Friday, July 13, 2012

Four reasons why some women won't talk about their abortions

Anonymous at Jezebel doesn't want to talk about her abortion.

Which is only normal.

I find a lot of the pro-abortion rhetoric about abortion to be terribly glib. We're all supposed to think that abortion is no big deal.

The reality is that for a lot of women-- maybe even most-- abortion is huge deal.

Because it's a situation that often is full of drama. And post-abortive women do not necessarily want to re-visit it.

Here are four reasons why women would not talk about their abortions:

1. The Circumstances of the Conception

When you read women's stories about abortion, the narrative often starts with how conception happened in the first place. This might be the first link in a chain of painful events. It might have been a one-night stand. The boyfriend might have been a jerk. She might have been drunk or on drugs. She might have foregone contraception and been "irresponsible".

2. The Decision-Making Process

She might have wanted the baby, but he didn't. Or vice-versa. Or her family might have wanted it. Or not. There might have been a lot of arguing. A lot of back-and-forth. A lot of nasty things said that can't be taken back. Such a heavy decision has a way of damaging relationships.

3. The Procedure Itself.

Her abortionist's name may have been Kermit Gosnell. Or she didn't get his name at all. Or the nurses told her to shut up and stop crying. Or she had to go back because of "retained products of conception."   Or she had a chemical abortion and she ended up seeing the embryo, which totally traumatized her.

4. The Aftermath

A number of women don't feel good about having their abortions. Many regret their choice, and wished they had chosen differently. Others claim not to regret their abortions, but they still feel sad. Some feel sad to the point of depression and even suicide.

What I describe here is not unusual. And many women simply do not want to re-visit these painful memories, much less politicize them by recounting them to perfect strangers.

But the fact that many women don't want to tell their abortion stories speaks to the nature of abortion. Women who give birth will often freely tell their delivery stories at the drop of the hat, even when they live through delivery horrors. Why? Because notwithstanding the potential horrors of birth, and the pitfalls of pregnancy, they have a baby to show for their efforts.

Abortion is essentially a destructive operation. The reasons for the abortion are often at the heart of the ache that surrounds it. If you're having an abortion, it's because you're poor, you have a lousy relationship, you have health issues, and so on. More often than not, abortion is seen as a solution to a painful situation, and women just don't want to talk about that pain.

Whereas with birth, even if the everything else about the conception, pregnancy and delivery was painful, the birth of a baby is so joyful that it tends to cancel out everything else.