Destiny Herndon-DeLaRosa

What the pro-life movement means to me.

In DMN on August 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm

The reformed pro-life movement is not about shouting at frightened women. It’s not about hate-filled debates or holding up signs containing graphic images at organized protests.

It’s about helping women utilize resources that will allow them the option of choosing life for their unborn child, plain and simple. It’s about education and assistance. It’s about cultivating informed and well thought-out decisions.

As a member of this movement, I don’t see myself as a baby savior. My apologies if that offends you.

I have a heart for women – especially women who are feeling terrified, alone and desperate. These emotions are all too vivid to me. Nine years ago, at the immature age of 16, I became pregnant.

My universe imploded.

Suddenly, the big-girl choices I had been making caught up with me, and the little girl inside was petrified. I was a good girl, a good daughter, a good student. How had this happened to me?

I quickly found myself single, humiliated and the hot topic of conversation within my sophomore class and beyond. I went from being a blip on the screen of social existence to a proverbial El Nino.

Though I was hardly the first to get pregnant in my community, I was certainly one of the few who would carry my baby full term. I was ridiculed and mocked, teased and judged. At one point they offered me the option of going to an alternative school across town, but I chose to stay at Allen High School to maintain that small remaining sliver of normalcy I needed so desperately.

When I was not in school, I was working, saving every dime in case I chose to keep this child rather than placing him for adoption, a decision which I did not make until I was in my sixth month of pregnancy.

Throughout this I had something many girls did not, though: a heroically supportive family. They discussed all of my options with me at length and vowed to support me in whatever decision I made. There is not a day that goes by that I do not realize how incredibly blessed I was to have that wise counsel available to me. Based on the grace with which my experience played out, I have dedicated my life to making sure other women are also given this gift.

It’s not politically correct, but it’s where my heart is, and logical or not, I feel like I am commissioned to pass it on.

Too often in our community, low-income, minority and teenage mothers are bullied into the “logical” choice without first being able to weigh all their options. Peers, parents and well-intentioned people might tell them the only answer is termination. They might say that if they choose to keep the baby it will prevent them from reaching the success they expect in their lives. I am living-proof that this is simply not true.

On Jan. 16 in downtown Dallas other members of the reformed pro-life movement will march in a unified belief that women deserve better options. I am well aware that this event strikes a nerve with many in the community, but I choose not to judge pro-choice activists by their extremists, and I ask that you not to judge us by ours.

I have shared my story so that you might understand who that is in front of the Earle Cabell Federal building, where Roe vs. Wade was first filed 37 years ago. I hope you see past our chants and into our hearts, where our true intentions reside.

We want to help. We want to do good, and while, yes, a few of us may be Glenn Beck-droids merely set out for world domination, many of us are simply the victims – or victors, rather – of our own experiences here to give others what we have so mercifully received.

{Published in the Dallas Morning News & posted here on their website}

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