Perspectives on abortion care from those of us who've been there.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.
I can't think of anything to write, and I don't really want to write. Yesterday, an old friend of mine sent me a Facebook message saying something along the lines of, "I think this healthcare debate is what's going to finally overturn Roe, and I'm so sorry. But we won't give up!" Later on, I got my weekly mass email from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, saying essentially the same thing (plus a request for money that I don't have). When abortion coverage entered into the healthcare discussion, I stopped paying attention. It's the first issue I've really managed to ignore, and I've followed politics since I was 5 and I was rooting for Dukakis. I've ignored it because I'm so defeated and discouraged by a world who doesn't understand the necessity of a woman's right to choose. If I paid attention, I would still get up and go to work at the clinic 40+ hours a week, I would still connect with women, I would still hold my head high as I passed the protesters, and I would also be angry and sad and out of control and the parts of me that give in to those feelings are parts that can't help the clients. It's self-preservation.
I bought a book at a used bookstore recently. It's a compilation of Anna Quindlen essays, copyright 1994 (I wish that link showed the cover with the photo of Anna overwhelmed by her blazer's shoulder pads), and it had a huge portion devoted to essays on abortion rights, so how could I not snatch (heh) it up? I read the whole thing that night, and I felt worse--essays written 15 years ago could have been written yesterday. What have we accomplished? Why do I keep doing this work?
Today, I don't want to write about positive abortion experiences. Selfishly, I wish clients would write about their positive abortion experiences. I wish the 1/3 of American women who have had an abortion (and the corresponding 1/3 of men involved) would enter the healthcare controversy and write about why it's important. I'm tired of doing it. I never realized that the high school mythology class I took would prepare me for abortion work, but it did: That myth about Sisyphus is about me.