Chase Hardin: Why I came out as a pro-life Democrat

Chase Hardin, a junior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

I’d wrestled with the decision for a few months – whether it was noble or brazen to publically admit I’d had a change of heart on a sacred tenant of the Democratic party. In the end, my decision was neither. It was just honest.

On Monday, I posted a status on Facebook: “I’ve always said it’s hypocritical for people to hide their sexuality and/or political views because they’re afraid of offending people or too reluctant to stand up for themselves,” I wrote. “So this is me coming out as a pro-life Democrat.”

Reactions ran the gamut from supportive to scorn. Some were convinced that my best friend – who directs pro-life ministries at the Newman Center, a Catholic group at GW – had gotten his hands on my Facebook profile. Others were convinced I was trolling.

To their credit, it probably did seem unlikely that I, the former communications director of the College Democrats and devoted left-wing activist, would abruptly change course on such a volatile issue. Friends messaged me, bewildered, asking what in the world I was thinking. Some viewed me as the devoted, proud partisan who turned my back on the revolution.

It got so absurd that, at one point, I was sure I’d get asked if I believed there was “legitimate rape.”

I was baffled by the combativeness expressed by my friends. I was suddenly, in their minds, opposed to women’s rights in their totality and supported a universal ban on abortion. Despite my attempts to offer a nuanced view – what I thought of as well-reasoned and moderate humanist perspective on life – few were interested in hearing me out.

I finally came to the conclusion that, despite the tragic circumstances that might require a woman to seek an abortion, there are other factors that warrant consideration. Namely, that a pregnant woman carries with her not one life, but two. And that second life is worth something, too.

More times than I can count, I rebuked my fellow gay students for hiding their sexuality from their families. I dismissed anyone who refused to stand up for themselves in the public sphere – those who naïvely felt politics were beneath them, or worse, had no bearing on their life. I figured if I was going to strut around on my high horse, I should fess up. It seemed hypocritical to do anything else.

In case you’re wondering, I didn’t go to the March for Life in the District this week. I just don’t fit the bill: My opinions on abortion were formulated without a hint of religious undertones, and I’d be more likely to write in Ralph Wiggum from “The Simpsons” before I’d cast my vote for a Republican.

I was never going to feel comfortable, nor would I be welcome, at a pro-life rally. To me, being pro-life is about the sanctity of all life, including the mother. And in the modern pro-life movement, it sometimes feels like the dignity of the mother is forgotten in a frenzied, zealous attempt to protect the unborn.

It’s my hope that if anyone sees me differently, they would see me as person who believes in rationality instead of dogma. A person who could admit I was wrong.

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