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.