an After abortion

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Thursday, June 3, 2004

Abortion Clinic Days is a weblog written by two people who work in abortion clinics.

These two writers vividly project their unwavering belief that their counseling techniques--the way they help a woman decide whether abortion is best for her or whether she is "ready" for an abortion--are perfect. I believe that they are under the impression that they never fail to appropriately discern the right decision for the woman.

In Two Perfect Women, the abortion counselors write about a Catholic college student:

"She herself did not feel ready for parenting, she could not bear the thought of adoption because the child would always wonder why his/her mother didn't want her. that, she said, was as important as the total inability to even imagine telling her parents because she could not bear to disappoint them. and, like many young perfectionist women who are struggling with anorexia. the stress of having to deal with the pregnancy was pushing her backwards and she confessed that she had been unable to eat and knew it was not good for the baby or herself. but still, what she was having the most trouble with was that she had had sex."

This young Catholic woman has at least one known risk factor for an adverse emotional reaction to her abortion--namely, the pre-existing emotional disorder manifesting itself in anorexia. Even without that research-based knowledge, come on...a woman who feels guilty about having sex isn't going to feel considerably worse about an abortion?

The picture painted about this young woman is that she experiences herself as being emotionally fragile. She couldn't "bear the thought" of adoption. She has "the total inability to even imagine telling her parents" because she "couldn't bear" to disappoint them.

In real counseling, real therapists encounter fears like this every day. Clients routinely express enormous fears about why they can't speak up for themselves to their spouses, their bosses, their pushy friends. These fears feel disabling. The clients experience themselves as weak people who can't tolerate any discomfort that might be caused by the anger or rejection of others.

What do real therapists do when clients manifest such fears? Do they say, "You know. You're right. You are weak. Emotionally fragile. You would fall apart if your parents were disappointed. You wouldn't be able to tolerate living with the knowledge that a child of yours was being raised by a loving couple who were ready to parent."

No. Real therapists don't do that because it cements in the head of the client that they in fact are weak, fragile, will-o-the-wisps at the mercy of transient feelings--their own and others.

In Roe v. Wade this abortion worker writes:

Last year [on the January anniversary of Roe v Wade], my picture was on the front page and the opposite picture was this teenager with her mother in the newly painted nursery. She was expectant and happy. Somehow the implication is that I wanted her to have an abortion and she was defying convention and keeping her baby according to her beliefs. Hey, I am thrilled her mother is there for her --and I hope she truly was "there" for her--listening, not judging, not trying to decide for her, not manipulating her.

But, really, I don't want a certain outcome-- we have plenty of women who want abortions to keep us in business for a long time.

Does that mean that if this abortion worker didn't have a profitably long line of other women wanting abortions, this abortion worker would want a certain outcome? Evidently so. Evidently, the money question does cross this abortion worker's mind when looking at pictures in the newspaper of teenage moms who kept their child.

And that's not all that crosses this abortion worker's mind:

You know, if I were a different kind of person, I would keep track of that name and wait for her to come in.

If you think about writing her name down--the name of a young woman whose only offense against you is that she is happy nestling her lovely baby in her arms--but you don't actually write the name down, that makes you "a different kind of person"?

Mm. I don't think so. I think it makes you the same kind of person.

This weblog helps me understand why a snort of derision is the most common reaction women have when I ask what kind of counseling they got at the abortion clinic.

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