"After the Decision"- a short video documentary
Reuters published this photo/audio essay by Allison Joyce a few months ago. I just found it by accident now.
In this summary, Joyce explains how she "was surprised when I started talking openly with my friends and colleagues about abortion how many of them had had one themselves. I hadn’t known that 40 percent of American women will have an abortion during their lifetimes."
I agree with her that "it shouldn’t be a shameful secret." And I also agree that none of them made their decision lightly (even if one admits to making it so quickly after being told by the father she had to abort).
I disagree with the photojournalist in what appears to be her conclusion, that "All of them felt that they were not ready to be mothers and that if they were to have a child, it would not have a happy life and they wouldn’t have been able to provide them with the love or opportunities they felt a child deserved."
The latter half of that statement may have been true, but in many of these women's own words, it wasn't that they were not ready to be mothers, but that they had no support from the father, no family, no friends, no money, no home (being tossed out by their own parent or on the verge of divorce), or in one case, she believed the father would take full custody and never let her see her child again.
The sad facts are that there are tons of places and people who could have, would have, still will, help such women, without any payment in return (see the links in our heading links and sidebar at right), and also that those of us who've come to regret our abortions are in fact shamed into keeping that secret.
These women, and far too many others like them, either didn't know of such available help, or didn't feel it was an option for them. We just don't know.
It's clear from their faces, though, that if they'd known of the other way out, they'd have preferred it.
Their words too: "I couldn't get past the hate that came out of his mouth"..."I hated myself for it, I hated myself for it"..."I cried a lot"..."It's 5 years later now...it's something I still think about every day...it changes you."
I just wish I knew why our society can't work on helping women access that other way out? I myself was adopted and I thank my birth mother, though I've never met or known her, for making that choice. I can't help but wonder if these five women would have been happy if they could have known that their children at least could have been adopted by someone who was "able to provide them with the love or opportunities they felt a child deserved"? In the end, couldn't that be the better choice our society makes so publicly known and available to women, so no one suffers-- woman OR child?