an After abortion

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Yesterday's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel carried two articles on subjects dear to our hearts: Remembering the unknown; some say memorial provides comfort, others call it offensive and Group aims to help women heal after having abortions; archdiocesan program started 21 years ago.

In each article, a NARAL spokeswoman is quoted. In the article about memorials for aborted babies:

Kelda Helen Roys, executive director of Madison-based NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, said she dislikes memorials like the one in Hartford.

"They're another way to shame women who have had abortions and to marginalize them. For many women, it's quite offensive and quite presumptuous," she said.
That's an overreaction, it seems to me. The memorials are there for women who believe that when they had an abortion, their child died. If I want to honor my child this way, why is that presumptuous and offensive to other women who don't feel at all the same way about what happened when they had an abortion? To feel offended and presumed upon by some women paying to have their chid's name inscribed on a memorial stone, while at the same time not having any sense of offense at the tragedy of the abortion itself is an upside-down way of looking at things.

and in the article about Project Rachel:

Kelda Helen Roys, executive director of Madison-based NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, an abortion-rights group, said she finds groups like Project Rachel "very troubling" and accused them of exploiting women for political gain.

"These groups thrive on getting women to say they regret their abortion, and then they exploit them and shame others who do not regret having an abortion," she said.
Since Roys uses the word "shame" in both quotes, I deduce that she has some significant evidence to support her belief that women who wouldn't otherwise feel any sense of regret or shame about prior abortions do feel shame when they hear other women speak of their regrets, and when this happens, the feeling of shame is strong enough to cause considerable discomfort as well as (apparently) agonized phone calls among NARAL supporters.

In other words, it appears that Kelda Helen Roys thinks that it is easy to emotionally manipulate women. It's easy for groups like Project Rachel to manipulate some women into believing that they regret their abortions, and it's easy to cause shame in women who have had abortions when other women who regret their abortions mention this fact in public.

NARAL takes the opposite view about pregnant women who walk into abortion clinics. When it comes to those women, NARAL believes that they have all carefully considered their choice in advance, have not been emotionally manipulated by anyone, and would receive no benefit from 24-hour-waiting periods or a screening to determine whether emotional coercion has influenced their decision.

Pregnant 18-year-olds, according to NARAL, are strong, free, rational decision-makers. They would not benefit from additional information or screening.

However, in an unusual metamorphosis, apparently when those women are older, they turn into women who are quite easy to emotionally manipulate. All one has to do to cause these 40-year-old women to experience a sense of shame is to speak with regret in public about one's own abortion.

Project Rachel foundress Vicki Thorn is also quoted:

Thorn disagreed, saying post-abortion services like Project Rachel create a middle ground in the abortion debate.

"The fact is that abortion exists in our culture. But we aren't really caring for women or helping them move forward by pretending that abortion doesn't have an effect," she said.

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