I am learning of an unexpected blogging hazard: tag surfing. This highly addictive form of web surfing connects you to other recent postings that match your own blog’s tags. One of my tags is “abortion”, so you can imagine the spectrum of ideas presented in various blogs on this topic. One thread seemed to come up several times in the pro-choice arena is the fact that abortion still gets a bad rap. Despite the tremendous judicial strides that abortion rights advocates have achieved in the last 36 years, they haven’t been able to shake the stigma. One article talked about abortionists who keep their profession secret from friends for fear of scorn, who shudder when cars drive slowly past their houses for fear that protesters have followed them home. Another woman, who had just watched Juno, lamented that the pro-choicers’ lack of such a cool, confident hero likes Juno. The author of the blog suggested that the author of another blog called “What to Expect When You’re Aborting” might be such a hero for the cause. I followed the link and read the referenced blog for over an hour. My conclusion about the abortion image problem? They can’t find a cool, fun poster girl to endorse abortion because there isn’t one. Abortion isn’t cool, isn’t fun, and people don’t generally like to advertise that they’ve had one.
Except, of course, the author of “What to Expect…”. She speaks flippantly and humorously about her experience in hopes of encouraging other women who have had or are considering abortions. With her experience, she seeks to disprove the pro-lifers’ assertion that abortion is harmful to women. Her abortion hasn’t left her wounded, but relieved. She’s happy to get rid of the “womb squid”. And yet, I would argue, that her story itself proves my point. She may have been a happy patient at her local Planned Parenthood, but she describes all the other women there are uncomfortable, distant, angry, even weepy. She described the men there as “small”, pacing around as if in a kind of reverse maternity room. In the waiting room, no one spoke, except a few mothers yelling at their daughters’ boyfriends. The staff she encountered was more interested in paperwork and her sedation preferences, than in her as a person. Even as nonchalant as the author was, even she, when placed on the table, broke down in tears. I have never been inside a Planned Parenthood clinic before, but this story sounds just like the ones I have heard from women and men who have been clients there. They seem like cold, desperate places.
This is the “right” they have been celebrating for the last 36 years. Abortion has an image problem because it is against the natural law for a mother to pay someone to vacuum her child out of her womb. It’s an ugly choice. Some women are forced into it, some driven to it by desperation, and others, like “What to Expect”, just simply don’t care- even if the Tumor could read poetry or play piano, it was in her body and if she doesn’t want it, it’s gone. And yet, there is a strong sense in the pro-choicers’ minds that you should be sensitive and compassionate to women having abortions, because even though abortion is a “fundamental right”, they recognize that it is different than getting a tooth out. And they are right. It is a horrible decision to have to make. Maybe I’m wrong, but impression I get from people like “What to Expect” is that they are trying to justify that decision to themselves.
The difference, then, between pro-lifers and our opponents is that while the Planned Parenthood types try to cheerlead their way into believing that this heartbreaking “choice” is somehow helping women, we are calling a spade a spade. It isn’t the religious wackos outside clinics that bring down judgment on abortionists: it is the act itself. It is wrong. It devestates women and families at a fundamental level. And the truly compassionate thing to do is to insist that it stop.