Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We're All Just Bitches, Right?


I don’t get it. I don’t get all the stigma and myths surrounding women who have abortions. It is crazy to me that in 2010, people still go around acting like the one in four American women who have/will have an abortion are selfish whores who are totally irresponsible. It frustrates me even more when the women who seek abortion care slap themselves across their own faces with these horrible stereotypes that are just plain false.

Equally, I am really getting annoyed with all the stereotypes people have about Abortioneers. We must be cold, heartless child/man/woman/baby hating bitches to do this work. None of us have kids: by choice, as we hate them. We’re all man-hating lesbians. And we’re super mean and will force a woman to have an abortion. Seriously?

Every single day I talk to women who are shocked to find we’re, in fact, nice. Every single day, I talk to women who are shocked to find many of us are parents or at least have children in their lives on some level. I also happen to work with at least four grandmothers. I love it when we have a staff member who gets pregnant. I feel like with one glance, as she opens the door to the waiting room, a clipboard resting on her swollen belly, she sweeps away hundreds of myths about us. I’ll never forget when our female Ob/Gyn was heavily pregnant, performing abortions. The patients were surprised and I feel her belly shouted something profound about who she was and what she believed about choices and all women. Oh, how I admired her for that. Her own wanted, loved pregnancy challenged women to understand that as Abortioneers, we respect all choices, for all women, in all stages of their lives: so how would we ever try to make her have an abortion, or make her continue a pregnancy, or make her do anything?

I wish I knew where some of these stereotypes came from. Maybe some of them are just stereotypes for feminists. Oh, and regarding sexuality: really, who cares? But if others must know, I happen to work with people from many different sexual orientations: that doesn’t even matter though. I also happen to have worked with people from many different religious orientations and spiritual backgrounds, including non-spiritual and non-religious backgrounds. Again: it doesn’t matter.

This does matter: Abortioneers are nice. And we give a shit. And we work hard with very little recognition. And I hope that you hold your head high. I hope you shout - loudly, or quietly - all the many profound things about choices and women and life and complexity and beauty that surrounds you each day; because you’re not a cold, heartless bitch. Rather, you’re quite astounding.




6 comments:

  1. I like this! It's weird about pregnant coworkers, and I've definitely heard what you describe as well as, on the other hand, "that made me wonder if I was being judged for having an abortion," because sometimes people are very used to thinking that "you're either the kind of person who has an abortion or the kind of person who has a baby" so if someone made a different choice from mine she must be thinking of me as a category as I am doing to her. (However! So far I haven't heard women with children say this, I think they were mostly younger with no kids.)

    ...Also, Guttmacher stats say 35% or 1 in 3. Is 1 in 4 specific to where you live? (I'm getting increasingly into researching abortion surveillance statistics -- did you know the CDC records significantly fewer abortions than Guttmacher? The reasons are interesting!)

    Have a good day, friend <3

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  2. Damn right! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've never met an Abortioneer I didn't like.

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  3. Dear Abortioneers: At some point you have to dismiss what these religious jackasses say about abortion. If you feel embarrassed, shamed, etc like a whore (your term not mine) it is at some point your choice (also your term) to feel that way. You cannot be made to feel inferior w/out your permission. My wife and I had an abortion, which we terminated. I, we, have never felt we owe any explanation to people. We did it cuz we could. Period. Our lives, our bodies, our call. Keep up your work for the underdog and thanks.

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  4. Hey IronDog, thank you for your words of support! But please don't misunderstand: I doubt any one of us feels embarrassed or ashamed about our jobs just because jerks against abortion (henceforth JAA) think we should -- and we certainly don't think that women who have abortions are whores just because JAA do. I really identified with this post, but rather because AboutAGirl hit on most of theweird myths and misperceptions (perpetuated by both JAA and society at large) of what we're like, what we value, what our clients are like and what they value, and so forth.

    But they're just that: weird myths. For every one of our number who's a lesbian, atheist, or child-free (and no less wonderful for it), there's a straight woman, a Muslim, a couple Christians and Jews, some moms, a grandmom and a dad. Not that our demographics should be determining our goodness anyway! I'm happy to say that >95% of the colleagues I've met in this field give their all to support women's needs, varied though they might be, with compassion and integrity and patience. I know no field is totally free of assholes, but anyone would consider themselves fortunate to have coworkers like mine!

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  5. Wow. Good job. The JAA (love the acronym) are just that, jerks. I got on a call with a redneck christian radio station yesterday that was calling abortion a holocaust, similar to that of Aushwitz. I got on the air, identified myself as pro choice and asked them if this is a "Holocaust" then what are they doing about it. Those who opposed Hitler joined the underground resistance movements, and most died. The host had no answer when I asked him what was the anti abortion equivalent of hiding Jews in the cellar from teh Gestapo. They are not willing to risk anything, or suffer any inconvenience for this "Holocaust." They are just so full of right wing horseshit.

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  6. IronDog, I know what you're talking about, and certainly appreciate someone being willing to call up one of those scary radio shows to disagree with them. On the other hand, it's not like I want antis to be *more* willing to act on their anger, so I try to avoid pointing out that they've just compared themselves to "onlooker Germans". Dr. Tiller's murderer, for example, is one of those people who claim to be honoring the pro-life stance to its fullest (sounds like a contradiction but we all know he really only means anti-choice)...and I know there are others out there, like in most other movements probably, who seem to think that engaging in (or fantasizing about) violence will absolve them of complicity with whatever established order they're railing against. Complicated!

    That said, most of the antis I've known in the last few years are the protesters who only show up on pleasant Saturday mornings, and even then only stay for for an hour before getting tired and leaving. It's kind of funny.

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