I had always considered myself an ethical human being, the sort that when faced with a dilemma would find the most responsible solution to the problem. However, not until April 11, 2002, did I discover the errors of my ways, thanks to you. You see, I was walking through Sproul Plaza, late for class as usual, when I glanced over my shoulder and saw you standing upon the steps like a messiah upon a radiant mount. It took me just four seconds to read your sign, but those four seconds would plant an unearthly seed into my head that would sprout into a magnificent oak of seismic proportions. The oak that is the movement for a woman’s right to have an abortion.
Before April 11, 2002, my mind was blind to the world around me. I was selfish, egotistical, and self-serving. I had always assumed abortions were “bad.” Perhaps my naivete was due to a lack of knowledge. In high school, I took a survey. They asked, “Do you support a women’s right to an abortion?: Yes or No” From my understanding at the time, abortions killed babies. I did not kill babies nor did I want to support others in their efforts to kill babies. Unwittingly, I answered the survey by responding “no.” I was severely mistaken. But on April 11, 2002, you changed my life with your homemade, pro-choice political poster.
When I read your sign: “What are our choices when we’re left with no choice?” followed by an artist depiction of a coat hanger, a giant weight had fallen through a gaping hole in my prior reasoning against abortion. Never did I consider an abortion as a safe alternative for a woman dealing with the pregnancy of an unwanted child, let alone her right to govern her own body. But the strength of the message was not only buried in your simple words, the visual image of a coat hanger reinforced the brutal nature of the alternative. As I walked away towards Wheeler Hall, I was aghast imagining millions of women tugging at their uterine lining with a device more apt for pleated pants or even possibly the roasting of marshmallows, but not a medical procedure.
Had it not been for your tireless effort spent crafting a sign and holding it on Sproul Plaza, I would not be the person I am today. I guess you’d call me a success story, a new convert, the ideal passerby. But really I’m a simple human being, who has heard the voice of reason via a 3′ by 5′ piece of cardboard. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Yours Truly, Jason Miles