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How I Became A Feminist by Damien Berard

A bumper sticker.
I haven’t really been into helping support abortion rights until about six months ago, when I met a girl. One of the first times we hung out she asked, “Are you pro choice or pro life?”

At that time I didn’t exactly know what the terms stood for or meant, plus, here I was, trying to impress her. So she explained, “ProLife basically says that if you get pregnant, you must carry the pregnancy to term. ProChoice on the other-hand, recognizes that sometimes an abortion is necessary, and supports whatever decision the pregnant woman makes.”

Okay, so with that context and still trying to say the right thing, I answered, “I am not really for abortion unless it’s a rape or incest case.” She didn’t care for that answer and the topic was quickly changed. Every time we hung out she would tell me more and more about the ProLife movement and what they were doing to try to stop the right to have an abortion.
A couple of weeks later, she dragged me a rally called, “Moving Choice Forward For Maine.” Sitting in the car before we walked in, she said, “I feel like you should know something…” I started to get nervous. Then she continued, “I had an abortion a little over a year ago.” She told me why, and how hard and traumatizing of a decision it was. That was definitely a new experience for me. I was kind of expecting for her to say that when she said, “I feel like you should know something,” because she talked about women’s rights every time we hung out
From Moving Choice Forward for Maine

and was passionate about it.

It didn’t make me think any differently of her. She went on to tell me the about getting pregnant having the guy say he doesn’t want anything to do with her and leaving her for her best friend. She said she was against abortions and the only way she could think of to not be pregnant was to kill herself. She went on to tell me that her abortion saved her life. That is definitely when I looked at abortions in a new light. It opened my eyes and made me want to make a difference with her so that no other woman would have to go through that same thing. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to make that decision.
At Moving Choice Forward, there were a lot of vendors. I can’t remember most of the names of them but I do remember that Planned Parenthood was there. We colored birds for the Repeal Hyde Art Project to show support. We walked up to one table and the lady asked me if I would like to, “knit a vagina.” I can honestly say that I never in my life thought that I would get asked that. 

Towards the end they had some speakers. They told some stories that I couldn’t believe. Like the story about women using rusty coat hangers and then getting sick from it and dying. One thing that I hear a lot is, “If a women doesn’t want to be pregnant she won’t stay pregnant” no matter what she has to do to not be pregnant.
Since that rally, I have protested at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. We made signs saying “your body your choice” “honk for choice” “I had an abortion” and others. We had well over 100 honks in the first hour to hour and a half. It was nice seeing some of the women driving by seeing my sign, “your body your choice” and smiling.
Posters from the Crisis Pregnancy Center protest
The girl also made a ProChoice twitter account and asked me if I wanted to be a part of that, I have been on there a few times and read a lot of articles that just hurt my heart. Like the case of a pregnant lady, whose fetus had 0% brain function and had no chance to survive long after birth, but a congressman blatantly said that the lady should be forced to have the baby. 

Think about what that woman will have to go through; having a baby and having it not survive. Instead of just having an abortion.
I think that both of those things would be hard to go through. Giving birth is dangerous. There is always a chance of something going wrong and the woman not surviving it. An abortion can be safer, and maybe a little less stressful than having a brain dead child and it living for an hour or two before it dies. I don’t think that a congressman or congresswoman has any right saying that a woman should have no choice what happens to her body and her child. I strongly believe that she has all the right in the world to do what she feels necessary.
I know one girl’s story changed my opinion on abortion. I no longer feel that abortion is only okay in cases of rape and incest. Now, I feel like a woman should be able to do what she wants with her own body. In the end I am ProChoice now and will always be. I am glad that I had the chance to have this girl a part of my life and teach me so much about what is going on in the world regarding the war on women’s rights. I’m proud to say that I am a male feminist.

Damien Berard is a fun outgoing individual who loves family, friends, and his dog. In his spare time he enjoys snowboarding, skateboarding, making peoples days or saving the day. He is a feminist fighting for women’s rights.

You can find him on twitter: @DamienBerard and @AbortionChat on Fridays.

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