Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One in three (but not me!)

People talk to me about abortion, theirs and others. They talk to me because they know I am a “safe space” of sorts, and you, my dear abortioneers reader can relate, right? We are the people who friends, family, family friends, and strangers on the street confide in about their friend’s abortion, their sister’s abortion, their mother’s abortion, THEIR abortion.

I meet people, usually men, who say they don’t know anyone who has had an abortion. And I always reply, “oh yes, you definitely do, they just haven’t told you”. And then, I meet the women who are always willing to divulge their own abortion story, or their birth control experiences, or who seek advice on reproductive health topics. In fact, one of my favorite get-to-know-you topics is what kind of birth control someone is on (for those engaged in the type of sex that could lead to a pregnancy of course).

We in abortion land often quote the “1 in 3 by age 45 will have an abortion” statistic. We parade it around—our banner of pride that demonstrates the ubiquitous nature of abortion. This statistic can be debated over and over, and it will vary by race, class, sexuality, etc…but whether it’s 1 in 10 or 1 in 2 it’s still a lot of fucking people. And we all know a lot of fucking people right? So we all know someone who has had an abortion. But for most people they clearly would never know it.

Someone I work with sent an email out at work today stating that he was leaving early for an emergency dental appointment. I dream of the day when I get a similar email from a coworker leaving early for an abortion. Because I know it’s happening.

Do people talk to you about their abortion? Do you talk to people about yours?


  1. Not besides other Abortioneers. Though my sister is relatively open about hers now, she never told me about them at the time. I think for lots of folks, like so many other personal matters, it takes time and some self-discovery to "come out".

  2. Well, I'm not sure that would happen. I mean, most people prefer to keep their medical procedures to themseleves, I once had a coworker who was mortified when news slipped out she was having a rhinoplasty (in the form of a well meaning family member throwing her a good luck party at work). I have a medical condition that requires I get colonoscopies every 2 years or so, not something I'd really like to share with my fellow workers (Hey guys, off to get a 6 foot long hose with a camera up my butt).
    Of course I'm being my (cynical) humorous self here.

    I imagine I would discuss it with fellow pro choicers in a setting that called for the topic.

  3. There are a very few that know I had one. My mom, and my sisters, and very few (2) close friends. I didn't know how people would react so I never told them. Sometimes it gets hard when I hear people in my own family get all pro-life, and "taking responsibility," and of course that it always happens to the uneducated. I want to shake them. I am a middle-class, college graduate with a full time job, that had an abortion, how's that for a stereotype. I don't know if I will ever come "out" but I think if I heard enough stupidity I just might.


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.