Random Blog A Musing Farf

Monday, January 22, 2007


Forrest Gump only had it partially right. Life is like a box of chocolates, but it’s not true that you never know what you are going to get. You can keep poking the middle until you get the one you like. You have a choice in almost everything and the decision whether to have a child is no different.

Today is Blog for Choice Day, which works out well since I am completely incensed at an article in this week’s New York Times Magazine about so-called Post Abortion Trauma. The story features a woman named Rhonda Arias who spends Saturdays “helping women at the prison who have had abortions to understand how that procedure has stained them, and how it explains what has gone wrong in their lives.”

I am vehemently pro-choice. I think abortion should be not only legal but also readily available to a woman of any age and economic means. But I do more than just believe this. I put my beliefs into action and, with the help of Suzanne and a network of almost 100 volunteers, I run Haven Coalition. As many readers of this blog know, Haven provides women forced to travel to New York City to obtain a second trimester abortion with a safe place to sleep, transportation to and from the clinic, and a meal.

But, despite this, and unlike some of my fellow pro-choice activists, I can respect the sincerely-held opinions of anti-choice folks who truly believe that abortion is murder. Well, I respect them when their activities include things like expanding education for economically disadvantaged teens and teaching birth control.

The people who really make me mad, who really make my blood boil, are the ones like Ms. Arias in the New York Magazine story. Women who have had abortions and now regret the choice they made so they work to deprive everyone else of the same options.

Read - if you can stomach it – the except below:

[A]fter the [abortion in 1973], Arias says, strange feelings washed over her. “I remember having evil thoughts, about hurting children,” she said. “It was like I’d done the worst thing I could possibly do. A piece of evil had entered

In 1983, Arias became pregnant again and planned to keep the baby. But in the fourth month, she says, she became scared about raising a child alone. She called her obstetrician. He scheduled her for a second-trimester saline abortion the following morning. Arias said she woke up from the anesthesia to the certain knowledge that she had killed her child.

Because of this knowledge, she is now equally certain, she slipped into years of depression, drinking and freebasing cocaine… In her mind, all of her troubles — the drugs, the suicide attempt, the third and fourth abortions she went on to have, the wrestling match of a marriage she eventually entered — are the aftermath of her own original sin, the 1973 abortion. It’s a pattern she sees reflected everywhere: “In America we have a big drug problem, and we don’t realize it’s because of abortion.”

So let me understand: Ms. Arias has an abortion regretted it and then went on to have 3 more abortions? And, after the 4th abortion she realized what she was doing was wrong and now wants to keep other women from making the same mistake? Is she kidding???? How about a little introspection?

I do not deny that some people may regret their abortions. But, I see it more as a reflection of a culture that does not understand the there are some people who will always regret the choices they make – and, if abortion were more accessible and people were given better access to information, some of those people could have made informed decisions about whether or not to have a child.

Now, as the article points out, “[a]bortion-recovery counselors like Arias could focus on why women don’t have the material or social support they need to continue pregnancies they might not want to end. They could call for improving the circumstances of women’s lives in order to reduce the number of abortions. Instead they are working to change laws to restrict and ban abortion.” And, in restricting a choice from others, that they themselves were free to exercise, people like Ms. Arias prey on the most vulnerable members of society and make them believe that all of their issues stem from having an abortion. If Ms. Arias felt so bad about the first abortion, why did she go on to have 3 more? If she really wants to help incarcerated women, why doesn’t she focus on job skills and re-entry into society?

And, for all the people who may have regretted their decision (whether it was true regret or one foisted on them by “helpful” people such as Ms. Arias, there are also many people who are not sorry. Check out their stories at http://imnotsorry.net.

And in the end, I am pro-choice because there should always be a choice. Regret your abortion and need counseling? Fine. Celebrate your abortion and the new lease on life it gave you? Even better.


QueenieBadd said...

Wow. That one pisses me off too. Abortion is a complicated decision, and I would assume somebody could have one and regret it, while still knowing it was the right decision.

That's an interesting strategy too, to blame all one's crazy on the multiple abortions one had. I'm surprised that New York Magazine gave her so much time. A shame.

Chicago Friend said...

My question for Ms Arias is, have you ever thought of using birth control??? If you don't want to be pregnant and you think abortions are wrong, take some steps to avoid the pregnancy in the first place. If she wants to help other women avoid her fate, help them avoid becoming pregnant in the 1st place, don't limit their options once they do become pregnant!!!


Peg said...

In the NYT Mag you linked in, I couldn't get past the first page without seeing the following,

"The Catholic Church runs abortion-recovery ministries in at least 165 dioceses in the United States."

*snort* Yup, and they also ran many, many 'homes for unwed mothers' prior to Roe v. Wade, and the results weren't especially spectacular. My mother was a victim of that set-up...and the lifelong guilt that went along with it.

I'm very impressed the Haven Coalition and the work you all do there to help other women. You know, Sara, you may not be able to help in Darfur...but you're helping closer to home, in a very real and meaningful way.


Suzanne said...

I saw the cover on Sunday and immediately became enraged. I didn't even bother reading the story; I just went right to the crossword puzzle. I finished it to spite the contents of the rest of the magazine.

Anyway, I am so happy to be organizing Haven with you! If we can't do anything to help womenin their hometowns, we make damn good partners in making sure they have some place safe here. Haven not only saves the lives of women, but has forged some amazing friendships! Now I am getting all choked up...

BROTHER said...

miami plays their biggest rival in basketball and hockey on the same day, and wins both games. sigh, only you would look passed something so important to blog about this.

Pull Up A Chair said...

I only wish that Barbara Bush had taken advantage of abortion. The world would be a bit safer.