Why I went from pro-choice to pro-life (Audio)

October 5, 2010 | 42 comments

Feet in the WombLast week I was honored to be invited to give a talk for Respect Life month. I decided to share my pro-choice to pro-life conversion story, and walk listeners through my step-by-step thought process that led me from being vehemently pro-choice to staunchly pro-life (including a bonus story of how I had the most epic socially awkward moment ever when I ended up in the midst of the March for Life counter-protest this year). Our friend and media guru Paul was kind enough to get it on video, and I’ll post that later. For now, here’s the audio. It’s 25 minutes long.

© 2010 Jennifer Fulwiler, all rights reserved

To download the MP3 file to your computer, right-click this link (or control-click on Mac) and choose “Save As.”

(Also, in case you’re wondering what the commotion is around the seven-minute mark, I invited sensitive listeners or those with children to step out of the room for a moment.)

Thanks again to everyone who was there. And if you’d like to read the two articles that the talk is based on, you can find them here:


  1. Megan

    AWESOME! Thanks for sharing this! You made so many points that absolutely gave me chills! I actually just wrote a post on my blog about the history of contraception in the United States leading up to Humanae Vitae. Contraception and abortion are so intertwined, and yet so few people understand that!

  2. Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for sharing these recordings! You are a great writer and speaker. I find myself trying to memorize everything you’re saying so that I can share it with others. You have a gift of finding the perfect phrases to explain your points.

  3. Denise

    I will watch the video when posted (I’m such a visual learner), but I read the articles and – wow. Excellently written, and I particularly love your points about why pro-choice women can feel that misdirected hate towards the pro-life movement; and how people can allow themselves to become innured to horrific things.

  4. TJIC

    I *never* listen to podcasts, because they move too slowly, and never keep my interest.

    I listened to all 24 minutes of this one.

    Excellent, from start to finish.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. Julie

    I can’t tell you how fantastic this is.

  6. Lauren

    Thank you so much for this post! The pro-choice mindset was ingrained into my worldview during college, and I’m still having trouble breaking away from it. (I’m getting a lot closer, though!)

    Reflecting on the two lists you’ve presented has been mind-blowing for me. It’s something that I’ve never seen brought up in pro-choice circles.

    Even in church, particularly back during the high school youth group years, it wasn’t something that was made clear to me. The reasoning behind WHY we should save sex for marriage was never discussed in detail, and if anything at all was mentioned, it typically wasn’t related to childbearing.

    Needless to say, I ended up pregnant only two years into college. It was really easy for me to think “In case of emergency, use abortion” when I was making it through pregnancy scares unscathed. But when pregnancy suddenly became a reality, it completely changed everything. (I also thought that there MUST be some point in time where the thing inside me becomes a real life and isn’t just a ball of cells, and if I could get an abortion before that point, everything would be OK. For me, a beating heart ended up being the determining factor…and that heart is still beating in the body of the toddler sleeping in the other room as I type this.)

    So, thank you again for this audio clip (it’s in my iTunes library now so I can always refer back to it when I need to!)

  7. Emily

    Thank you so much for sharing… eloquent, intelligent, and concise!
    Here is an interesting article that I think is a valuable addition to the discussion:http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/09/1657

  8. micaelaswift

    this is truly amazing. Thank you for sharing this. I know it must have been so difficult looking back at your path, but ‘your’ story is a ‘huge light’ in the darkness of this world, in the abortion/prochoice movement. I cannot believe those such people in the Supreme Court who cannot look at what is in front of them….the evil they are allowing and supporting w/such a horrific procedure.

    I dont understand how there are such people in this world! We need to offer so many sacrifices for them, for the conversion of sinners.

  9. Jaimie

    I used to be pro-life until I thought how weird heaven would look if most of the people there were unborn souls. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it just doesn’t make sense to me that God would create more people that have never lived than those that have. Now I think that God handles “personhood” in a more complex way. But I respect your beliefs on this.

  10. priest's wife

    WOW WOW WOW- I am forwarding this post to some friends who are a bit down in the dumps over all the babies they are NOT saving…The battle has not been lost; you have shown this

  11. Ryan

    Great points, great perspective! Thank you for sharing this!

  12. Meredith

    Absolutely wonderful. 🙂

  13. Nancy

    Excellent articles!

    As you may know, societies that practice infancticide are not only found in ancient history. That’s one of the reasons we adopted from India, and will be adopting another daughter next year. In pockets of that country, it is common practice to abandon girl infants to die — because the family does not want, or cannot afford the dowry for, a girl. Many hundreds of thousands of girls are also “missing” due to gender-selective abortions (which are officially illegal, but still common practice.) It is truly chilling (and ironic) to think that abortion — touted as liberating for women in western countries — is killing girls everyday.

  14. Lindsey

    Jaimie–the picture of a heaven that doesn’t make sense to you or that is different from what you imagined caused you to move away from being prolife?

    Before you even considered the souls of the people, God filled heaven with more angels than you could ever count. Heaven is not a room that will get over-crowded and run out of space. If it’s populated with more souls than have ever seen the light of day on earth, what does that change about Truth? God is Infinite; Wisdom, Grace, and Love. He creates us to worship and love him, in this life and the next.

    • Jaimie

      Well, that, and I don’t believe God creates souls to die before having ever lived. Since the Bible is unclear on this, I’ve chosen to go with the picture of God that is less cruel. There are seemingly “cruel” things about God in the Bible, but the Bible is more explicit about them. Essentially, I’d rather not go out of my way to believe God is a jerk? Anyway, I don’t want to start an argument (no one will persuade anyone), but I did want to answer you. I respect your beliefs on this.

  15. Matthew Closson

    “We as a society have dehumanized the enemey of sex.” (Babies) – That’s a great quote. Thanks for sharing your talk with us.

  16. Emily (a.k.a. Smoochagator)

    I grew up pro-life and was able at the age of 12 to defend my position against the cleverest pro-choice arguments. Interestingly, I changed my mind on the issue only after divorcing in my mid-20s and realizing that babies were now the enemy – of casual sex, that is. I had turned my back completely on the Christian faith, and I fully bought into the contraceptive mindset.

    A few years later, remarried, with a renewed faith and a baby that is my entire world, I’m having a serious problem with my former ideologies. I’m still not sure how I feel about legislating against abortion, simply because I am uncomfortable with telling any woman that she must carry a child to term. I do know, however, that I can’t sugarcoat what abortion is any more, and in many ways your blog is responsible for my pro-life reversion. Thank you.

  17. priest's wife

    You are amazing that you had the courage to sincerely research these issues while you were pro-choice- most people wouldn’t for fear that they might need to change their lives.

  18. Karen LH

    Yes. Yes. Yes. I used to be pro-choice and this absolutely rings true for me, but I could never articulate what the issue was. You have absolutely nailed what the disconnect is between pro-life and pro-choice folks.

    This is the kind of talk that you want to chase people down with and make them listen to.

  19. Aurora

    This is COMPLETELY brilliant. If I had to try to explain to someone why I’m pro-life, it would probably be much better for me to just have them listen to your talk. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  20. Scott Morizot

    I thought about commenting on your previous post on marriage, but decided not to. My wife and I have been married for 20 years now, but Christianity had very little to do with our lives until after we were married.

    I did decide to comment on this one. Often, “pro-choice” are depicted as other than Christian and “pro-life” are seen as Christian. While that is likely true for many of those who are vocal about it, I think things are much more mixed up for many in America.

    In my case, my childhood formation and background is too complicated to describe in a comment. Pluralistic is as close as I can come. I don’t know if I thought much about abortion before my first serious girlfriend (and ultimately first wife) got pregnant when I was fifteen. But from the moment I found out, I knew abortion was not what I wanted. Could I have persuaded her otherwise if my attitude had been different? Hard to say. But I think the influence in either direction of the father is often underrated by both vocal sides of this debate.

    I will say that Christianity had relatively little influence on my perspective at that point in time. And it had even less when the woman I became involved with at age eighteen after my first divorce became pregnant (leading to my disastrous second marriage). By that point I was strongly against all things Christian, something that would not change until I was thirty or so.

    But I was still personally against abortion. I guess some of the reasons you mention in your podcast were in my mind. But ultimately, I felt from the moment I knew that these were my children — that they were real human beings.

    But here is where it seems to me that the “pro-life” movement fails. And even from my now Christian perspective continues to fail. It’s one thing to say that abortion is wrong. But when you want to say that it’s illegal, you need to articulate exactly what that means and how it would play out. What’s the vision? Will a woman who obtains an “illegal” abortion be prosecuted for her crime? I don’t know if I could support that. I know how difficult these situations can be and what it looks like to not be sure what to do. What about serious questions of health and life? Yes, they are uncommon. But a law has to consider them. While they are also somewhat uncommon situations, what about instances of rape or incest? I’ve known (quite closely actually) victims of both. I’m not claiming that abortion is a panacea or even that it will make things better instead of worse. I think that might even vary from individual to individual. But I don’t know if I’m comfortable saying that one size necessarily fits all in those situations.

    For that matter, do we really want the Supreme Court to rule that we have no constitutional right to privacy? (That seems to be what might be required to completely reverse Roe v. Wade.) Let’s say that much of the authority to regulate abortion was returned to the states? (I think that’s a more likely possible outcome than a complete reversal.) What’s the plan at that point? I think the sorts of laws that are common in Europe outlawing late term abortions in most situations would be a good first step. But how are we going to do even something like that in our highly diverse states?

    I don’t see many vocal pro-life people even asking those questions, much less proposing ideas. I don’t claim to have any myself. I see the questions and problems. I don’t see how to move forward through them. But I don’t see much happening except people yelling at each other and protesting one side or the other. And I’m not sure that’s helpful.

  21. Margo

    Thanks Jennifer! I listened to this with my mom. I always share your posts with her!

  22. Alicia

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve passed it on

  23. Fabiola

    Hi Jen!
    This was beautiful 🙂 I just participated in Walk for Life here in Boston. I tagged this talk in a recent entry @ http://catholiccolors.blogspot.com.

    Peace and Prayers!

  24. pharmgirl

    That was amazing! You may be socially awkward but you’re a great speaker.

  25. Ed


    Keep up the good work.

    God bless you and your family.

  26. Ed

    “good work”

    – Sorry, that should be great work. And, also, thank you (learned a lot from, and being inspired a lot by, your blog)

  27. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    I thank God for you Jen!

  28. Liesl

    I loved listening to both of your talks! I’ve even passed them onto some friends. I hope you do more in the future!

  29. eko

    Oh, Jen — this is beyond wonderful — and I will listen to the rest on my own (without a little one under foot — tonight). I love your speaking, I would only offer that you move away from saying *you guys* 🙂 It (you) would sound so much more professional and polished. You have a gift!!

    I am stunned that people still debate about the *legalities* of killing (murdering) a human being. I don’t care WHAT people *think* God has planned for heaven or earth with regards to population. I don’t think God PLANNED for us to murder babies – period!! I read and then heard the other day that 60% of the babies murdered are by women who already are mothers! YES – I would adopt every single one if I could.

    Sorry – I am just weary, weary — of us imposing our own (limited) thinking of eternity, of REAL love and life — on God. WE are irresponsible, we don’t want the commitments — we are making the CHOICE to kill…not GOD.

    God Bless you, Jen!!!

  30. Louise

    I just found this blog via my sister— thank you so much for sharing your story!

  31. Maria

    I just want to say that your “podcast” was so wonderful, I had to listen to it two times straight.

    More power to you and your blog!

  32. Katie

    I’m pro choice. You make good points but I still have different opinions on some of the topics.

    Such as if I became pregnant in some unplanned or unwanted way, I would probably get an abortion but I think a fetus up to 5 weeks old would be the maximum I would because at 5 weeks old the human fetus is extremely similar to many animal embryos and has not developed the complexities homo sapiens are blessed with. Also, miscarriages are very common in early pregnancy so I think having an early abortion is similar to inducing a miscarriage.

    I think abortions at 2nd or 3rd trimesters are rather disturbing and horrible though which you seem to agree with.

    I also think you CAN separate baby-making from sexual pleasure. When you become pregnant, do you and your husband/partner stop having sex because this present sexual act couldn’t create a baby? No, you have sex for the bonding moment and the fun of it while knowing you can’t create a baby (because you’re already pregnant from sex 3 weeks ago, etc.). Or what if a husband and wife are infertile? Can they still have sex? To them sex won’t be associated with baby-making! So if these married couples are having sex without the baby-making association (and with no contraception) why shouldn’t other couples be able to do the same? What should couples do when they’re done having babies? Just not have sex? They should use contraception! So why can’t I use contraception?

    Also I may just adopt my 2 kids because there are lots of children in America living in foster homes that need loving homes.
    *If you don’t want people to have abortions, then you need to be willing to help those children that weren’t aborted but were born and abandoned.*

    I hope to never have an abortion that’s why I recommend 2 forms of birth control.

  33. LoweryEricka

    Houses and cars are quite expensive and not every person is able to buy it. But, mortgage loans was created to help different people in such kind of situations.

  34. Kelly

    I saw this posting last week, and it really caught my eye. I write a pro life blog myself, and do some pro life speaking and other work. I am often in a situation in which I need to speak or write effectively to people who reject any mention of religion, especially Catholicism, and are often on the attack. I hope you don’t mind, but since I felt I couldn’t say it any better than you did, I posted the article on the pro life page on facebook, sponsored by Priests for Life.
    Thank you for your powerful testimony!
    God Bless you,

  35. Andrew Pelt

    Bunions are your feet

  36. Danielle Cook

    I am so proud of you for becoming Pro-life. That is such a wonderful change an a great way live. I’m not judging anyone but i just don’t feel it is right to take another life. That life didn’t ask to be in it’s situation. So again great change and keep up the good work.

  37. Heather

    First comment and first time participating.

  38. Public Vigil

    I just listened to your talk about becoming pro-life. I want to thank you. I am a man, but you can think of me as Katharine – the girl you addressed this to. What you said about de-humanizing the enemy; and the baby in the womb having become the enemy is profound. I don’t know how you were able to come up with that connection. I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit and all the Saints that are speaking through you when you say this.

    I have been afraid all my 55 years of that baby. The way you described your battle about accepting a fetus as a child, is the same way I have struggled as a man with accepting fatherhood. I always had one more condition before accepting that responsibility from God. A job, a house, money for college. I think the voice speaking through you was your guardian angel, letting you know that it was time to become a mother; just like Gabriel told Mary, “don’t be afraid” as she was startled at the angel’s appearance. And Mary was speaking through you as you said “yes”.

    “Blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

    I have a stepdaughter that lives with her mother and I immediately thought that I want to share this with her. You can think of her as Katharine also.

    I had just written a blog post about a woman who’s baby was killed in the womb at 8 months, because she had violated China’s eugenic birth control policy. Here’s a link.
    Planned Parenthood means forced abortions for Chinese women

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