This series highlights those individuals who have seen a transformation thanks to your investment. Meet Korey Oskins! You will see how her background, personal experiences, and faith brought her to the place she was — at odds with the divisive rhetoric surrounding abortion — and how ProGrace helped show her a new option. Now, she serves as our copyeditor.
Tell us about your perspective on abortion prior to your work with ProGrace:
I was raised in a non-religious home, so, growing up, I viewed abortion as one of the outcomes of pregnancy. It was not really a question of right or wrong; I expected that some people would choose to end their pregnancies in the same way that people decide on a college or career. Maybe a pregnancy occurred when a person wasn’t ready, and naturally, she could choose not to carry to term, even if she wanted children someday. I consider myself a feminist, and the more I knew about reproductive rights, the more I believed in a woman’s right to choose when she would sustain a pregnancy. I was never in this situation, although I imagined that if I were to find myself unexpectedly pregnant, I would have considered abortion an option. I was aware of some of the controversy surrounding abortion in my early teens, mainly from protestors with graphic signs, but I also talked to peers who were having abortions and mentioning them casually. I honestly felt like the people holding the graphic signs were the radical ones!
What were your tensions around abortion before becoming ProGrace?
I felt a heaviness when considering the ethical ramifications of abortion for many years. I attended a religious university where I took classes in Christian ethics. I still wasn’t certain about Christians, Christianity, or their ethics, but I had a desire to learn and know more. Once again, some of the pro-life propaganda and tactics had influenced my beliefs against the movement, and I would describe myself at this point as fiercely pro-choice.
All of this changed for me as I became a mother myself. I had a son in 2011, and I watched the flickering dot on the sonogram screen at seven weeks turn into a miraculous little person who could make faces and suck his thumb in utero. Before I knew it, he was in my arms, alert and curious, able to yawn and sneeze and so many other marvels. In 2013 I was happily pregnant again. This time, after watching the dot flicker in the first two appointments, I watched the screen as the little blob was still at 12 weeks. I had miscarried. The grainy sonogram image had come to represent so much more for me in the intervening years. It wasn’t just a flickering blob; it was the start of a person. My perspective shifted immensely. I grew an empathy for the fetus, knowing its potential. I had these beautiful and sorrowful experiences as a pregnant mother (or host organism, as I sometimes called it), and suddenly the whole process was sacred and miraculous to me; not something to be ended for convenience or lack of planning. My prior experiences with the Pro-life movement had assured that I wouldn’t be joining their ranks anytime soon, but I was no longer comfortable describing myself as Pro-Choice, either.
Where did you first experience a shift in your own perspective?
While this whole journey was happening, I made a huge life shift aside from becoming a mother. I joined a Bible study and began to learn. My faith was growing, and I found my feminist support of women’s rights clashing with my new beliefs. The heaviness increased. I felt as though, when discussing abortion, I held the sanctity of a baby’s life in one hand, and a woman’s life in the other. This caused me to try to avoid discussing, or even thinking about abortion for a while. While my perspective was changing, I could not ignore the sinking feeling in my heart that I wasn’t doing right by either of them by simply ignoring this divisive issue. Not to participate in something so important didn’t sit well with me, however, I didn’t feel like I fit anywhere in this political or cultural divide. I thought I was alone with my conflicted thoughts on this one. It was during this point that ProGrace entered my life, and I was instantly swept into the purpose behind the organization. ProGrace has offered me a home for my beliefs. It has affected the way I think, talk, and feel about abortion and so many other topics. At the same time that I was struggling with my own fear that I wasn’t truly loving others as Christ loved me, ProGrace showed me how I could do this without compromising my values.
Tell us what this shift in perspective has meant for you.
I think the biggest thing, for me, is that being ProGrace feels right, not just for my own ideals, but for Christ’s. ProGrace has put into words the feeling of sacredness that I experienced with each pregnancy and given me pride in my body and my place in God’s plan. Most importantly, I am living my life in a way that feels Biblically congruent. ProGrace has given me the confidence to opt-out of political divisiveness and into a third option: the grace of Christ. I see now where I wasn’t extending grace and love to the people around me, and why going along with what some Christians do or how they act wasn’t serving Him well, either. Having the confidence to follow Jesus boldly and based on the Scriptures has awakened me to all sorts of spiritual truths I was unable to grasp before.
The drive to love both woman and child, as ProGrace does, has expanded my mind and heart in crucial and life-changing ways. It allows me to be my authentic self and live in a way that feels true to my heart and Jesus’.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Korey.