First of all, thanks to Emily for the opportunity to guest host while she takes some well-deserved time off. I’ve been reading After Abortion for about 4 months now, after I got involved with Silent No More Awareness. I live in Washington state, which has got to rank up there with California and New York in terms of both political and popular support for abortion. Though I do wonder how deep the support for abortion would be if people understood the true nature of abortion and the media did some better reporting on the abortion industry and covered post-abortion issues.
Most of my friends and family are pro-choice. I suppose that part of the reason I got involved in Silent No More was to try and gain some more pro-life friends. So much of what I was reading about abortion and post-abortion stress; the depression and nightmares, the infertility, the eating disorders, the grief was a tragedy happening right now but no one wanted to discuss it.
Looking back I can see that my life kept “bumping up” against abortion. I remember being taught about the different abortion procedures in, I think it was, 4th or 5th grade CCD class in the mid-1970s. (I wonder if the Catholic Church still has that in their curriculum.) Hearing about that was enough to convince me that abortion was not a good thing. About that time, maybe a few years later, my mom told me about my cousin who was getting married because she was pregnant. My comment was an honest inquiry, “Why doesn’t she get an abortion?” My mom explained that she was Catholic and that was against the Catholic Church. To which I responded, “Well, she was having sex and she wasn’t married and that’s against the Catholic Church.” I think my mom struggled for a few minutes to explain it to me but in the end I knew Catholic Church was on to something.
I got older and politics and “what the cool people think” began to seep into my brain. I remember 10th grade and Ronald Regan was running for president. I debated with a friend about abortion and by that time was ambivalent about the Church. I came down aggressively on the pro-choice side. The arguments in favor of abortion were everywhere: media, parents’ friends, books, relatives. The pro-choice arguments were so easy, they were on the tip of my tongue. I don’t think I had the language or the vocabulary to take the other side. Besides, being pro-life was not very cool. However, I still remember the nagging voice in my head telling me I was wrong.
Then to college where a bunk mate in the sorority told me about her high school abortion. I don’t recall the specifics of the conversation but remember it distressed me and I still worry that I was uncompassionate. While living in Washington DC, a friend’s girlfriend found herself pregnant. I just remember how angry and insistent he was that she get an abortion. I didn’t think of it as coercion at the time. He paid for part or all of it. I didn’t know her and I don’t remember doing anything to try and convince him otherwise. It was her second abortion and the relationship fell apart after that. Later back in Seattle a co-worker told me about her sad abortion before she was married.
But the worst experience was having a very, very close friend tell me with tears in her eyes about her abortion while we were living in different cities. “Why didn’t you call me? I would have helped you”, I cried. She told me she thought I hated her. Hearing that didn’t feel so good.
To be continued…