Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Abortion Abroad

As many of you know, I am visiting another country for a few weeks. So I get a break from abortiony stuff, right?


I have engaged, after one week, in 1.5 conversations about abortion. The first occurred during a qualitative data analysis session. I was in a group with some colleagues reading interview transcripts and coding the data into themes. The research was on HIV testing, and so our group naturally digressed into other sexual and reproductive health topics. As we meandered through the abortion topic, it was brought up that abortion is becoming legalized in this country, or at least the fight to do so is gaining ground. One guy, who I dubbed "Supafly" for wearing graffiti Ts and a pageboy hat on a jaunty angle, made a comment that a woman who was raped should be allowed to have an abortion. "Why", he asks, "should a woman be forced to raise a child that she will hate the rest of her life?"

Now, a woman in the group, also young and hip, remarked that when she became pregnant previously she would never have been able to have an abortion, even though she was (I presume) unmarried and reasonably young. Supafly and The Baddest Chick went back and forth, he finding it appalling that a raped woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy, and she describing the transformation that occurs among pregnant women that makes them love what's growing inside of them, regardless of how it happens. Incidentally, I found myself jumping to TBC's defense. Sure, I get it. Everytime I see a baby my uterus skips a beat. And not even in real life; I can look at pictures, TV commercials, you name it. There are tons of women who don't intend to become pregnant, who were raped even, who have no doubt that they will carry their pregnancies. Sometimes, that maternal instinct (or anti instinct, as the case may be) kicks in, full force! And abortion just never crosses one's mind. Just because conception occurs in a non-ideal fashion does not mean that you will hate your child. There are plenty of women who aren't raped who hate their children (remember Renee Bowman?)

But Supafly was not convinced. He became very animated, waving his arms and banging the table. His compadre, Ziggy Marley, agreed with him more subtly, and I found myself in a position that I'd never been in before; I was listening to two males try to make a believer out of a female! What was this place? On our way back from lunch break I held back with Supafly and Ziggy, letting them know that at the end of the day I was with them 100%. At that point Ziggy made his only real comment on the matter, but with conviction:

"It's simply a matter of choice. That's all."


  1. That is incredible. I'm always amazed to see pro-choice guys (though intuition tells me most guys are pro-choice), but when they have this much cool :)

  2. The statement that all women will feel x way about a fetus based on the circumstances of its conception bothers me because it seems to take most personal emotions and thought processes of the pregnant woman (or transgendered man) and attribute them the non-pregnant genetic donor. While it's nice that some men support a woman's right to choose, it sounds like Mr. Supafly was more about women doing what he decided was right rather than letting women have their right to decide themselves. Kudos to Mr. Ziggy.


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.