From the Kaiser Network's daily briefing, NPR Series Examines Internal Debates:
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Tuesday examined the internal debates among abortion-rights supporters, who are wondering how and whether they should reframe their argument to "recapture the political high ground that's now firmly occupied" by abortion-rights opponents. According to William Saletan, a Slate national correspondent and author of "Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War," the abortion-rights movement seems to ignore the moral ambiguities surrounding the procedure and needs to focus more on decreasing the number of abortions by reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies in order to end the debate over Roe. Katha Pollitt, author of the "Subject to Debate" column in The Nation, said that there are cases in which abortion is not a bad decision and "saying abortion is bad" places a moral burden on women who choose to undergo the procedure. The NPR segment also includes comments from Aspen Baker, co-founder of Exhale, a post-abortion counseling service for women of all cultural, social and religious beliefs, and Amy Hagstrom-Miller, CEO of Whole Woman's Health Clinics in Texas and chair of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers(Rovner, "Morning Edition," NPR, 3/14). A transcript of the second segment is available online. Audio of the second segment in the series is available online in RealPlayer.The clip from NPR has this excerpt:
Some women who've had abortions are already having that discussion. They're using a post-abortion counseling service based in Oakland, Calif., called Exhale. It was founded by Aspen Baker, who was surprised at the lack of support available after she had an abortion seven years ago.Aspen should know this, but evidently doesn't: what this case illustrates is traumatic re-enactment. Since Aspen doesn't grasp that, she's not in a position to help this woman, even though she is holding herself out as an authority in this area. I doubt that when this woman reached out for help, she intended to have her story used as spin by Aspen Baker on NPR.
"When I went looking myself, I found a lot of post-abortion counseling groups that came from a really religious perspective and from a perspective that abortion was the wrong decision," Baker says. "And I didn't feel like it was the wrong decision, but I did feel like it was hard for me."
So Baker founded the helpline, which identifies itself as neither pro-choice nor pro-life. She says that women's reactions to abortion don't necessarily follow their general beliefs.
"We hear from people that are pro-life and believe abortion should be legal and have had three of them, and think it's killing a baby and are going to get another one tomorrow," Baker says.
And at the same time, she says, women who support abortion rights should be able to express sadness without being labeled as betraying a cause.That's why I think it's important to clarify that the public policy debate is driven by the moral status of the baby, not whether (or not) the mom understands or regrets what happened during the abortion.
"People have regretted certain relationships or intimate partners or husbands or wives. And no one's working to make marriage illegal."