“I…AM NOT…PRO-DEATH!” These words were hurled at me like a crazed freight train screeching around a curve to reach its final destination. And there I was, gobsmacked by this poignant sentence’s veracity, slamming into me like a lame duck waiting to receive a piercing and final bullet (insert Nintendo’s Duck Hunt’s “game over” jingle).
Like many pro-life women, I sincerely believed that if you labeled yourself pro-choice, you were cut from the worst kind. The kind that was perfectly okay with ending a child’s life before it began. I believed you were a mythical representation of evil in human form that didn’t flinch when seeing those ghastly visuals of altered fetuses. Worse, you would probably be okay with killing a child with your bare hands if given the opportunity.
Okay, the last sentence is an extreme and gross exaggeration. But I sincerely wish the first part was just an exaggeration too.
Unfortunately, based on some of the rooms I’ve sat in, I don’t believe this is a far-off portrayal of how the right sees many pro-choice advocates on the left. Lest I remind you, once upon a time, I participated in a congressional fellowship with the Heritage Foundation.
Nevertheless, there I was, and there she was, standing face-to-face in her immaculately decorated home, and you couldn’t hear a pin drop between us.
It was October of 2017. I was recently invited to attend a meeting to learn about a newly formed state-based organization supporting women running for office in Ohio — the Matriots.
To be honest, I was nervous to show up. While I worked on Capitol Hill and was passionate about politics, I was also fully aware of the perception of conservative feminists. I don’t need to point to the countless cultural examples of conservative women, such as Ivanka Trump, Nikki Haley, Meghan McCain, and Condoleezza Rice, who are frequently the butt of late-night jokes and satire. Additionally, I was all too familiar with the many examples of how women who lean conservative are often left without a seat at the proverbial pro-women table during significant cultural events. And, to be honest, there are occasionally some (okay fine…many) instances where we are left out for a good reason. Anyone who recently watched FX’s 2020…