What’s the Message on Miscarriage and Abortion…Suffer in Silence or Be Shamed?


This weekend I learned of the latest social media scandal.  Penelope Trunk, a very reflective and sometimes controversial social media personality, sent a tweet stating "I’m in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there’s a fucked-up three-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin."

In 140 characters Trunk started a controversy of how a woman should react to a miscarriage. Is it best to suffer in silence?  Are you ever allowed to be grateful?  And above all, are you EVER allowed to discuss abortion?

Recently I experienced my own miscarriage, which I also openly discussed online. After discovering during a routine appointment that the fetus had died weeks earlier, I was left then to decide how I wanted to approach the failed pregnancy, what interventions I preferred to take, and most of all, how I would deal with that emotionally.  My twitter reaction also included anger at the health system.  But unlike Trunk, I didn’t receive a backlash of scorn for being public.  Instead, I received, both via twitter and facebook, an outpouring of sympathy.

There’s two real differences between her situation and mine, of course.  One, Trunk has tens of thousands of followers.  What these people have forgotten is that twitter is an opt-in messaging system.  If you do not like the information you receive from her, you have the ability to cancel anytime by unfollowing. 

But instead, people chose to contact her and tell her what a horrible person she was.  Why?

Because, unlike me, she spoke directly about abortion.  For her, her miscarriage was a relief because she did not want to have another child.  She had explored her options and realized how long it would take for her to terminate her pregnancy under the rules of her state, and they were extensive and time consuming.  With a three week wait, even should she still be in her first trimester, the procedure would have become more invasive as well, as the means and recovery time change as you progress in your pregnancy.  She not only had the audacity to express her relief, but also point out how onerous the medical system for terminating a pregnancy had become, even though it was still a legal process.

Here is my confession:  during my wait, I would have been utterly grateful for a natural miscarriage as well.  A natural miscarriage would have saved me surgery and what I am realizing now is a much longer recovery process.  It would have allowed me to proceed without medical intervention, something that was stressful and extraordinarily expensive even with my medical insurance.  And it would have saved me the mental anguish of waiting to see what will happen next, and knowing that I was carrying a dead fetus inside of me, unable to do anything on my own to make that end.

A missed miscarriage has a lot of similarities to abortion.  Physically, as I have mentioned before, the process for ending the failed pregnancy is the same as for terminating a live birth.  But emotionally, they can also be quite similar.  From the moment I learned that we had lost the baby, all I could think about was the dead fetus inside of me, and how desperately I needed to have it out.  I was repulsed, literally sickened physically, by what I felt was this dead thing inside of me that my body couldn’t figure out how to reject.  I had this sense of panic, feeling utterly trapped until a doctor could arrange to remove it for me and let me move forward with my life.

I have never experienced an unwanted pregnancy, but I imagine that many of those emotions are the same.

Like Trunk, I began to receive emails from irate readers once I made that additional step to compare miscarriages and abortion in a previous column.  When I was simply experiencing a miscarriage, I was an innocent victim in people’s eyes, deserving their support.  Most continued to support me afterward as well.  But once I used my story to draw parallels to reproductive health issues, and try to talk more about the potential inadequacies in women’s health care, that’s when the critics began to voice their complaints. 

I received emails from people telling me I should be ashamed for trying to use my lost child as a political tool, or that with my background as a pro-choice activist they assume I always wanted to experience an abortion and finally got my chance.  Of course, they didn’t come from anyone I knew.  But they obviously felt that they knew me enough to judge my reaction to my loss and my subsequent actions.

Every woman experiences a miscarriage in her own way.  There will be anger, relief, sadness, frustration and an overwhelming batch of emotions with no real name.  But the idea that we can be open about our losses, but not about the real life medical and societal impact lessons we learn from the event is the true frustration for me.   We don’t just have to suffer in silence anymore, we can take action as well.


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  • dltbhs

    Having experienced both, I thank you for writing this. A lot of the emotions are the same, even if they have different reasons… thank you.

  • suekatz

    Thank you for your honesty and candor and for writing a very compelling piece. I have reposted this article on my Facebook wall.

     

    Sue Katz: Consenting Adult http://www.suekatz.com

    Author of Thanks But No Thanks: The Voter’s Guide to Sarah Palin

  • holly-cairns

    Robin said:

    …telling me I should be ashamed for trying to use my lost child as a political tool, or that with my background as a pro-choice activist they assume I always wanted to experience an abortion and finally got my chance.

     

    Damn those hurtful words! "Does that hurt? If so, rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10." My pain meter registered an instant 8 out of 10.
    My heart goes out to you, for your loss and because people are so inconsiderate.

     

    I’ve experienced (directly, or vicariously) these situations: Miscarriage, abortion, death one week before birth and an induced labor, live birth. I’ll add to that we have two children and neither of them were a result of good planning. 

     

    Miscarriage: Painful, empty, world is huge and lonely, body has betrayed, no baby but no one gets it. Shh. 

     

    Abortion: The most painful thing a woman can experience. Shh.

     

    Death and then induced labor: Painful, empty birth. That baby doesn’t breathe, but you can hold it. Shh.

     

    Live birth: Wow! It’s a miracle. Don’t look at the needle they use to sew you up… but what is that little wriggly thing with eyes and nose… holy!

     

    I’d like to see honest discussion about how to lessen the amount of abortion while still ensuring they remain accessible. We can’t have the government MAKING women have babies, but in all honesty, abortion is terrible.

  • jodi-jacobson

    I am indeed sorry for your losses.

     

    I think it is most helpful when discussing these issues to use the words "I feel" or "for me…".

    Because as someone who has had varied experiences with pregnancy, childbirth and abortion, I do not regret nor do I feel my abortion was "terrible" and I know many others who do not feel that way either.

    It is the tendency to universalize our own experiences, politics and ideologies that is disempowering and silencing of other women.  We don’t all feel the same way.  That’s the point of talking about it.

    Best wishes, Jodi

  • holly-cairns

    Ouch.  I’m glad you corrected me as that was not my intention, nor would I want any woman shamed for any birth, or no birth.  Thank you for your comment.

    I feel it would be beneficial to reduce the abortion rate, and there has to be at least a FEW other people who would agree that "less is better."  Politically speaking, it is a very sound argument.  There ARE women who might make another choice. 

    Here are some things we already do to deter abortion (perhaps):

    1.  We give money to needy families for each kid.

    2.  We give tax credits for each kid, provided you make under a certain amount of money.

    3.  We educate, and boy are abortions gnarly.  If you have an abortion, you watch one on a video, first.

    4.  There are centers designed to help girls and women make decisions about birth and abortion.  (I detest judgemental birth places, BTW)

    5.  There are adoption centers ready to help expectant mothers.

     

    What else can we do to reduce the abortion rate, if that is indeed a noble goal?  Many women, I feel, choose abortion for economic reasons.

     

  • jodi-jacobson

    No one here argues for any specific choice for any woman. Rather the point is to ensure all women have choices they can make freely and without pressure or coercion. Pressure and coercion can take many forms, including being forced to have sex without consent, being pregnant for lack of access to affordable contraceptive supplies, facing an unintended pregnancy and not have ready, affordable access to abortion care, wanting to carry to term and not being able to afford to adequately care for a child….I could go on.

    The best way to reduce abortion is by reducing unintended pregnancy, and the best way to do that is to ensure that all persons are equipped with effective, evidence-based sexual and reproductive health education from an early age, good negotiation skills for interpersonal relationships, and true access to contraception and family planning services–as well as the broader range of reproductive and sexual health services–needed throughout a person’s life cycle.

    It would be great if all the supports you list above were available in a meaningful, not just a cursory way.  I still don’t think this will meaningfully reduce the number of unintended pregnancies to begin with unless matched with effective prevention strategies.

    Once someone faces an unintended pregnancy–is inside the situation–I give them the benefit of the doubt in making the best decision for themselves, their own family or life needs and don’t presuppose that if there are alternatives to abortion or adoption available they have not thought of these….I woulld have to say I give each woman too much credit for already knowing her own situation better than I do.

    The best answer to the issue of reducing unintended pregnancy, and hence abortion is the answer that is least supported by those who call themselves "pro-life."

    Meanwhile, it is an unfortunate circumstance that a woman who chooses abortion has to be made to feel she has done something wrong when in practical fact many do not feel they have.

    Best wishes, Jodi

  • christie

    Robin – There is another parallel among women who have miscarriages and women who terminate due to fetal anomaly. Many women who are told their baby has a serious anomaly or chromosomal abnormality hope and pray for a miscarriage so they won’t have to make the decision to end their baby’s life. Life for the mother would seem to be so much easier if only the decision were taken out of her hands, and off of her conscience. Alas, nature doesn’t always intervene the way it should and some women are forced to make a decision to voluntarily end their doomed pregnancy. I say “forced” only because a mother never willingly wants to say goodbye to a much-wanted baby before ever having a chance to say hello. As a friend of mine once said, “My love for my son superceded my desire to be his nurturer and allowed me instead to be his protector. My strength allows me to suffer the agony of his loss so that he doesn’t have to suffer the agony of his life.”
    I know many women who have terminated for medical reasons, and it’s not at all uncommon for them to tell family and friends that they had a miscarriage instead of an abortion. Society pities those who have miscarriages and condemns those who choose to terminate, regardless of the circumstances. Grief from the death of a child is devastating, regardless of the series of events which led up to it.
    I try to encourage other moms to speak out about their terminations, if they feel strong enough to do it. The more women speak up and fess up about their experiences, the less rare (and stigmatized) our circumstances will be.

    Christie

    http://www.ourheartbreakingchoices.com

     

  • crowepps

    Many years ago, when I was told I had a ‘missed abortion’ I too was absolutely repelled by the idea that I had a dead fetus inside me but had to wait several days for the procedure at my hospital.  That was long before ProLife activists had forced these procedures to be segregated in ‘clinics’. Years later when I had a ‘spontaneous abortion’ (a term that does not come anywhere near describing the emergency of huge pain and massive hemorrhage), in the follow-up visit I asked the doctor to explain what might have happened and he started off his explanation with the statement, "well, there were a lot of decaying fetal parts".

     

    If we are ever going to reach common ground on this issue, we have to do two things – first we have to all recognize that reproduction is NOT simple – the equation is NOT sperm plus egg equals easy pregnancy and healthy baby.  That just not not happen most of the time.   

     

    Second, we need to reclaim the word abortion by recognizing all of its aspects. ProLife activists pretend that there are separate medical vocabularies for voluntary and involuntary abortion and it just is NOT true. A woman who has the word ‘abortion’ somewhere in her chart could have had what the layman calls a miscarriage, could have had her fetus die, could have had disastrous complications that required the pregnancy be stopped immediately (like molar pregnancy). The word ‘abortion’ is a standard medical term for various procedures used in all of these instances and personally I really resent the idea that my medically necessary abortions carry a taint because ProLife activists are obsessed with how the WORD identifying their appropriate medical treatment is inherently evil. 

  • b-d

    Damn! What a quote!  I had to reread it 2x!  It sums up everything there is to say about abortions for medical reasons.  

    The usual response I get when I talk with people about this issue is something like: "oh, they’re just too lazy or selfish to see it through; they don’t want to take the time and effort to care for a special-needs child; they should be ashamed of themselves; who are they to decide that the child’s life would have been too  painful and unfulfilled to let the child live?; what if Stephan Hawking’s parents had decided he would have had too much pain, been too difficult to care for?" All of which miss the mark.  As you said, no mother would willingly give up a child, in any way. Even those who "chose" to have abortions have reason why they feel they must end the pregnancy, and they are usually not "Oh, I just don’t feel like having a pregnancy/child; I’m too busy, it would interfere with my life too much."  They have valid, often sad or horrific reasons to make this decision.

    Even economic reasons: "I have no way to support/care for a child" are valid, and should not be discredited.  Families have made that decision for millennia longer than there has been a Catholic church; most often based on the absolute question of how to feed another mouth when they are already starving or close to it.  We may have more resources today, but that doesn’t mean they are truly available when needed. 

    I too prefer  that we limit abortions, but not by making them illegal.  We need to address the root causes: unintended pregnancies and lack of resources-pre/post natal healthcare, housing, food, education.  When women’s health, safety, and rights are fully respected, so that women are not treated as semi-human or some man’s property; when women have equal resources and opportunities, there will be far less reason to have an abortion.  But, when a woman has to barricade her apartment, turning it into a reverse Fort Knox, to keep a rapist out, or he’s not guilty of rape (we actually had a case where the defense made this argument here in Minneapolis); when women are denied healthcare and insurance coverage essentially for being women and having healthcare needs different than men (Viagra is a covered prescription, but RU 41 is not? Fundamentalist pharmacists have no issue giving out Viagra, but are allowed to refuse to dispense RU 41 for religious reasons?), there will be valid and good reasons for abortions.

     

    BTW, I like what the gentleman above said about one person not having the right to make the decision for another person, when it comes to pregnancies.  So I guess, for him, it’s a moral crime for a woman to make that decision for her unborn-child, but it is perfectly acceptable for the government to make that decision for the mother?  Just a question he should ask himself, because he’s advocating the government do to a mother exactly what he says a women cannot be allowed to do with her own body.  I’m just sayin….

     

  • paul-bradford

    If we are ever going to reach common ground on this issue

     

    crowepps,

     

    The more I learn — not only about medicine, but about the way the national discourse on abortion is conducted — the quicker I am to admit that there really is such a thing as a medically necessary abortion.  In those cases the choice for abortion is motivated by genuine medical concerns, genuine health concerns, genuine safety concerns.  These cases need to be considered in a different light than cases where an abortion is ‘elective’.

     

    My involvement in this issue is rooted in my concern for the well-being of the unborn.  When an unborn life is lost (whether through procured abortion, or miscarriage, or any other cause), the question that needs to be asked is, "Could anything have been done to preserve this life?"  Many times the answer is no. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • phylosopher

    Robin- it is my opinion that in the case of fetal anomaly, there is indeed a medical problem with the woman’s body, because the normal response is a spontaneous miscarriage.  Thus, an abortion to remove fetus with anomaly is merely medically doing what the body failed to do.  The analogy would be to "failure to progress" used medically when discribing the reason for a C-section instead of a vaginal birth. 

    Thus, using a medical remedy or, feeling relief as Trunk did is perfectly normal and acceptable – naysayers de damned.

  • phylosopher

    unborn life?  oxymoron.  unborn potential life – perhaps.

  • paul-bradford

    unborn life? oxymoron.

     

    There’s a lot of discussion, on this ‘site, about the comments and attitudes of Pro-Life extremists who appear to place no value whatsoever on the lives, dignity, privacy, bodily autonomy or right of self-determination of women.  Frankly, I question whether those who are that far out are even concerned about the well-being of the very young.

     

    There is, however, another extreme and phylosopher has taken it.  This is the position of those who refuse to recognize that there is some value to the lives we lead before we’re born.  One wonders whether those with that low a regard for the unborn are capable of any authentic concern for the well-being of their mothers.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • holly-cairns

    Thank you for starting this conversation, Robin.  There is good discussion happening here.

     

    Jodi said it is an unfortunate circumstance that a woman who chooses abortion has to be made to feel she has done
    something wrong when in practical fact many do not feel they have.

     

    I find it irritating you attach this circumstance to my idea of finding a way to reduce the abortion rate.  I feel if we polled abortionees most would say it was a terrible situation, a terrible event, and very painful psychologically.  I’m not suggesting women should feel they have done something wrong, and I feel quite the opposite, in fact. I’m just suggesting we talk about it openly, and I’m finding it still not easy for women to discuss the issue. 

     

    If I say something which aims at reducing the number, I am not suggesting abortion be outlawed.  Please understand that, and perhaps even join me in that concession and in trying to find ways to discuss lessening the abortion rate.  If we give an inch, we aren’t going to lose the whole shabang. If we focus on how terrible it is, and talk about economics and specifics, we just might bring pro-lifers into a compromise of sorts (less, but still available).

     

    Jodi said:  The best way to reduce abortion is by reducing unintended pregnancy,
    and the best way to do that is to ensure that all persons are equipped
    with effective, evidence-based sexual and reproductive health education
    from an early age, good negotiation skills for interpersonal
    relationships, and true access to contraception and family planning
    services–as well as the broader range of reproductive and sexual
    health services–needed throughout a person’s life cycle.

     

    I recently read this from <a href="http://www.hewlett.org/news/what-you-dont-know-about-unplanned-pregnancy">Hewlett Foundation’s What You Don’t Know About Unplanned Pregnancies</a> 

     

    Key among those consequences is the fact that about half of all women
    who have an unplanned pregnancy choose to have abortions, making women
    in their twenties the most amply represented age group among the 1.3
    million abortions that occur in the country each year, she says. So
    reducing unplanned pregnancies will reduce abortions.

     

    From Hewlett, I notice it’s the 20 year olds that are choosing abortion.  Does this mean these women didn’t have access to helpful information while they were in school (hence your reference to pro-lifers least supporting measures to help reduce)? Does this mean that’s the age when women usually get pregnant?  Does this mean there is an economical correlation, and we’ll be seeing more abortions due to financial trouble?  What does it mean?  I want to talk about what it means, and can we help.

     

    Once again, I’d like to reduce the number of abortions but still make sure they are accessible (which can be making reference to legal issues AND cost, BTW). 

  • holly-cairns

    Hi Paul, I notice you have:

    Pro Life Catholics for Choice

    below your name. 

     

    To me, that implies you find value in life and want to protect life, but you and your group do not want to outlaw abortion for various reasons?

     

    I bet you and "phylosopher" could find common ground if you both looked for ways to do that. 

     

    And thank you for using your name, if it is you!  I feel we say more responsible and friendly things if we use our real name.

  • paul-bradford

    [T]hank you for using your name, if it is you! I feel we say more responsible and friendly things if we use our real name.

     

    Holly,

     

    It absolutely is my real name and it’s the name I use whenever I post on the ‘net.  I’ve had people who are posting on one ‘site google me and make comments about things I’ve said on another ‘site.  I’ve said stupid things I’ve regretted from time to time but I don’t disown anything.

     

    I believe in protecting the unborn, but I believe that the tactics we use to protect the unborn have to be feasible, appropriate and effective.  I don’t believe in trying to coerce women to do something they’re unwilling to do.  I believe in raising the level of concern we all have for the unborn so that couples will be more careful not to conceive children they’re unable to do a good job of raising.  I believe it’s important to start caring about your children BEFORE they’re conceived.

     

    My goal has always been to promote respectful and productive discussions.  That’s more important to me than getting off a good zinger.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • holly-cairns

    Paul Bradford said:

    the tactics we use to protect the unborn have to be feasible, appropriate and effective

    that sounds wonderful, especially since you are from a "Choice" group.This part, however, makes me wonder:

    I don’t believe in trying to coerce women to do something they’re unwilling to do.

    What’s this about coercing women?  That’s a strange statement and I’d better check it out before I assume I know what you are thinking…

  • jodi-jacobson

    I have a number of responses but will limit to these….

    You wrote:

    I feel if we polled "abortionees…"

    First, to be honest, i have no idea what an "abortionee" is.  I know women, including myself, who have had abortions.  I know doctors, including many reproductive health professionals, who perform abortions.  We tend to want to turn abortion into a personal pronoun, which again I think speaks to the issue of stigma.

    Second, I have no idea what we would find if we polled women who have had abortions.  I have no doubt some women would say it was a difficult decision, but that having a child at that moment in their life, or given the circumstances under which they became pregnant would be far worse and far more difficult and painful.  so…?  Do we denigrate or characterize all childbirth and motherhood as "difficult and painful?"  No.  Motherhood is and should be a choice.  That choice involves difficult choices about when to become pregnant intentionally, how to avoid pregnancy when one intends to do that, when and how to end a pregnancy that is not wanted and how to afford all the options.

    I also have no doubt that there are women like myself who had absolutely no regret, pain, or other emotion than relief at ending an unwanted pregnancy.

    This says nothing to me about abortion other than it is one choice among other choices all of which entail possible regrets, decisions, relief, elation, etc.

    I finally have no doubt that in the current environment of shame and stigma it is difficult to get any read at all on what women really feel about abortion because we all know that self-stigma grows out of social stigma.  Breaking that stigma to liberate real choices is the only way to get to an honest conversation.

    Do I agree that women who feel pain about their abortions should be able to speak out loud about these?  Yes.  For the purpose of stigmatizing or further limiting other women’s rights to choose abortion?  No.  Is this possible in the current environment?  I don’t think so.  We first have to legitimate abortion as a choice to have an honest conversation–socially, politically–about that. 

    So I don’t object to saying we should prevent the ultimate cause of the vast majority of abortions–unintended pregnancies–but I do object to focusing on abortion as the "bad" outcome it is mean to be because by characterizing it as such for all women at all times stigmatizes them and their choices and the procedures.

    I am unable to respond to your other comments right now but will do so later.

     

    thanks and best wishes, Jodi

     

  • holly-cairns

    I think you keep putting words in my mouth and painting me in such negative light.You Desi and Me Lucy.

     

    I wonder how it is that you end up feeling so good about your abortion. It wasn’t physically painful?  It wasn’t emotionally painful?  That’s what I feel we need to educate about, but you and I cannot even agree on that.  Which of us would best to write the curricula?

     

    I’d talk about prevention, consequence, love, hate, money, and more in sex class.  I’d show vids of birth, abortion, and etc. 

     

    I have to wonder if you were out during your abortion. I almost died on the table and didn’t like the jar across the room.

     

    But once again, I am anti-abortion but I know we cannot outlaw abortion.  I don’t feel ashamed, and I don’t want any other woman feeling that way, either.  But I see where we can help reduce the number of abortions being performed, and lessen the hate associated with abortion.  I see where women have been left out of the rights discussion, or the respect for life discussion… and I think one reason we allow this is because we can’t even talk amongst ourselves about abortion.

     

    As Fez would say, Good day to you!

  • liberaldem

    Hi, Holly- I’m chiming in here. 

    I had an abortion when I was in college-an unplanned pregnancy. My abortion was illegal, pre-Roe v. Wade, and it was physically painful.

    However, it was not emotionally or physically disabling, either short term or long term. It was a difficult, lonely decision, but it was the best decision that I could have made at that point in my life. 

    The experience did confirm for me that I was and remainly firmly pro-choice.

    I think that women should be able to discuss their experience with abortion honestly.   

     

  • jodi-jacobson

    I wonder how it is that you end up feeling so good about your abortion. It wasn’t physically painful? It wasn’t emotionally painful? That’s what I feel we need to educate about, but you and I cannot even agree on that. Which of us would best to write the curricula?

    My experience was as "physically painful" as a bad case of menstrual cramps.  I am not sure what relevance this has.  It would have been psychically, physically, and in many otherwise far more painful to continue the pregnancy.

    "Emotionally painful"?  No.  It was an immense relief.  I had an abortion at 8 weeks, I could not wait for it to happen.  Again, much more emotionally painful would have been to have had a child I could not care for, especially now as a mother of two who is very involved with my children….there is no way I could have parented a child at that time in my life.

    Again, I am not sure what the argument about emotional or physical pain tells us except for how individuals respond.

    Much more "emotionally and physically" painful for me were my two chosen pregnancies, during both of which I endured serious pregnancy-induced illness, repeated hospitalizations, serious physical impairment and depression resulting from both.  I "endured" this (if you choose to call it that) because I chose to be pregnant and see the pregnancies through.  I was ready to go through that come what may and chose at every step of the way to continue through to keep those wanted pregnancies.

    The bottom line here is that individual women have individual experiences with pregnancy, abortion, childbirth, parenting, and all the rest.  We should as a society make room for discussing the range of emotions and realities in all these situations, without naively assuming that any one of these choices isn’t just that—a choice with an upside and a downside.  Moreover, we can’t legislate away choices because someone made a choice and had "regrets."

    Best, Jodi

     

  • holly-cairns

    Liberaldem said

    It was a difficult, lonely decision, but it was the best decision that I could have made at that point in my life… and it was physically painful.

     

    I join you in the physically painful, but I know at least I wasn’t aware of the "alls" entailed in the process.  I am glad it wasn’t disabling for you, since you were before Roe, and I’ve heard terrible horror stories about back allies and scraped uterus disaster.

     

    I’m "pro choice" but perfer to say "pro woman’s life".  The rad right has messed w "pro choice" so it conjures up "abortion loving", which I don’t think many women DO love abortion.  

  • holly-cairns

    Jodi said:

    My experience was as "physically painful" as a bad case of menstrual cramps.

    That’s ALL?  Holy schnikes!  HOLY FRAKEN schikes!  My live births were NOTHING compared to the abortion.  NOTHING!  And I felt a lot of emotional pain, too, because I didn’t take the situation lightly.  It was a very huge deal.

    Jodi said

    …a choice with an upside and a downside.

    Now you’re coming around to an area where we can talk, I think.  I haven’t heard you mention the downside part before, but maybe I read too quickly.   PS, you are still trying to educate me and I think I’ve been doing that on this topic for at least 20 years.  I feel, after all these years, we should be talking about these things so perhaps less abortion happens, but so abortion is still legal,  and so we can join together to ensure woman aren’t alone.  That’s what I think.  

  • paul-bradford

    What’s this about coercing women? That’s a strange statement and I’d better check it out before I assume I know what you are thinking…

     

    Holly,

     

    I’m thinking that direct efforts at making abortion illegal are, in a real sense, an attempt to coerce women into completing pregnancies against their will.  Actually, I doubt it works out that way because women all over the world have demonstrated that if they’re unwilling to have a baby they’ll get an abortion whether it’s legal or not.

     

    The fact that I’m opposed to criminalizing abortion doesn’t mean that I think we’re powerless to stop it.  The goal, first of all, has to be preventing unwanted pregnancies — but since it’s never going to be possible to prevent all unwanted pregnancies, we should be thinking about an arrangement where a woman is prevented from getting abortion by her own respect for the life of another human being, rather than her fear of legal reprisal.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice