Monday, June 15, 2009

Your mom should share her story

Conundrum –

I work at a human rights non-profit, a clinic, a local fund. I am going to school to become a family doctor. I escort women into the clinic. I am a community sex educator. My title willfully includes the word abortion. I talk about abortions at family holidays, happy hours, the work place, in church, in bed. I use condoms. I don’t use condoms. I take hormonal birth control at the restaurant table if I am in a restaurant when it is time to take my birth control. I note my cycle milestones on my calendar in my kitchen where anyone who visits me can see. I love sex and it feels so good because I’m soft, curvaceous, tender and connective, hormonally-charged and passionate.

If I became pregnant tomorrow morning, I am 90 percent certain I’d have an abortion, and I’d only tell one soul within my entire tightly-knit abortion-embracing community: my dearest local friend, my likely driver.

Why so secretive, so shameful, so cold?

None of the above.

I’d be overwhelmed and wouldn’t feel like sharing.

There is a common movement of pro-choice activists who believe that women who have abortions must share their stories. I have seen many women positively compelled and inspired, joyous and grateful, open and daring, cohesive and resolved in their exploration and declaration of their fertility experience in this lifetime to their friends and family, allies and supporters, even opposition.

I have also met a married woman who wanted to conceive a child with her husband but was also raped by her biological father the first time she met him. Genetic testing in her second-trimester proved her nightmare so she and her otherwise anti-choice husband had a dreadful experience but a meaningful abortion.

She shouldn’t have to share her story to realize her dreams.

Furthermore, there is a deeply viral and deadly movement of anti-abortion hate zealots that delight and engage in threatening the lives of anyone who says boo about abortion that does not first declare their firm belief that conception is god’s work and eggs are fetuses are babies are exultant over the life of any sinful and used woman. Her only purpose—to serve Man his babies on a golden, sugar-crusted plate.

Ho hum. Share your story at your own risk.

The thing that will make this all less complicated?

Less liars and bullies and abusers. Less sexist, chauvinist pigs or anyone who appeases sexist, chauvinist pigs in any single way.

Most to the point: less Antis.


  1. If the anti-abortion movement took a tenth of the energy they put into noisy theatrics and devoted it to improving the lives of children who have been born into lives of poverty, violence, and neglect, they could make a world shine. ~Michael Jay Tucker

  2. Even by saying "less antis" it gives them the power. Why not each of us own our experiences? I would never demand that any woman would have to tell their stories, but we must each ask ourselves "Am I unsafe or just uncomfortable?"

    If we don't conciously make change within ourselves, we enourage the status quo. Or as my g-ma says "If you're not helping, you're hindering"

  3. The antis do have power and it's hindering indeed.

  4. I have really mixed feelings it. On the one hand, it's a private issue and no more anyone else's business than a colonoscopy.

    On the other hand, the antis thrive on the secrecy. They thrive on turning it into a stigmatized procedure that only a certain kind of woman has, when in reality, it's a common procedure that every woman has. If every woman who had an abortion came out about it, the fact of abortion would change. Also, in the wake of Dr. Tiller's death, I find it more and more unfair to expect doctors to take all the heat and provide good medical care. They don't have a choice about being the face of abortion and until more women step up, they will continue to be.

    Asking a woman to share her story is a lot to ask -- often I think, too much. But we ask so much more from our providers on a daily basis. I guess there's really no fair solution.


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.