What I've Learned From Living Pro-Voice

posted November 6, 2013

It’s been about a year since I became a Pro-Voice Fellow. Before this experience, I had never spoken publicly about my abortion, only to friends. I had a lot of anxiety and excitement about beginning this journey. What would it be like to share so much of me? Would I be rejected by my support systems? How would people take in the pro-voice message? Would I be a good advocate?

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Well, reflecting on the experience, it’s been incredibly positive and cathartic. Telling my story has been healing for me as well as for the people I’ve encountered. The momentum surrounding pro-voice is building, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.

The college tour earlier this year was a great success. People were compelled by the idea of pro-voice—an incredible 90% of people who attended conversations with the Pro-Voice Fellows said they had a new perspective on abortion. Since then I’ve written pieces for magazines, blogged, tweeted, facebooked, and been on college radio. A documentary is being shot to capture the entire journey—including our upcoming new tour stops in Texas!

I’m still anxious about the future and how far this might go, but I’m confident now because I know the pro-voice approach works. It reaches the heart and fosters a loving, respectful community that people crave.  

How has this changed me? Well, just the other day someone posted graphic pro-life videos on my Facebook page. After my abortion I would actually watch these as a means of punishing myself. Of course he didn’t know that. It’s been a long road of healing since that point. If someone had shoved something like that in my face before I discovered pro-voice, I would have felt shamed and felt an incredible amount of pain triggered from my experience.

Today, confident in my compassion-based stance, it doesn’t really bother me. I can address that post using pro-voice. I can speak from my experience, with vulnerability, to foster a conversation, rather than buy in to an unending argument. I was able to respond with love and empathy. I understand that he feels moved to share his views because his experience has taught him that abortion is wrong. I get it, and I want to know his story. I also want to share my own so that we can come to a respectful understanding, even if we don’t agree. So I wrote a long response to the post, sharing a bit about my experience, and showing compassion for his beliefs. I invited him to see me as a human being, rather than a political target.

Who knows where that conversation will lead him in his journey. I have firm soil to stand on when it comes to engaging people of all backgrounds and beliefs with one peacemaking tool. It’s encounters like these that embolden me to keep spreading my voice.

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Our next stop on the pro-voice tour is Texas, a state rife with abortion conflict. I believe a pro-voice practice can help to establish connections and restore some humanity to the issue there. I am confident that vulnerability can, and may be the only thing that ever has, affected change and progress.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_small","fid":"310","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"120","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"120"}}]] Mayah Frank is a Pro-Voice Fellow 

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