The current fundy meme 'abortion hurts women' got a (demented) twist recently by Naomi Lakritz writing in the Calgary Herald. Not only do feminists not care about women who have had abortions, according to the title of this piece of dreck 'Women's real oppressors are those who say abortion doesn't hurt them'.
Natch, SHE parrots this idiocy.
There countless women who've been negatively affected by abortion. Feminists toss these women aside as nutjobs, and tell everyone to ignore them.
This is among the reasons why I say feminism is not about women. Feminism is about an ideology.
I've read numerous accounts of women who've had abortions-- even on pro-abortion websites.
And even on these websites, the women express regret and pain.
But the feminists brush this under the carpet.
Because it's an inconvenient truth. They never address the pain of abortion.
Well, you see, SHE is lying again.
It is true that the pro-choice movement was late to this party. Last summer, The American Prospect ran a piece on The Abortion Counselling Conundrum.
"I had a previous abortion at age 21, and it wasn't this hard. It didn't seem like a 'baby' to me at that age. But after raising two children I know now that I really did lose a living being inside me." – An anonymous participant in Emerge, a pro-choice support group for women who've had abortions
Those sentiments would raise the eyebrows of many a pro-choice activist. After all, the feminist movement is built upon the cornerstone of women controlling their reproductive destinies -- on the imperative of valuing women’s lives over the potential for life represented by a pregnancy. In the past, that often meant not talking at all about post-abortive women’s feelings about the fetus.
Well, that and the small matter of the stigma of abortion loudly and persistently upheld by the Religious Reich shouting 'baby killers' at workers and clients of abortion clinics.
But that is changing. The anti-abortion rights movement has become more sophisticated in recent years, co-opting themes of female empowerment to argue that women are abortion's central victims -- a line of reasoning that reached the Supreme Court in last year's Gonzales v. Carhart decision. In response, some reproductive health advocates have decided to deal head-on with the psychological aftermath of abortion. And though they're winning over skeptical elements of the pro-choice movement, these younger activists are having trouble convincing donors to fund their cause.
While most doctors agree so-called "Post Abortion Syndrome" is a myth, there is no doubt that dealing with an unplanned pregnancy can lead to anxiety and depression for some women. "It's about the relationship they were in when they got pregnant, or the fact they're currently financially dependent, or the relationship they had with their mother or father," says Nikki Madsen, associate director of Pro-Choice Resources, a Minneapolis-based non-profit that works to increase access to abortion and other reproductive health services. "An unplanned pregnancy elevates those things in our lives."
So in 2006, Pro-Choice Resources began hosting Emerge, a six-week secular support group for women who'd had abortions -- the first pro-choice after-abortion support group in the nation. And in San Francisco eight years ago, five women in their twenties and thirties who'd had abortions launched Exhale*, a national telephone hotline offering non-ideological counseling to post-abortive women. Both groups are treading uncharted ground; nationwide, almost every support group and talk line for post-abortive women is sponsored by religious groups that oppose abortion rights.
The article discusses aspects of the 'conundrum'. An interesting problem is terminology. Exhale calls itself 'pro-voice', not 'pro-choice'.
Exhale's reasoning, Baker explains, is that women from across the political spectrum choose abortion, and that carrying a highly politicized label such as "pro-choice" would turn off potential clients. Forty percent of women who have abortions identify as Christian or Catholic, for example, and may also consider themselves pro-life. Few women want to talk about politics when they call Exhale, Baker says; many just want to tell someone they've had an abortion, and talk through feelings ranging from relief to grief.
Then there's the funding problem. Foundations are concerned with the controversy and traditional pro-choice supporters are wary.
The piece winds up with two quotes that sum up the conundrum nicely:
"It has a lot to do with how younger women think and feel about abortion these days," says Arons of the Center for American Progress. "That it's important to have legal access, but it's not the same fight that it was for the Second Wave generation of feminists. Abortion doesn't symbolize women's liberation to the same extent as it did."
The Moriah Fund's Saperstein is even blunter. "If you've been in the women's rights arena for decades fighting the same battle over and over and over again, it's easy to feel defensive," she says. "But everyone knows abortion is a complicated experience."
Yes. Everyone does know that. And nobody knows better than those of us who have had abortions.
Here is a link to pro-choice post-abortion counselling programs and one to Project Voice, an oral history project.
Anybody know of Canadian initiatives in this area?
*I blogged about Exhale back at Birth Pangs in March 2007.