Sunday, November 22, 2009

Human Kindness

Why are so many people afraid of the word abortion?

Even though 1 in 3 women will have an abortion before the age of 45, even though it is one of the safest medical procedures, people still find the need to keep it on the “down low.” Like when people come into the clinic for their appointment and whisper through the glass, “I'm here for my abortion,”…. And I whisper back “So is everyone else” (signaling to the other 50 people in the waiting room)

ABORTION!!! Maybe if it was called…. Noitroba? How do we get rid of the stigma attached to this word? Hmm… what do people like?

Most people would agree with human rights, right? What about the right to a fulfilling and happy life? The right to control your own body?

Abortion=Love, Choice, Relief, Option, Life, Happiness, Respect, Kindness….the list goes on. Abortion means so many positive things to so many different people, and yet it still “sounds bad.”

So maybe it’s just the word. Maybe it’s the tone in which people say it. Maybe everyone should say abortion at least once a day until it is no longer hushed and whispered in conversation. Abortion, abortion, abortion….is human kindness.

This weekend, I participated in a values clarification seminar where I was once again, the “abortion person.” In a room full of like-minded, sex positive women, values were colliding and being challenged. I became aware of the assumptions I carry about how important being “pro-choice” actually is to women, and the role abortion plays in their lives.

The other day I had a wonderful conversation with a girl in my class about abortion, and her work as a health educator in schools. She was genuinely interested in hearing about the work I had done in the abortion field and it was such a breath of fresh air to freely talk about what I was most passionate about.

The next day, I saw her in the student cafĂ© area and beamed with excitement, remembering the lengthy conversation we had just had about abortion. I came up to her in front of some of her friends, mentioned something from our talk, and watched as her face dropped and head shifted away. She hurriedly said “uh huh,” and then went on her way. I suddenly remembered, she might have opened up to me the other day because she felt comfortable and safe. She could talk to me in a non-judgmental, respectful and loving space. In a different context, in front of her “other” friends, it was a topic she did not want to openly and publicly discuss.

There are days now that pass where those conversations don’t happen, and when they do, I am reminded of my unconditional support and love for women. Why I constantly fight for safe and accessible abortion services, and why I will never stop fighting. I feel so grateful and comforted that there are other people, just like me out there, who feel there is nothing more than Human rights-which are sexual rights-which include the right to safe, legal and accessible abortion. These people in my life are sprinkled throughout different states and countries, and I often miss them in my everyday life. So thank you blog, and women of the blog, for filling a place in my heart.


  1. know I got your back. It's weird how we became "abortion people"...but looks like we're going to have to continue speaking sometimes baffles me...but then it doesn't...I'm glad to have you in this with me

  2. Maybe everyone should say abortion at least once a day until it is no longer hushed and whispered in conversation.

    I actually love this as an idea. Maybe that's part of our job, as "abortion people", if we can stomach it -- to talk about it enough that people know it's something you can talk about.

  3. See, being the blabbermouth that I am, I've actually been shushed before for saying abortiony words too loudly. This particular shusher was not an Abortioneer, so I'm not sure if it just made her uncomfortable or if she didn't want others to think I was nuts. Either way, I shushed.


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.