I Won’t Be Telling An Abortion Story Because It’s Nobody’s Business And That’s The Point
I’ve seen several articles over the past few days that involve women sharing their abortion stories. I think anything that happens in your life is your story to tell – and I support women who feel compelled to share their stories. I do have to admit that I never find these stories “empowering.” Here’s why.
It’s no one’s business.
I know many believe it is more empowering to be vocal about our decisions – that somehow shouting our decisions from the mountaintops will make us less alone. Maybe these public declarations will work to remove some of the guilt and shame attached to the word. While I understand the opinion – I’m not sure that it’s one that I fully support.
New York Magazine ran piece this week, 26 Women Share Their Abortion Stories. I should have been empowered or comforted by it I guess – like so many other feminists I respect – but it just made me feel a little angry.
“…even in doggedly liberal parts of the country, very few people talk openly about the experience, leaving the reality of abortion, and the emotions that accompany it, a silent witness in our political discourse. Even now, four decades after Roe, some of the women we spoke with would talk only if we didn’t print their real names.
“There’s no room,” one woman told us, “to talk about being unsure.”
Every time I read one of these personal anecdotes – there’s a part of me that wonders why we have to share these deeply personal stories. Not because I’m against choice – because I’m not. Quite the opposite, actually. I’m feverishly pro-choice. I just hate what inevitably happens with these personal declarations of women. I feel that ultimately, they are dissected for motivation. Who are we explaining ourselves to and why?
After I read the stories, I couldn’t help but feel the majority of the women were wildly unsupported and alone. Is telling our stories going to fix that? Nearly 300 comments – with even self-described “pro-choice” people passing judgement – says “no.” Here is a sampling of some of them:
The story of the woman who booked a trip to Spain right after is chilling. You love your husband and have plenty of money but just didn’t “envision having more”?? Really? That’s your reason? Disgusting. I’m pro choice by the way.
I have been pro-choice for decades. After having a child I have felt less and less pro-choice. I understand that some people have very few good options, but I also now understand that a pregnancy at some point becomes more than just a clump of cells. I have to say this article really made me re-think my pro-choice stance. Most of these stories are disturbing and quite frankly not very sympathetic.
If a woman expresses remorse over her choice – it’s inevitably taken as an indication that abortion is wrong and tears women up inside. If she doesn’t – she’s considered flippant. Is there any way that one of these declarations can just be read – without being totally analyzed until some “reason” is found?
Oh. She was young.
Oh. Her boyfriend was unsupportive.
Oh. She was cheating on her husband.
Oh. She was alone.
Oh. She’s dead inside.
An abortion isn’t an identity – it’s a medical procedure. I don’t think a woman needs to “own up to it,” anymore than she needs to confess to having a root canal.
Should I write my story – if I have one? What is the reader looking for? Some idea that a piece of myself is shattered? An undertone of regret? An empowering nonchalance? What exactly are we trying to find in these confessions?
Have I had an abortion? None of your fucking business.