Abortion is an incredibly complicated and difficult topic. Those on either side of the aisle when it comes to the abortion debate feel passionate about their thoughts and love to think they can tell women how to feel about terminating their pregnancies. But the truth is, abortion is an intensely personal decision, and no one — not the government, not anti-abortion activists, not political candidates — can tell a woman how she feels. This week, a trending hashtag on twitter — #ShoutYourAbortion — addresses this truth.
The right wing would have us believe that abortion is always a regrettable choice and that women must feel deep shame for having had one. But the truth is, for many women, having an abortion is an enormous relief. It is an escape from the enormous burden — both financial and emotional — that an unwanted child would bring.
We’d all love to believe that every child is a “blessing” and that every mother wants to give birth, but that is simply not the case. And sometimes, many times in fact, abortion is the better, smarter option. And women are expected to apologize for that fact. See some of the tweets below:
I haven't needed an abortion yet, but I don't know of ANY regrettable ones. If you need a ride to yours, let me know. #shoutyourabortion
— Taffy Brodesser-Akner (@taffyakner) September 21, 2015
My abortion was in '07. I didn't want kids then and still don't. I'm managing my own wellness. #ShoutYourAbortion
— magnificent fatty (@findi_mue) September 20, 2015
As the mother of three children I love dearly who were very, very wanted, I believe even more in the power of choice. I grew up with a mother who was a Planned Parenthood activist and I marched with her in Washington to support abortion rights, but it wasn’t until I became a mother in early 2007 that it really dawned on me what it meant to have control over our own bodies.
It truly doesn’t matter what I think about anyone else’s abortion. Whether they are “using it as birth control,,” (a complete BS argument, by the way) or agonizing over the decision, the decision is theirs and theirs alone. That’s the beauty of being pro-choice. I have been lucky in that I’ve never had to make this choice. But countless friends of mine have. I would happily give them any support they needed and not shame them in any way. No “how sad for yous” or anything else.
Because you know what? Sometimes abortion is a happy option. Sometimes it saves women’s lives. Sometimes it saves the lives of future (or current) children of an overwhelmed mother who simply can’t handle another baby at this time. Sometimes it means a woman is able to escape an abusive partner or that she is able to leave someone who was unsuitable to be linked to in a “forever” sense. Sometimes it means she is able to get life saving cancer treatment or make the best choice for her terminal fetus.
And sometimes it just means she gets to wear a bikini again. And you know what? That’s OK, too. Whatever her reasons are.
Abortion can be a life-saving choice for women. It’s a personal choice. And honestly, it’s none of my (our yours or his or her) business what another woman chooses to do with her body and her life. #shoutyourabortion, indeed. There is no shame in doing what is right for you and your body.