On Good Friday 2011, an old high school friend who I had located through Face Book decided to “unfriend” me. He did so because he told me he did not wish to hear any more about my views on abortion. He further said that “all” of my friends knew my stance already, and that it was not necessary to repeat it further.
The irony of this is that I have seen this particular “friend” exactly 6 times since 1974, which is over one third of a century ago. 5 of those times were at high school reunions, and the other was when he graciously came to my dad’s 80th birthday in 2002. During none of those occasions did we discuss my (or his) views on anything significant, nor did we do more than the very cursory “catching up” one does at such events—“how many children do you have, what do you do for work these days” and the like.
He knows virtually nothing about my journey from high school “Jesus freak” to evangelical ministry, my marriage, our 4 miscarriages and later attempts to adopt, our eventual divorce, my then years as a gay activist and finally my return to the Roman Catholic Church and commitment to a celibate lifestyle. Those are the things that define me most and make me the person who I am today. All he knows is I posted one too many times on abortion and he was tired of it. And with a pluck of a key I was deleted from his life, at least for now.
None of those posts were aimed at him in the least. In fact not any of them were aimed at anyone particular on my FB page or elsewhere. All of them were because it happens to be an issue I am incredibly passionate about, and which is particularly informed by my faith as a Christian and Roman Catholic.
As I told him in my last email, which I am not sure whether he read or not since he had already “unfriended” me by that time, I have never, not once in my life condemned a woman for having an abortion. I realize it is one of the most potentially horrendous decisions anyone can ever make, and is very often done out of desperation, a sense of extreme aloneness and lack of viable options. Often it is due to the pressure of a boyfriend or parent. Other times the male parent of the unborn child never even knows that he fathered a child. In all cases the pain can be close to unbearable for everyone concerned.
But supporting the person having the abortion is not the same as supporting the procedure itself, or its increasing commonality in our society. I believe that so very often there are other choices available that are not even considered because the very societal mentality in this and so many other areas is to take the quickest and easiest way “out.” And that mentality is what I so struggle with, especially when statistically one out of four pregnancies is now terminated before birth. If we are being intellectually honest, we cannot help but admit that abortion is now used frequently as a form of contraception, or at very least becomes the next “best” option when contraception fails. And this is terribly, terribly wrong in my view.
So I continue to share. Perhaps one day someone reading one of my “tiresome” posts will have just found out that she is pregnant, and it will remind her that other options do exist, whether crisis pregnancy centers, private adoptions, or other alternatives. Or maybe someone’s child or grandchild will be the person at stake. Who knows? As I told my “friend,” I would rather lose him on my FB page than to take the risk of someone not reading desperately needed words at a crucial moment.
Unfortunately he was not ready for that line of reasoning for whatever cause. To him, my page was to be a lighthearted way of him “keeping up” with me after all these years and nothing more. Yet as I mentioned he had never particularly done so during all of the 37 years since we graduated together, even though I have occasionally emailed, written letters, and even called him from time to time over the years. Go figure.
Real and lasting friendship never insists upon the other person being or becoming less than who he or she is as a pre-condition. I have both friends and family members who are strongly pro-choice and disagree with me on this and many other topics. But there is reciprocal respect, and willingness to either dialogue or to just “agree to disagree.” Because they love me, they put up with my views, even if they too are “tired” of my ranting. Apparently my friendship, FB or otherwise, was not worth that to this person. And for that I am truly sad.