If Roe v. Wade had been overturned five years ago, I would have been ecstatic. I would have been posting pictures of fetuses on Facebook, begging women not to murder their babies. Talking about how precious life is. Quoting Bible verses like, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” My church friends and I would have celebrated as the pastor preached about the sanctity of life and the millions of babies going to be saved, and I probably would have cried at the thought. 

That girl disgusts me now. I hate that I used to be her. 

A Steady Diet of Bullshit

I grew up going to church twice a week. I went to VBS every summer, and once I was too old to go, I volunteered. I was a leader in youth group. My school was private, religious. We wore uniforms and went to chapel every Thursday, plus a Bible class every day. All of my friends were Christian, either from church or school. We thanked God for every meal and prayed every night before bed. 

But there were a lot of things we didn’t talk about. If questions were too difficult (or impossible) to answer, we were interrogated. “Why are you questioning the will of God?” It was meant to shut us up, but my mind was constantly reeling with questions, doubt, fear. I spent most nights as a child crying myself to sleep, terrified of dying. Terrified I wouldn’t make it into heaven. Terrified that I would. But still, I believed everything they told me. 

My entire life was myreligion, and that’s how exactly how they wanted it to be. You and your faith become so intertwined that, without it, you’re nothing. The idea of losing your faith is… it’s the worst thing imaginable. After all, if the book you’ve formed all of your beliefs and morals and opinions around isn’t true, who are you? Without it, you have nothing.  

Andthatis exactly what the Church does. Fearmongers. Crawls so deep into your skin that you all you do is eat, sleep, breath religion. Eventually, I got tired of being afraid.

Not Your Body, Not Your Choice

So how does a pro-life, youth-group-leading Christian turn into a queer feminist writing about gun control and abortion?

I went to college. You know, the place that turns you liberal. I heard that a lot when I moved back to my hometown. “You changed. That’s what happens when you go to a liberal arts school. They teach you all that propaganda.” The ironic thing was, college was the first institution thatdidn’tfeed me propaganda. Instead, I had professors and mentors who simply handed me a book and said, “Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. What do you think? What do you believe?” 

That’s what changed my life. The choice. Out of all the things that college taught me, the most important one was that I had a choice.

And at the end of the day, that’s all people with a uterus are asking for. We’re asking for the choice, for options, for the ability to make ourdecisionsabout our own bodies. We are the only ones who should be making decisions about our bodies. Just once, I would like to live my life for myself instead of at the whim of men who will never know what it’s like to have a uterus and the weight that comes with it. 

Abortion Is Healthcare

I had already made up my mind about my stance on abortion before I had a miscarriage. By then, I had already “turned liberal” but that experience only solidified it for me. I can’t say for sure that I would have gotten anabortionif I’d had a choice — but thats the thing. I didn’t get a choice. I know how shitty that feels, to not have a choice. To know this horrible, painful thing is happening to you whether you want it or not. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. 

For a long, long time, I didn’t tell anyone about my miscarriage. Just my best friend and my grandma, who’s more like a mother. I was so scared that someone would think I did it on purpose and tell me I was going to hell. I was scared people would give their sympathies and pity me. Or that they’d try to celebrate a life that never existed and remind me of it constantly. 

I was lucky. My miscarriage could have required medical care or hospitalization. But next time? Next time, I will be denied my right to an abortion… even if I don’t want to give birth. Even if it’s medically necessary to save my life. Even if being pregnant or giving birth will kill me. Even if it’s the product of rape and abuse. Even if it’s the product of incest. Even if my baby is incompatible with life. Even if my baby dies. 

Next time, I won’t be fine. None of us will. None of us will have a choice, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it.

Keep Your Religion Out Of My Uterus

I’ve been on both sides of the so-called debate. I’ve seen both sides, heard both stories. If my years in church taught me anything, it’s that fear is a powerful motivator, and it’s what institutions like the Church and the government use to keep us quiet, to shut us up, to stay in control. But I’m not afraid anymore. We won’t stay quiet.

There are very few things that bring me peace these days, as the world burns, but I do find comfort in knowing how many of us there are fighting this battle. Albeit, it’s a battle we shouldn’t still be fighting, but it’s also a battle that we’ve won before. 

If your god tells you not to have anabortion, then don’t. If your god tells you not to have sex, don’t. If your god tells you not to be on birth control, don’t. I truly don’t give a fuck. But your god is not my god, not anymore. He doesn’t tell me what to do. Neither do you.