or her.”
Beth and the others looked at me as if I had just crapped on the carpet. “That's crazy.”
“I'm just saying, so like, okay, I believe God gave everyone the freedom to make their own choices. I, personally, would never choose to have an abortion no matter the circumstances. God has a purpose for that child's life.” With that, I walked away from the girls seated around the Lounge with their mouths agape, for dramatic effect.
On the train ride home that day, I told my best friend, “I don't know why they got so mad. I just posted pictures of the truth, and they freaked out. It was so annoying.”
“I think Beth had an abortion two years ago,” Aurora answered.
“That's so young!” I said, astounded Beth wasn't a virgin like us. “Was she raped?”
“I don't know. I think he was her boyfriend, but that might be why she was so upset…”
*Name has been changed.
I'd grown up in a Pentecostal church and had been told my whole life that abortion was evil. Furthermore, I felt as if I was just following the command to share my faith with others.
After speaking with my best friend, though, I felt terrible for what I'd done. She helped me to realize that I'd ambushed these young women first, and they were just reacting to my callousness.
Even though I felt that people should know the facts about partial birth abortion, I certainly didn't approach the topic in a sensitive manner.
When I look back on the events of the day, I imagine what it must feel like to be chided for something I did that I may not have been proud of but found necessary. I feel upset with myself for putting Beth in such a harrowing position, and I want to say, "I'm sorry."
Friends who have asked me whether or not they should have an abortion have gotten the same response: "It's your choice. Whatever you decide, I'll support you."
It may baffle many of the people I've grown up around, but I would wholeheartedly define myself as pro-choice now. When I was pregnant with Equis, the thought of having an abortion definitely fluttered around in my mind, but I ultimately knew that choice wasn't for me. I wanted to have my baby even though I wasn't financially set up or even in a relationship with his father. However, to say that I would never have an abortion, no matter the circumstances, would be false. I don't know that for sure. I really don't know what I would do if my life were in danger, for example. Sacrifice my life for my baby? Or sacrifice my baby's life for mine?
Ultimately, it doesn't matter what I would personally do when it comes to other people. I believe it is a woman's right to choose to do what she thinks is best for her life and with her body. It's not my place to decide for her. It's not my place to judge.