It was never about “pro-life”

Matthew Arnold Stern
4 min readMay 4, 2022

By now, everyone has given their hot take about the leaked Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v Wade. Instead, I want to make a confession.

If you went to Cal State Northridge in the 80s, you might remember a large glass case in Sierra Tower. Campus organizations can promote their groups by putting a display in the case. The campus anti-abortion group displayed gruesome pictures they claim were aborted fetuses. Their goal was to shock people into opposing abortions. Since it was across from the vending machines and was the first things students saw after getting their coffee and Hostess Twinkies, it definitely had an effect.

One day, their display received some, well, additional decorations. A garland of wire hangers draped across the display and posters attacking the hypocrisy of the “pro-life” movement and Moral Majority were taped on the glass. (The group’s display was locked inside the case and left untouched.) The additional decorations were quickly taken down, but the organization removed their display soon after. A pro-choice organization put their display up next.

Who were the culprits who decorated the display? The same ones who put up flyers at a Joan Rivers comedy show around the same time: my friends and me.

My anger towards the anti-abortion movement came from my revulsion of the Religious Right with their hypocrisy and anti-Semitism. For them, the right to life begins at conception and ends at birth. After 40 years, the births of two children, a miscarriage, and the unplanned birth of my granddaughter, I’m more convinced than ever: Women must have autonomy over their bodies and healthcare decisions. Here’s how I know.

First, came the blessings of having our children. My wife and I could decide how many children to have and when. We didn’t have children when we were unprepared to raise them, and we didn’t have more than we could support.

Between the births of our children, my wife had a miscarriage. The child had Turner syndrome and died in utero. It was a baby we planned for and started picking out names, and we were heartbroken to lose her. For my wife’s safety, we decided to have a D & C to remove the dead fetus. That was when I experienced the ugliness of the anti-abortion crowd. A couple in my Toastmasters club were…

Matthew Arnold Stern

A novelist and award-winning public speaker and technical writer. My novels Amiga and The Remainders are available now.