I can without difficulty talk about how I wasn’t always a feminist. I speak publicly about my journey to understanding what being a feminist meant and why it is such an important movement. I am comfortable saying I once hated the F word but I can't help but feeling so much shame about things I used to think and say about abortion. I rarely bring my old views up in conversation. Even writing this is making me feel uncomfortable. I am fighting my urge to make excuses about it while I type.
The truth is I can't change who I was. I can't go back in time and just know better but I do have regrets knowing people heard back then what I had to say.
My fear is not so much about the "cancel culture.” I don't care if someone questions my current beliefs because of my past because I am proud to continuously learn and grow.
What I regret is knowing that I probably dropped some simplistic nonsense such as "people have to be responsible of their actions" in front of someone that, precisely as an act of responsibility, decided to end their pregnancy. I live now knowing I could have added to their pain. I hate that I didn't say the things I now know are the only correct things to say.
There are hundreds of reasons why people choose to end their pregnancy. I used to be one of those anti-choice people that had the nerve to split them into good and bad abortions categories. I was also all about strict time frames.
I used to think I knew better about how much time was enough time and I was quite happy with the Spanish law at the time (a certain amount of weeks for rape, others for foetal abnormality and always signed by a doctor when it was a matter of the mother's mental health). I was studying law in the university at the time they changed it and I couldn't understand why they had to.
I was convinced if I were raped I would take the pill the day after and deal with the trauma later. I used to proclaim, when called out about my views, that anyone could "play the mental health card" if needed. I naively thought (and I understand that being naive is a privilege) that nobody that needed was really going to miss out.
You feel my shame now, right? You get why I passionately defend abortion rights, but conveniently seemed to forget where I stood on it not that many years ago. I bet you get why I am writing this with a knot in my stomach.
I guess it’s why I always cry in pro-choice rallies and why I cried yesterday when reading about the law being passed in Texas. It’s why I cry when hearing the stories of women that have gone through it. I weep because it makes me so sad and angry how being a woman is political; how in 2021 our rights can be taken away from us so easily.
It also scares me how you don't need to be a two-headed-monster to feel entitled to women's lives, to believe you deserve a say and claim you know better. It scares me how easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking this should even be a debate at all.
I also cry with impotence and regret because I just want to get my message across to those that make this nonsense possible and tell them how wrong they are. I want to tell them that I know it! and that one day they will be like me bearing the burden of shame. I want to let them know that sadly their shame won’t be enough to make things right, because women will keep getting hurt while they comfortably go through that journey of unlearning and relearning as I once did. And that is if they do that journey at all. I want to tell them that ignorance and privilege causes pain. In some cases it costs lives.
We don't have the time to convince or persuade people one by one about the importance of abortion rights. But we can't afford not to do it either. We are left in this uncomfortable and deeply frustrating position, where nothing we say or do feels enough but the alternative, to do nothing, is unbearable.
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