Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Talking about my abortion."

In this link is the abortion story of a woman named Molly. You should know before you read it that there are some graphic descriptions and there's some language. But you should read it. It's very interesting. I thought the most interesting quote was here:

What about for the in-between? The post-abortive women who need recovery and who, at the same time, don't feel they need to repent? Many factions of the pro-life movement say we are the ones who really care about women, who want to help women. Which women? Do you want to help a woman reeling from an abortion, even if she believes strongly that it wasn't wrong?

Molly explains the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy, what her abortion was like, and how she felt afterward. Her feelings are what catch my attention.

Pro-lifers often insist post-abortive women regret their abortions, have deep psychological and emotional pain. We hear these women need healing, forgiveness, or, as Molly said, repentance.

Pro-choicers are more of a mixed bag. Some acknowledge that many women are deeply troubled by their abortions. Others brush off the women who really suffer--either as anomalies, or as a threat to abortion rights. Or both. Many pro-choicers insist that abortions don't come with any major negative psychological or emotional repercussions. Sure, women may be initially upset about their abortions, but no more upset than they would be about any other stressful life event. Any major surgery is stressful. Nothing remarkable about that.

Molly doesn't fit either of those narratives. She talks about feeling depressed and angry. She talks about physical and emotional pain, and about being "too traumatized" to go to her follow-up appointment. But she also talks about not being sorry, and about seeking out other women's abortion stories, especially the ones who aren't sorry. She says,
As soon as I could, I raised a thousand dollars for Planned Parenthood. It felt like paying a debt.
That quote is not an expression of anger at no one warning her about what she was going to do. It's not an expression of sorrow at not having explored more options and resources. That quote is gratitude.

I'd like more people to acknowledge that abortion can be deeply troubling to women, and that many women seek abortion specifically because they feel they don't have a choice. Women know that to be pregnant means to be limited in what we can do in terms of education, careers, supporting ourselves financially, supporting our other children, and so on. That's the society we live in, and we need to change it.

Some people, like Molly, say abortion "is the basis of fertile women living equal lives." But it's not really true. Molly's life after abortion wasn't equal to that of a woman who has never been pregnant. And Molly's life wasn't equal to that of a woman who felt supported while she carried a pregnancy to term. Abortion doesn't make us equal. Abortion takes the lives of our children in a pathetic attempt to paper over societal problems with deeper roots.

But I agree with Molly that pregnancy makes us unequal. And I believe fertile women should be able to lead equal lives to those of fertile men. Pregnancy should not be anyone's undoing, and the pro-lifers I know (and, to be fair, some of the pro-choicers I know) that inspire me most are the ones who work to give pregnant women support.

Meanwhile, I'd also like more people to acknowledge that not all post-abortive women wish they could undo their abortions. It's different for different women. As Molly explains,
Abortion is sometimes a trauma, sometimes an anticlimax, sometimes a relief.
Does this idea mean abortion is kind of okay, depending on the situation? No. Abortion takes human lives, and so it's wrong, and should be illegal. I've written before about how I'm not clear what overall effect post-abortive women's emotional repercussions have on the abortion debate.

But I do think stories like Molly's show we should let women speak for themselves about how they feel about their abortions--including women who are relieved, traumatized, or any emotion in between. I think we should ease up on the idea that abortion should be illegal because it emotionally scars women. When we say that, we are telling a lot of women what they went through and how they felt, and many don't agree.


bluechimera said...

Thank you for writing this, and for sharing this link. As someone who is pro-choice, I disagree with you about the power of abortion to grant women equality, obviously--or at least the *chance* at equality--but I find your writing to be consistently nuanced and sensible nonetheless, moreso than any other blogger on here.
I agree that women feel all sorts of different ways about their abortions.

Sarah said...

Honestly I don't think how women feel after an abortion should matter at all in the discussion of why abortion is wrong and should be made illegal. Because there are women who have positive feelings after an abortion (even though I believe in their hearts they will eventually have negative feelings that they may never admit to out loud). What should be mentioned is shady abortion doctors, unsafe clinic conditions, and doing/showing ways/things that can help empower pregnant women so they can continue a pregnancy. Feelings are capricious. Feelings are untrustworthy. What is trustworthy are facts, science, and logic.

ignorance_is_curable said...

"Abortion takes the lives of our children" --EMOTIONALLY CHARGED MISREPRESENTATION. A child is not the same thing as an unborn human. When was the last time you saw a child running around (or even a baby crawling around) with an umbilical cord still attached to a placenta (which is a major body organ of every unborn human older than about a week)?

The DISCARDING of the placenta at birth indicates a MAJOR change in the overall biology of mammalian life --a "fetus" is only PART of an overall unborn organism. AFTER birth, it may be the only part that matters, but the Overall Abortion Debate is about PRE-born life-forms --which include placentas as critical components.

So, the more-appropriate word for unborn humans is "offspring", and abortion does indeed take their lives. But why should that matter? IT IS EASY TO MAKE MORE --it is so easy, in fact, that that is a major reason why abortion exists! More offspring are created than can be accommodated!

For some reason, though, abortion opponents think that JUST BECAUSE human offspring exist, they MUST be accommodated, REGARDLESS of the consequences (such as a Malthusian Catastrophe). It occurs to me that I don't recall ever asking abortion opponents "WHAT REASON?" --probably because I greatly doubt they HAVE a reason that actually makes Logical Sense, in terms of Objective Fact.

Perhaps I should now stop, and see if someone deigns to attempt to answer that Question. But I started writing this with a different goal in mind, and choose to finish it. The main blog post here neglected to mention the addictive (and other mind-affecting) substances infused into a woman during pregnancy.

WHEN A PREGNANCY ENDS, whether it be by birth OR miscarriage OR abortion, those hormones stop being supplied, and "post partum depression" can begin.

Basically, that factor should NEVER be ignored, when talking about how a woman feels, after a pregnancy ends (regardless of how it ended).

LN said...

Note the author did not disagree on that point... She was simply saying we should not assume all women regret, nor use that as a basis for outlawing abortion.

BĂ©atrice Fedor said...

Nothing surprising in this story. "My boyfriend took me home. My best friend John bought me flowers". Says it all. How sad and familiar... I recognize my younger self in a lot of her description, the fear, the anger.. (By the way, at least 2 of the 343 French celebrities she is talking about, Marina Vlady and Stephane Audran have said publicly 40 years later that they would not sign the manifesto and that they regret their abortion). This is one of the issues. What time frame are we talking about? Was it a month ago, a year ago? What about 20 years from now? Will she say the same? We all go through stages of denial, rationalization etc... then acceptance, dealing with our emotions and forgiving ourselves. But not all of us go a full circle.

BĂ©atrice Fedor said...

I believe testimonies are important in the abortion debate, especially when you have thousands of them that deal with addictions, infertility, self-harm, cancer, attempted suicide as a direct consequence of abortion. Don't you want to warn others about the risks? I do.

Sarah said...

For what reason do I believe an unborn human being deserves to be allowed to continue to live until it is able to live unconnected from its mother (although it still needs 24 hour care)?

Simple answer. Because the fetus is a human being, is already alive, has a beating heart and all organ systems in place. A little later has brain waves and can react to outside stimuli. And has inherit worth because of its life. Not because it is perfect. Not because it was conceived consensually. Not because the parents want it. A fetus has value because the fetus is a person. You and I and everyone alive today was once that fetus. Everyone should have a right to live.

Sarah said...

Yeah no...idk what you're smoking but I stand by what I said originally. You need some counseling. Seriously.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Sorry, I'm not interested in being brain-washed to believe the lies and accept the prejudice and hypocrisy of abortion opponents.

Facts are FACTS. You have NO Facts that can associate an unborn human with the Objective Generic characteristics that can, anywhere in the Universe, distinguish any type of person from any type of ordinary animal organism.

GEIxBattleRifle said...

SO? Ordinary animals have a beating heart and organ systems in place and have brain waves so since it seems your using that as criteria for personhood should we go on ahead and label it a person? WHY not PETA would surely love you.
Then we will have a whole bunch of entities having rights that clearly can't follow along with them or understand them really. Imagine labeling a orca whale and a baby walrus a person under what you said. The orca whale kills the baby blue whale and since they both would be ''persons'' under what you said then we have to go out hunting in the sea for that particular orca whale that committed murder for killing the baby walrus.
Good luck trying to find him though. I wish you luck on that one.

GEIxBattleRifle said...

Hey IIC, if you have time can you post anything about this on your website if you want to? How much more extreme can pro lifer's get really? He even go's on to call humans with less then 10 cells or so ''people.''

ignorance_is_curable said...

There do seem to be a couple of points made that haven't previously been the focus of specific refutations. Thank you!

Jay said...

Sara you are a truly special person because you know what other people "truly" feel in their hearts even if they do not.

You should start your own religion. Seriously.