We wrote on Monday about the New York Times piece on post-abortion counseling and crisis pregnancy care in the church and various reactions to that article.
One blogger who
responded was Jill at Feministe.
I was looking at the comments to Jill's post this morning and saw this:
I had an abortion in November, after tests told us that the fetus had severe chromosome abnormalities, and since then, I’ve had a terrible time getting any distance from the “abortion debate.” I just can’t imagine how anyone, anywhere could say that they knew better than I did, that they should be able to make this decision for me, even though I would be the one to eithe rmiscarry in my last trimester or give birth to a child that would live a short, pain-filled life. It’s affected me greatly, yet all the places I’ve found to talk about how an abortion affects a woman are places that insist I feel huge amounts of guilt. I was even asked to leave a forum because I obviously didn’t need support, since I didn’t feel guilty for having an abortion. Those crisis pregnancy centers are a hell of a racket, as is the whole “post abortion syndrome” runaround.This woman experienced the tragic death of a wanted child, and I'm confused about what she is looking for. She says that she has gone to places so she could talk about how an abortion affects a woman. There aren't very many. The ones she went to, from her description, insisted that she feel huge amounts of guilt. I wonder what groups she talked with? I don't think I would say anything along those lines, and it seems uncharacteristic of others I know in this field.
If she had called me, and said as she does here that she "doesn't need support" and also that her abortion "affected me greatly", I wouldn't know where to go with that. I'd ask questions. Typically, I would ask open-ended questions like "when you say you've been affected greatly, can you describe some of the feelings you're having?"
In fact, that's a question I ask a lot and pretty often, the person is having a bundle of different emotions and may not know where to start. Or a person might fear that if they name one emotion, I'll assume that's the only emotion they have and get stuck on that.
I do, by the way, have women call me and inquire about entering into my ministry who will simultaneously say that their abortion did not affect them. When I say, "Can you tell me more about what you hope to get out of this?", it can be hard for them to respond.
I take from all of this that the bundle of responses a woman has after an abortion can be incredibly complicated, so much so that she may feel like she doesn't really know how she is feeling or reacting to it. That's a tough place to be in, since it can even feel like you don't have a core self, when the core self is so perplexed!
I also have had women insist to me that they do not have a particular feeling. For example, a woman might say that she feels intense guilt and shame, but no anger. "No anger?" I might repeat, thinking of what she may have already told me about her boyfriend threatening to leave her if she didn't abort. "Nope, none." Or a woman may say that the only emotion she has is anger at someone, and later on, may realize that she also has a different and worse sense about herself since the abortion.
Anyway, I wish that this commenter had told us which forum she attended where she was asked to leave.
Does she have an agenda? When she talks about "the whole 'post-abortion syndrome' run-around", it sounds like that is coming from an agenda. I'm glad for her that she is not having a negative reaction to the tragic death of her child, I wonder in what ways this has greatly affected her, and I wonder what she expected to happen when she attended that forum or called other places to talk about her abortion.
But it bothers me that in the midst of her pain (or whatever she means when she says that she was affected greatly), she is so quick to invalidate the feelings of others.