If You Don’t Like Abortion, Then Don’t Have One!

There’s so much horrifying news about unplanned parenthood that it’s awoken me from my bout of blogging blasé. While Ireland overturned their ban on abortion last year, the US is regressing to the opposite. From Alabama to Missouri and Ohio, several US states passed severe legislation to restrict abortion just recently.

In the style of my original posts when this blog began, I wanted to aggregate the absurd things that dumb men (and others) have said about abortion lately, and provide responses to their regressive thinking.

Things He (or so-called Pro-Life Person) Says:

  1. This # of abortions have happened in history, thus this # of children have been killed. This is genocide, with more fatalities than the Holocaust or [insert other crimes against humanity].
  2. Birth control causes abortions.
  3. Abortion is murder, so murderers should go to jail.
  4. Women wouldn’t get pregnant if they were abstinent or practiced chastity.
  5. You won’t get pregnant if you use birth control.
  6. Fathers should have rights (to the embryo/fetus)!
  7. You wouldn’t have been born if your mother had an abortion.
  8. What about the baby?
  9. I/someone will adopt the baby! There are couples who can’t have children and want to adopt.
  10. What if that aborted child became the person who cured cancer?

Thing She (or Pro-Choice Person) Says:

  1. Rabbis and Jewish advocacy organizations…slammed the comparison as offensive, exploitive, and ignorant of historical context,” and that’s all I have to say about that. An aborted embryo is not persecuted for its religion or thrown into a concentration camp to work until they die, and that’s all I have to say about that
  2. Birth control (options like the pill and IUDs) literally prevents abortions. One of the many reasons why people use birth control is to prevent pregnancy. Birth control is also used to mitigate some serious medical conditions unrelated to birthing a child. Don’t forget about condoms, another form of birth control, which help prevent transmission of STIs!!!
  3. Ok, so you support the absolutely abhorrent Alabama legislations that criminalize those who abort (as well as their doctors and any others who may help), even in cases of rape or incest? So you’re saying that someone who someone ejecting a mass of tissue from their body (a teenager who was raped, for example) is equivalent to someone who  shoots someone in the face? Not to mention how sticky this gets in practice when it comes to a pregnancy that was lost naturally. How is a formerly pregnant person supposed to prove that their sheets were bloodied from miscarriage? Or even an especially heavy period? (Not to mention that this legislation would penalize rape survivors more harshly than their rapists?!?!?!?)
  4. Um, hello. What century are you living in that you think women should only behave like virginal Victorian maidens?! Also this completely blames victims of rape and sexual assault for their getting pregnant. While chastity may be an aspiration way of living, it is completely divorced from reality and lived experiences. Remember those nuns who revealed abuse (and impregnation/force to abort) by priests? Prime example.
  5. There’s the pill, IUDs, condoms, vasectomies, and Plan B, yet not all have access to these options. Any of these options may also fail, since nothing is 100% effective (except for abstinence, but that’s not an option that should solely be preached, as mentioned above). Blocking access to safe abortion only perpetuates the cycle of poverty, turning mothers of 3 without much access to safe contraception into mothers of 6, unable to financially support the children they already have. 
  6. Just because your penis caused the pregnancy doesn’t mean you have any right over the person you ejaculated into. You and your penis won’t ever have to endure the physiological effects of a pregnancy—pronounced weight gain, morning sickness, etc.—or other implications like needing to drop out of school or losing a job. You have no right to police the bodies of women, trans folx, and non-binary people with uteruses/uteri by rendering them as baby incubators. Thank u, next.
  7. Out of every four women/people with uteruses you know, one will have an abortion, hence the “Everyone loves someone who has had an abortion” quote. Perhaps you wouldn’t have been born if your grandmother (or other matrilineal relative) didn’t have an abortion when she was a teenager, which would have resulted in her marrying the dude who knocked her up. Did ya think about that?
  8. The majority of abortions occur in the first trimester, before the embryo has even developed into a fetus. How can an embryonic bundle of cells be considered a baby? Additionally, most pregnancies aren’t viable, and would result in miscarriage or stillbirth. Historically, fetal heartbeat was not a metric for determining personhood, but rather “quickening” and fetal movement, which happens much later in the pregnancy.
  9. I appreciate your altruism, but would you really adopt the more than half a million children currently in foster care? Would you have the financial resources to clothe, feed, house, and give them a happy and healthy life? So many children are never adopted and live their lives in a broken foster care system. Also, unless I’m being compensated via a surrogate program, I’m not putting myself through 9 months of total bodily transformation and many hours of excruciating labor to have a child for someone else.
  10. What if the mother ended up becoming the person who cured cancer, but they were deprived of that opportunity because they were forced to have a child?

Other issues that should be considered:

Plain and simple: if you’re against abortions, then don’t have them! Even though terminating a pregnancy at any stage of gestation can be emotionally and physically painful, the choice to abort or not should be available for a person to make. It is their choice alone, and some old white dude in judicial robes shouldn’t intervene. Blanket legislation that speaks for all abortions completely dismisses individual experiences and invades their individual privacy that the 14th amendment is supposed to protect.

An overall ban on abortion will NOT end abortions, it will only result in unsafe and potentially lethal abortions, a return to hanger abortions before Roe vs. Wade. For those who do not die from a back alley abortion, maternal deaths will rise because America dgaf about women, especially women of color. Black women already face statistically higher maternal mortality rates, so an anti-abortion stance is steeped in racism. Also viewing pregnant people solely as mothers is not only misogynist, but it’s also transphobic, since not all people who have uteruses identify as women. 

I can only hope abortion will be a basic human right some day. Until then, I’ll share some information next post about supporting abortion providers.

If you have any thoughts about this post or want to share some ignorant or insightful things people have said, comment below!

Aborting Guilt

“I got something to say
I killed a baby today
And it doesn’t matter much to me
As long as it’s dead”

As I’ve discussed earlier in my “(Un)Planned (Un)Parenthood” posts, I had an abortion just over a year ago, almost to the day. While some might say I killed a baby, I’m not as cavalier about it as Glenn Danzig in The Misfits’ “Last Caress” lyrics above (which horrifically continue with raping mothers and killing even more babies). My baby was not yet a baby by definition. It was an unborn, unformed embryo, and removing it from an environment in which it it could live—thus resulting in its death—did matter so much to me.

The most salient emotions from my whole abortion experience were relief and guilt. It’s been reportedthough I’m unsure if this website is factually accurate since it reads more like pro-life propagandathat 55% feel guilt and 10% have reported more serious “psychiatric complications” like diagnosed depression.  Fortunately, I, like 95% of those who have had an abortion, don’t regret the decision. This longitudinal study from PLOS also counters the pro-life narrative that all abortions are emotionally damaging, recommends counseling for those having difficulty coping with their abortion, and concludes that the intensity of negative emotions and frequency of thinking about the abortion will also decrease over time. I’m not attempting to discount anyone’s experiences, only provide my own experiences and provide information I’ve collected.

Guilty or Not Guilty

I don’t know if I would’ve even delivered a healthy baby, but I do know I prevented the thing growing in my womb from becoming a person. And I don’t want to do that again.

A year later, I feel guilty because:

  • I ended a life before its life began.
  • A couple, family friends who were my second pair of parents, had wanted children for the decade I’ve known them. To this day they don’t have children. And there are so many who want biological children and are unable to have them.
  • I was able to get an abortion, while many aren’t able due to lack of access or financial support.
  • I could’ve not terminated the pregnancy and given the child up for adoption.

On the other hand, I don’t feel guilty because:

  • What I aborted was not even an autonomous being yet. At eight weeks it was just a mass of cells without lungs to breathe, a brain to think, or eyes to see!
  • I shouldn’t blame myself for parents not being unable to conceive. Perhaps I will serve as a surrogate or donate eggs in the future to help those who can’t have children.
  • The option to have a safe abortion was there, so I took advantage of it. I petition to make medical and surgical abortions available, as well as donate to local and national abortion providers. I aim to volunteer more with these providers and use my experiences to help others.
  • I would probably feel even more guilty giving a child up for adoption, relinquishing all my responsibility for them and enabling them to be absorbed into the foster care system and possibly have a terrible life.

Friends who were pregnant when I was and continued their pregnancies now have 6-month-old kids. It’s still odd to think that could be my kid, curly or straight hair, brown or blue eyes like theirs, perhaps speaking its first words. At the end of the day, when my friends-cum-parents are up all night trying to calm their sleepless babes, the only thing I’m truly guilty of is making the right decision for myself.

I wish the stigma surrounding abortion were removed, and safe abortion options were readily available and affordable for all. Weigh your options and make the best choice for you. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help with pre- and post-abortion emotions.

Be kind to yourself (as the first link below advocates!).

Additional resources on post-abortion emotions:
Positive experience:
Women’s Health Options, Emotional Support
Early Options, Guilty
The Telegraph, More than 95 per cent of women don’t regret their abortions
Mic, 90% Of Women Feel Relieved After Abortion
BBC News, From relief to regret: Readers’ experiences of abortion

Negative experience:
Weebly Tatt Words (these are quite ridiculous)
OMG there’s sad Pinterest quotes!
Women Who’ve Had Abortions
LiveAction, 8 heartbreaking quotes from post-abortive women

Phantom Emb(ryo)

Again, it has been many moons since the last post, as my motivation to write and desire to document my pregnancy experiences are equally low. Halloween and my would-have-been due date are just around the corner, so it’s only appropriate to tell a (gestational) ghost story.

Eight months in and I would be about ready to burst, What to Expect When You’re Expecting expectedly paged, nursery (if I had one) predictably painted, and diapers stocked for Armageddon in an ideal, prepared parent’s world. Instead of a pineapple-sized fetus living in my womb, my stomach has become home to all the delicious pineapple devoured this summer.

Mine is a vaguely flat tummy, a little flabby and cuddled by love handles as it’s always been, but lately I’ve felt a foreign emptiness there when I see pregnant colleagues all round and full, bellies as big as mine would be. I admire how their unborn babies unapologetically take up space, how their mothers wield new bodies like precious weapons. When they pass in hallways or hold office baby showers, my hand flies to my stomach without thought. Nothing is there.

I had the abortion long before the embryo became a fetus with feisty legs, so I didn’t experience the kicks common in later trimesters. But seeing other pregnant people induces within me odd reactions; a flutter of butterflies tries to mimic the quickening of a fetus’s limbsthe fetus a phantom limb itself. I don’t feel stress, anxiety, or depression as many others who have had abortions do (referred to as Post Abortion Stress Syndrome/PASS to be discussed later), but I just feel strange, dissociated, as if I’ve been cast in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

But I do feel relieved more than anything. That could be me.

Speaking of strange physical phenomena, there’s also phantom pregnancy or pseudocyesis, when one experiences symptoms of pregnancy without actually being pregnant. And sympathetic pregnancy or Couvade syndrome, when the expectant person’s partner experiences similar pregnancy symptoms.

The body is a weird, wonderful, worrisome thing.

Do you have similar experiences or other weird pregnancy stories? Share them below, if you wish.

Time for more pineapple!

Some resources on weird pregnancy things
(I am not a doctor, so these are not meant to be prescriptive!!):
Pseudocyesis and Couvade syndrome
BabyMed, “What Is a Phantom or False Pregnancy – Pseudocyesis”
ParentingDad’s Pregnancy Symptoms: More Than Just Sympathy Pain?”
The Independent, “Couvade Syndrome”

Quickening
The Atlantic, Abortion in American History” 
Slate, He Took It Into His Head to Frisk a Little’”
Mirror, I FELT BABY KICK 10 WKS AFTER MY ABORTION”  

 

Abortion from Abstinence

In an ironic plot twist, I found myself pregnant shortly after posting February’s piece on celibacy.

If you know me at all, you know that I had an abortion, that it wasn’t so much a choice than an imperative. (Though I’m immensely thankful to even have the privilege to choose an alternative, especially one that is safe.) Gal pals and I would have conversations about reproductive rights back in college, mostly joke about being pregnant when a period was a little late because it was some freak Final Destinationesque accident that couldn’t happen to us.

But what we didn’t want to conceive ofconceptionisn’t as implausible as we thought.

I’m now 24, and no more prepared for parenthood. To think I was somehow immune from encountering that embryonic actuality is absurd beyond Camus: I’ve never been on the pill, have had unprotected sex with a couple partners more than a wombful of times, have taken Plan B (or its off-brand equivalent) twice.

I don’t even want children—or at least not yet. Other than mothering a beloved late feline friend, I honestly don’t know if I have a maternal bone in my body. I don’t remember when I last held a human infant, or if I ever had.

This Mother’s Day I’m especially grateful for my maternal figures and friends my age who have had one, two, more kids. How do you do it?! You are amazing!

And also grateful that I’m not yet a mother; I would be about 5 months in at this point, baby the size of a banana (according to this meticulous and a little ridiculous mapping of a human fetus compared to edible items).

In support of #shoutyourabortion, the next few posts in the series “(Un)Planned (Un)Parenthood” will be about my experiences with abortion, addressing topics including personal guilt/shame, privilege, and bodily autonomy.

Thanks for always being here for me. I’m here for you.