In February 2010 I had a well publicized medical abortion. At 4 weeks 6 days I terminated a doomed pregnancy which was causing me tremendous deleterious health effects and I have suffered no long term health effects from the procedure. But I find I feel very differently about the abortion debate.
It used to be I could hear an abortion rights opponent say they hated abortion, and I’d just think “So don’t have one” and move on. It used to be I could hear a cowardly abortion rights supporter saying that she’d never *personally* have one of those morally icky-poo abortions, but she sure wanted to make sure women less together could end their unwanted pregnancies, and I’d say “Whatever, at least she votes pro-choice.”
Now I find it a little hard not to take it personally. When people, especially people who already know me and my story and that I’m alive today thanks to abortion, tell me that they hate abortion or they don’t like abortion or abortion gives them the sads, it’s like they are saying they hate me or don’t like me or me being alive gives them the sads.
I’m not saying this so I can whine. I’m saying this so people can have the knowledge. Remember 1 in 3 women have had an abortion, including women in your pro-life or pro-choice circle, including me. When you talk about abortion in a negative light, you’re talking about the lives saved by abortion in a negative light. You are saying my life is worth so little I should have died rather than have a procedure which gives you the sads.
I guess moral of the story is, try not to be a douche. There are millions of reasons women get abortions but there are also really only two: The pregnancy is unwanted or the pregnancy is unsafe. It isn’t good for women or children to make women feel obligated to carry any pregnancy to term that they don’t want to, even in “healthy” pregnancies. Abortion is not a less responsible choice than parenting or adoption placement. Abortion is not a morally worse choice than parenting or adoption placement. “My side” especially needs to get this.
If you’ve never had an abortion, you are not a better woman than I am. You are a luckier woman perhaps or an infertile woman or a celibate woman, but not better based solely on this metric. We have to give abortion the credit it deserves and we have to give women the permission and space to talk about ALL of their abortion feelings – ranging from sadness and regret to joy and relief.
Keeping abortion secretive and stigmatized compromises its safety and compromises the safety of providers. It’s a lot easier for abortion rights opponents to spin evil tales about abortion providers when so many on the pro-choice side won’t stand up and say how awesome abortion can be.