Pro-Voice 08: One Sentence That Shows The President Cares


A new president’s first State
of the Union address does nothing less than frame the future. That first
address stakes out the goals of a new administration. Behind the scenes,
entire wars may be fought over just one sentence — because it takes
only a few words to change the course of world events.   

It is time for the next president
of the United States to chart a new path in the abortion debate. 
All he needs is one sentence.  A sentence that shows he cares for
each person in America who has experienced one.  What should that sentence be? He needs to hear the answer to that from people like you, and
people like me: people who have had abortions.  

Rarely does a public discussion
include anything new on the subject of abortion. The national debate
and poll results typically follow the same trends.  Yet there is
one perspective that has not been heard: the voice of each woman
who has had an abortion, and the voices of her loved ones.   

It is time that we are heard.   

Social stigma has forced many
women and men to keep their personal experiences a secret, and as a
result, our unique stories get lost in the debate.    

For almost seven years, I have
led an organization called Exhale, which provides women and men who
have experienced abortion with something that I was not able to find
after my own: a safe, non-judgmental space in which to receive emotional
support from people who care and wish me well.  Through our national,
multilingual talkline, we have listened to people of many backgrounds
and ethnicities, people who practice diverse religions or none at all,
and who hold a range of values about abortion.  Their feelings
about their abortion experience are as unique as they are, and influenced
by what they have experienced in life and what they believe about the
world.  As they travel the landscape of possible feelings after
an abortion, Exhale witnesses them finding their own unique paths among
the many that lead toward emotional well-being.   

The most common themes we hear
from women and men are feelings of isolation and fear of judgment. 
Our direct work is to help them cope, learn and grow from these experiences
as whole, thoughtful and complete people.  To deepen and expand
this work and truly support all people on their path toward well-being,
we must all work to identify the shame, judgment and stigma so frequently
attached to abortion and replace them with empathy, compassion and non-judgment.   

A president, especially a new
president setting goals for the next four years, has the power to influence
and inspire.  That’s exactly what people hope for from their
leaders.  When the next president speaks about abortion, an issue
that has deeply affected the lives of so many Americans, he’ll have
the power to help us change the discussion.  He can do that simply, powerfully, by speaking one sentence, a sentence that conveys support
and respect for what we have gone through.  I know what I want
to hear: "I truly believe you did your best, and I want you to
know that I care." 
 

What do you want to hear? 

Pro-Voice in
’08,
a video campaign produced by Exhale and RH Reality Check,
calls on all women who have had abortions to post a one-sentence video
response on YouTube that answers the following question: What should
the next president say to convey his support and his respect for your
personal experience with abortion?
  

Join the conversation.  Here’s
how: 

  • Watch my call
    to action on YouTube.
  • Upload a video
    of yourself saying the one sentence you want to hear. 
  • Post a comment
    with the sentence you want to hear.

 

One sentence can change the course
of world events.  Let’s change the course of the abortion debate
and create a new discussion – one based on support and respect for each
person’s own unique experience with abortion.   

Want to join the conversation? Instructions on posting a video on YouTube are available here.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with Aspen Baker please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • mellankelly1

    This is such a wonderful concept… I know I’ll be participating and encouraging the many women that I’ve met who have shared this experience to upload their own video’s.  Thanks Exhale and thanks RH Reality Check.  Much love!

  • invalid-0

    “While I could never know what it is like to be in your position, I trust that you will make the decision that is best for your life right now.” That is what I would like to hear the next Presidential Candidate say about abortion.

  • invalid-0

    The more pro-voice is understood, the better…for women who have had, will have, or choose not to have an abortion. And indeed for men as well. It’s time to add a new vocabulary in this vital conversation. Thanks Exhale and RHReality Check for your enormous contribution!

  • invalid-0

    The one sentance I would love to hear my next president say is “”How responsible , and couragous you were to have an abortion, shame on those who stigmitize you and other women for making such a moral decision. thank you Michelle cory

  • invalid-0

    Forcing a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy is a sexual assault on that woman that is at least equivalent to rape.

    • invalid-0

      Nobody forced the woman not to get birth control, nobody beamed her up with an alien child and she is burdened with carrying a child she had no responsibility in making. Come on people. The choice is to choose to be responsible with your health.We have birth contrtol methods available other than abortion. There are no immaculate conceptions here, and we are not children who don’t know the responsible way to have intercourse. When will I hear pro the pill, or pro depo provera, why is it always pro choice to terminate pregnancy? THE WOMAN AND THE MAN KNEW THAT INTERCOURSE COULD RESULT IN PREGNANCY. The choice is to have safer sex or no sex at all. I would hardly consider a pregnancy out of two consenting adults like a rape. Are we really that much of an unkind species that we can kiss the forehead of one child and slice another in the name of choice? All to conceal the fact that it was us who were irresponsible?

      • invalid-0

        ‘THE WOMAN AND THE MAN KNEW THAT INTERCOURSE COULD RESULT IN PREGNANCY” yes and that is why i would be willing to outlaw abortion for those cases because requiring a woman to remain pregnant after consensual sex is not violating her it is mandating she accept the consequences of her actions. HOWEVER….. if the pregnancy was violently imposed as in the case of rape, forcing her to carry to term IS a form of sexual assault that surpasses even the vileness of rape. it takes the body 6 1/2 years to fully recover from pregnancy and birth. a woman has a right to defend herself against bodily harm that she did not invite. i treat this as i would any other person. if someone was about to cause me 6 1/2 years of bodily harm and possibly even permanent injury or death (which can happen with pregnancy) i will employ any means necessary to stop them from doing so even if it means killing them and i would grant them the same right to do it to me if i was the one that could harm them.

  • invalid-0

    I have been saying for years that forced childbirth is a 9-month rape, and it has gone right over the heads of even pro-choice folks. The reproductive freedom should have been using the slogan, “Forced childbirth is rape” from the moment the anti-abortionists started calling abortion “murder”.

  • mellankelly1

    Nobody forced the woman not to get birth control…

    The choice is to choose to be responsible with your health.

    So then you’re okay with the option of termination for the 54% of women who had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant?  It is most definitely responsible for a woman to use some form of contraceptive when they do not wish to become pregnant.  Further, choosing to terminate a pregnancy is every bit as responsible as choosing to gestate a pregnancy.  How you feel about abortion does not alter how responsible the choice would be.

    When will I hear pro the pill, or pro depo provera, why is it always pro choice to terminate pregnancy?

    Clearly you haven’t been paying attention.  Being pro-choice means leaving the decision of whether to gestate or terminate a pregnancy to the pregnant woman.  I don’t know of any person who would consider her or his self to be pro-choice who is against contraception… now, there are plenty of people who are anti-abortion who are also anti-contraception – perhaps your question would be better asked of those people?

    I would hardly consider a pregnancy out of two consenting adults like a rape.

    I don’t think anyone would.

    All to conceal the fact that it was us who were irresponsible?

    I would like to see the stats which reflect the reasons women terminate their pregnancies as "to conceal the fact that [we] were irresponsible"… perhaps you should research the reasons women opt to terminate their unwanted pregnancies.

  • invalid-0

    A woman should protect her child. If these instincts… to protect a child are not present than there is nothing I can write, there is nothing to say about a heart that is shaped like that. I could not imagine anybody hurting a child and women or men watching. This happens every day. Abortion is not pretty. We do not put the child to sleep with a teddy and sing a lullaby while we rub his or her head. We cut them, we suction them, we tear them limb from limb. This is hardly a goodbye. Sacrafice… is an action. An action for adults who have had the priveledge of living to sacrifice 9 months to a child who knows not yet how to sacrafice. I am truly saddened and I fear a society that can not or will not see a fully formed 15 week old fetus as a child. How can they possibly have empathy for adults if they have none for a child? Have you ever researched partial birth abortion? Do you know that the baby is moving as he or she is delivered, the fists are clutched and then a surgical instrament is stabbed into the back of the head. The child, while being “held” by the doctor throws their hands up like a child does when they are falling or frightened. The brains are suctioned out and the child goes limp. The child is within minutes of breathing but is killed with the head still inside mom. I dont know any mom that would allow her child to be stabbed. Maybe we make abortion too rosy and fluffy. We co-sign eachothers actions. We don’t look at the pictures of what we have done. We are put to sleep while the child is not, they are brave but we, well we can not even look at what we have done. We call the unborted child a fetus. Research how long you will justify abortion with the label fetus. Many abortions are done in the second trimester, while in the first you can claerly see a human being, for those skeptics, Look at pictures inutero in the second trimester. If you are really brave, look at a fetus inutero in the first. How can you pick nad choose when love comes your way? It just comes, it may be raining, it may be sunny, you may be on the pill, you may not but skipping down the sidewalk comes love wheather it is nurtured or not. Proper terms and scientific notation do not lay beside you at night. You desire something more. Terms like termination and gestation do not change the fact that it was love that you were given.

  • invalid-0

    A fifteen week old foetus is not a child. Would you seriously compare a foetus – without a developed nervous system – to a six year old?

    You don’t get to dictate what a woman should or should not do on the basis of your inaccurate and rather strange belief that a foetus is the same as a born child.

    Late term abortion (what you refer to as ‘partial birth abortion’, a term invented by anti-choicers for political purposes) is performed in the case of foetal abnormalities that are not compatible with life, or when a woman’s life or health are endangered. Anti-choicers love to make it sound as if hordes of women are having abortions at 38 weeks for fun or out of boredom, which is just not the case. Clearly, they think women are all either psychopaths or idiots, or both. It never seems to occur to them that individual women are in a better position to make decisions about their own bodies than ideologues who’ve never met them and haven’t a clue (or even the vaguest interest) in their circumstances.

  • mellankelly1

    A woman should protect her child. If these instincts… to protect a child are not present than there is nothing I can write, there is nothing to say about a heart that is shaped like that.

    Most women do protect their children but I fail to see what this has to do with the topic of abortion.  I will add that I also find it horrifying when people (not just women) abuse children.

    Abortion is not pretty.

    So what is your point?  If a medical procedure were more aesthetically pleasing you wouldn’t take issue with it?  It’s good to know where your heads at.

    An action for adults who have had the priveledge of living to sacrifice 9 months to a child who knows not yet how to sacrafice

    You are perfectly free to sacrifice your health, your life, your future reproduction and the lives of your family and loved ones; what you are not free to do is force another person to sacrifice those things because you don’t like abortion.  Further, your attempts at describing the intact D&E procedure were weak, at best, and appear to be taken directly from non-medical sites.  I would recommend using medical sites when referencing medical procedures. 

    We call the unborted child a fetus

    We refer to the fetus as the fetus because a fetus is a fetus… got that?  You can use whatever descriptive, emotive words of your choosing to describe a pregnancy at any stage, however, using descriptive words does not alter what a fetus is.

    Terms like termination and gestation do not change the fact that it was love that you were given.

    That is nonsensical emotive drivel.  You are free to believe that a fertilized egg = love and I am just as free to believe that statement is insane in the brain.

  • http://4exhale.org invalid-0

    I am not surprised that the recent threads on my post have become a debate about people’s views, judgments and moral beliefs about what women should or shouldn’t do when they are pregnant. This is ususally how things go when the topic of abortion comes up. Yet, my post and the Pro-Voice in ’08 campaign begins after the decision and the abortion have already taken place. It begins with the reality that many, many women have already had abortions. This campaign is about asking these women, women like me, to express what a President could say to convey his support and his respect for what we experienced. Personal experiences with abortion are too often silenced in this debate yet these are the stories that must be told, the voices that must be heard. It is only through listening and learning to the truths of these experiences that we can find our way out of this abortion war and towards a time of peace. I hope readers and commentors can agree to keep their debate free of judgment so that women can feel free to share.

    A woman named Monica has decided to bravely share her own story on video. Please watch it here:
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/video/our-reality-video-series/my-name-is-monica-and-i-had-an-abortion

  • mellankelly1

    ‘THE WOMAN AND THE MAN KNEW THAT INTERCOURSE COULD RESULT IN PREGNANCY" yes and that is why i would be willing to outlaw abortion for those cases because requiring a woman to remain pregnant after consensual sex is not violating her it is mandating she accept the consequences of her actions.

    Oh please… consenting to sex is most definitely not consenting to pregnancy (even if you type in ALL CAPS!)  Forcing pregnancy on any woman is a violation of her basic rights at the very least.  It would legally be considered murder if a woman dies as a result of being forced to carry an unwanted (or doomed) pregnancy to term (there are approximately 875,000 pregnancy-related complications each year in the US alone.)  Maybe it should be mandated that you accept the consequence of an unwanted pregnancy is oftentimes the termination of that pregnancy, eh?

    HOWEVER….. if the pregnancy was violently imposed as in the case of rape, forcing her to carry to term IS a form of sexual assault that surpasses even the vileness of rape

    You do realise that by making such a distinction between the zygote/embryo/fetus of consensual sex and the zygote/embryo/fetus of non-consensual sex you are admitting that your opposition to abortion has little to nothing to do with the moral or physical status of the zygote/embryo/fetus, right?  Your issue appears to be (by your very words) with women’s proper behaviour.  Well… boo!  Thank God your opinion about what is considered proper behaviour for women is utterly irrelevant to anyone other than yourself (and your loved ones.)  It reads as if you feel that women should be punished for participating (and God forbid enjoying) consensual sex…  Well, it’s good to know where your heads at.