I went for a run in the cool September sun on Wednesday.
I had dropped the girls off at daycare and headed into campus. The sun was warm, but the air was still cool in the shade. It was a perfect combination of summer and early fall.
The first part of the run looped through a local wooded park, an easy 3k. Out of the park then up the hill, I was feeling strong. Up a long road with a gentle incline, around 4k in and beside the parking entrance to the hospital stood protesters. That’s not a common sight in this conservative little city of mine and I read the signs. Pray to end Abortion. My stomach turned. Old women, sitting on chairs on the sidewalk.
Opposite to them was a younger woman, younger than me. Blue hair, scuffed high-tops, leggings with bulky socks pulled over them. I thought she was protesting the protesters, so I made eye contact, smiled at her. Until I read her sign and realized she was with them.
I kept running, ashamed at myself for smiling at her, ashamed at myself for not speaking out. Because shame on them. Shame! Who are they to judge the actions of another person? Who are any of us?
There was a time when I opposed abortion. There was a time when it was black and white for me. But I haven’t felt that way in a long, long time. I used to think the options were “Pro Life” and “Pro Abortion,” though now I see that’s not it at all.
I wouldn’t necessarily label myself as Pro-Choice. But I wouldn’t not.
I have never been in a situation in my life (thankfully) where abortion needed to be an option on the table. I think I know what I would have chosen, but because it never happened to me, the concrete fact remains that I don’t know.
But no matter who the person is, what they’ve done up to the moment when Abortion is chosen as the best or most convenient or least painful or only option, I truly believe that no one has the right to judge their (completely legal) actions.
So, shame. Shame on that girl, shame on those women. Shame on all of us who sit in judgement. And shame on me for not turning around and speaking my mind.