Please, let's agree not to try to grill these women.
Yes. most regulars will know I'm pro-life. But even if I disagree with the guests' conclusions, I would like to set an example and offer a tone of compassion and respect.
I appreciate anyone who will publicly share her experience. In keeping, let me offer a blessing for each of them and all those other women who have gone through this:
find peace filling your heart,
recognize that you are valuable too,
discover freedom from any burden you carry,
and know the One who loves you completely.
Emily, Dave, and the TOL crew:
You have outdone yourselves with the show today; I consider it not only the best TOL to date, but also the most complete on-air discussion on this topic that I've heard on NPR (imHo, of course).
Shelley, Angi, and Jacqueline:
Thank you all for coming on and sharing so openly and honestly. I, for one, am glad that each of you came and participated.
I gotta agree with tpohara's comments.
On a side note, I think it would be interesting to have a show on children of teen parents. I think their perspective on abortion, teen pregnancy, etc., would be a great conversation topic and might lead to some insight that most people never think about. My mom was 13 when she became pregnant with me, and it has shaped my views on abortion, teen pregnancy, teen parenting, social services, etc. Just a thought.
I've added that one to the list of ideas of the "As We Are" series. Thanks!
It should be clear from the outset that personal anecdotes, while informative on an emotional level, have little (or no) relation to the issue of abortion. I have a friend who felt terrible after her abortion and still does, I know several others who had opposite experiences.
Oh, and, I request you don't use special treatment with your guests for this show. I think you are "respectful" in general. I can't imagine why anyone who is anti-abortion, would want to show respect to alleged 'murderers,' how ironic! It makes you wonder if the anti-abortion camp actually thinks abortion is murder. If they don't think it is murder then what is it? It sounds like the philosophical grounds of their arguments, aren't exactly what they preach.
I would agree that Emily and Dave are generally respectful. Some of us are not, both the phone in side and here online...
Women who have been through this, who are willing to risk sharing honestly, deserve to do so without any of us in this community railing at them. I want to hear what they have to say, both the ones who are the natural audience of this socially liberal station (I think Emily and Dave do a good job at being even handed, but most of the daily NPR shows at best barely pretend at balance) and those whom the TOL staff might invite who are now pro-life (who might already consider this to be a hostile environment). I don?t think a request that we be respectful to be a contradiction, even when we disagree with their interpretations.
The other part you misrepresent here is that most of the folks I know who are pro-life (myself included) consider the woman to be a victim also. Of course, that doesn?t fit with the above expressed world view and we both know it?s not worth my time here to try to convince you or anyone else of that reality. Perhaps that's why some might not understand my plea for compassion from all of us (even those few who might be tempted to scream at them as you presume all on the pro-life side might).
But lets be blunt: should I understand that someone who is crusading again wouldn?t consider making a post-abortion pro-life woman (or even one who admits to uncertainty) feel unwelcome here as has been done to others who fall afoul of the same rather cynical sounding crusading? Is that where this is heading? I must admit that I do hope not. Not much of a community when we can?t even listen to those with whom we disagree...
How and why are women who have abortions victims?
Yes, I would expect you to attack verbally and physically, individuals who (I assume) you claim, are murdering their children. Or are you not claiming this?
Respect is a superficial smoke screen. It seems absurd you are proposing respect for people you allege are murderers. Do you extend this respect to all murderers? I don't get the logic. It's simply a superficial ploy to seem agreeable and politely trite---it's marketing. If I truly thought someone murdered their child I wouldn't be advocating respect. If a pedophile came on the show would you also ask for respect? This all can't work both ways---and certainly not within the boundaries of the general beliefs of the anti-abortion camp.
Scott, You are correct in that most PLers believe that abortion is murder. But even though we recognize this, our laws and society do not. Women going in for abortion usually don't believe they are killing their children....until later.
I do believe that I deserve prison time for the abortions I had, but the law does not reflect this. I do volunteer now in our prison system. :-)
So, now you propose I listen to the advice of a murderer. Do you stay away from playgrounds and children? I hope you don't have children! It would take some real gumption if you did. If you are indeed a murderer you don't have much moral authority and I hope you don't live in my neighborhood.
If abortion is murder, then folks who are anti-abortion should be using violence to stop the murder. Don't they have a moral obligation to do so?
Prison time? May be a psychiatrist would be a better avenue for you to work out your gilt? How incredibly sad. My heart goes out to you and other woman who are so lost in guilt. Good luck to you and I hope you reach out for help.
Abortion is an emotional subject that is very hard to look at objectively. The reality is we need to look at this from the point of what is best for the common good, not moral policing. Disagreeing with a legal medical procedure does not make it wrong; it makes it a procedure you would opt not to have just as some people don't believe in blood transfusions.
I chose to have an abortion while in my early 20's, single and living the baby boomer lifestyle partying and practicing casual and unprotected sex. I do not regret my decision! I would choose, if I had no other means of contraception, to do the same.
I strongly feel that half of the responsibility of pregnancy is being denied. In my opinion, men are being taken out of the equation and the responsibility of contraception in all forms is being placed squarely on women.
Thirty years ago I traveled about 300 miles from the rural area where I lived to a large city where abortion was readily available. I was married with two children, one of whom was facing serious health problems. I'd been faithfully using mechanical birth during while breast feeding my younger child. I knew I could not handle either the pregnancy itself or do justice to my two existing children with another one.
I knew it was the right decision at the time and have never had any regrets.
I wish I had been able to get this procedure locally, but at least it was safe and legal.
Very few people know about this. It would be better if more women talked openly about having had abortions, but knowing that some folks will consider you a murderer leads to silence on the topic.
An additional problem I have not seen addressed is that medical forms for women ask how many abortions you have had. If you are honest everyone in that office knows and those who believe abortion is murder must see you as a monster. When I learned that my family care provider believed abortion was wrong, I wrestled with what to do about that. Eventually I transferred to another doctor. We never discussed this long past abortion but just knowing he felt that way created a communication barrier for me.
I'm not a woman (99% sure) but I want to mention what for me is a CRUCIAL point in the abortion debate, and one that I never hear discussed. I first learned about this back in college during a Philosophy and Ethics class where we broke down the arguments of both sides with respect to weighty moral issues. With the abortion issue we inevitably talked about the moment of conception, and how most of those opposing abortion view conception as the moment when babies acquire the right to life, and when our souls are in effect "birthed". I also learned that after conception a surprisingly large percentage of pregnancies are spontaneously (or naturally) aborted, and this is also called miscarriage. This is a completely natural process, completely independent of human action and often without even the knowledge of the pregnant woman. The only only one that can take any responsibility for that one is God, right? Does this mean that God is planting souls in babies after conception, and then snuffing them out, or does this mean that the right to life is not as straightforward as pro-lifers would like to think? If you believe (as John McCain and Sarah Palin do) that life absolutely begins at conception and that abortion is murder, then it also means we have a rather murderous God.....(for those with the traditional view of an omnipotent God).
It means that we need to trust that God's way is the best way, and God's way is not our way. And we have to belive that all things WILL work together for good, regardless of what we think.
I THINK: The abortion debate and being anti-abortion, is a cause celebre for many. I think we have all fallen in love with it. 'It' being the topic itself. For many it is a way to define how they are different. A look at me---I am not like you. It is a symbol of their religion. It is a symbol of how they are morally superior to others.
I think many of the religious anti-abortion group, wouldn't know what to do with themselves, if there was no such thing as abortion. They would loose so much of their identity. They would become more like everyone else. Something they dread above everything. Feeling morally superior is a powerful tool. It boosts the ego. Current American culture likes being divisive. We all get off on it. We enjoy being bad-ass Americans---more then we know. We want our individuality. And, being anti-abortion (for many) is a way to get it.
I don't deny their beliefs, but I think their actions on this one issue are not commensurate with the reality of the issue itself. If it was just about an alleged life, then all the anti-abortion camp, would be anti-war and anti-capital punishment.
For me, the decision to have an abortion came fairly easy. I didn't give it a lot of thought and no one helped me to. My biggest concern was not embarrasing my parents. I was only 16 years old at the time. I went to a free clinic and was told I could get an abortion without my parents knowing about it. It's ironic that a few months before, I tried to get birth control pills at the same place but was told I would have to have my parent's permission. Although I was young, I realized that I could die having an abortion and I wouldn't lie. I told my mom and she asked me what I wanted to do. My reply was, "Have an abortion." I had the abortion 2 days later.
For years I never thought about it again. It wasn't until 7 years later when I was married and expecting my first child. Then it hit me what I had done. Now I was being shown what the baby looked like inside of me and I could hear his heartbeat. Although the lady at the free clinic told me it was just a "blob of tissue" I now knew otherwise. I was 13 weeks pregnant when I had my abortion.
Now it has been 35 years, and I still think about what my life would be like to have that child in my life. My children are such a joy to me as are my grandchildren. I get sad from time to time. I always remember how old he would have been. It doesn't go away.
There are two things I want to convey. First of all, knowing what I know now, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't do it. My life would have been different but not horrible. I regret my hasty decision.
Secondly, I felt betrayed for not getting all the information to make an "informed" choice. No one talked to me about fetal development or other options. It was as if abortion was the only choice to make. I don't know if it would have changed my mind but I should have been given the information.
Please be nice to those who share on the show. They are basically "coming out of the closet" and that takes a lot of courage. Talking about it really helps with the healing.
I too had an abortion, as an adult. The decision was not hard; the time was not right to bring a person into the world. I do not have any regrets, nor do I mourn the child that could have been. I have two wonderful children who were timed at the right part of my life. They are loved and well provided for and are beginning to contribute to society, because I could give them a good launching. I do not push my beliefs on others, and do not appreciate others who feel that they have to push their beliefs on me. To be polite as a matter of "courtesy" as was mentioned way earlier in this discussion? Hello, why would this be something necessary to state as a goal for all others to also agree to as "rules of discussion" especially for this topic? It sounds so condescending.
I believe that we should all always be polite and respect the right of others to disagree with us and make their own decisions; we should all be free from total strangers who can not walk in our shoes providing interference and passing judgment on others. However, I do not crusade that belief or try to convince others that disagree to let me believe what I do and not push their beliefs on me. (Except for now, anyway). I am grateful to have had the right to make my own choices without others (government and religiously driven) meddling in my personal business, pushing their personal decisions/beliefs on me and interfering with my personal choices. My parents knew and supported my decision. I do mourn the current lessened ability for girls and women of lesser financial means to make their own personal decisions in easily available full service womens health clinics. Their lives are constrained and limited by others who have made it impossible to affordably have full access to all choices within the law. Others who must push their own choices and beliefs on others in the mistaken belief that they have that right and that the world is improved somehow because of their actions.
AS the numbers of children born to women who are not able to be the parent they could be under better circumstances rise, and the rate of poverty rises in this country, I do not see the hoards of pro life believers stepping up to adopt and love those little humans. That would be walking the talk. I am waiting.
Let me be the first to say that no one should any longer be permitted to allude to their moral superiority by calling themselves "pro-life". Admit what you truly are. You are "ANTI-CHOICE". You're not leading a valorous crusade; you are championing a conscious denial of women's human rights. Don't think that a little linguistic spin can alter the vicious, hateful, dangerous line you are toeing. Women have practiced abortion and infanticide since the beginning of time for MANY different reasons. I'll not champion the latter, since we're all playing at civility, but I will NEVER respect/consider/obey the opinion/law of anyone who would treat me as less than an autonomous being with certain INHERENT RIGHTS.
I, personally, have had 2 abortions. I am the first multiple offender to post here. The first time, I was as naive as every woman is the first time she finds out she's pregnant. The same day that I found out, I lost my job, my boyfriend broke up with me, told me that he was married but separated, that he and his wife were getting back together, and that she was coming into town to look at apartments with him. He already had a child and was neglectful and abusive toward her. He was unemployed and broke. I was barely feeding myself and living with a chronic illness. I gave the protesters the finger on my way into the clinic.
In the aftermath, I became extremely depressed. I was regretful. The Planned Parenthood in my area didn't offer any post-abortion counseling, other local clinics said they only offer it for their own patients, and I couldn't afford private care. Gradually, I achieved a sort of fragile recovery. I bought my "daughter" a 1st birthday card, when the time came and sent her father a reminder. Surprisingly, it was my 2nd abortion that helped me find a more lasting peace. I took myself on a vacation abroad, booking my stay at a huge hostel known for its party atmosphere. I know, I know, this is where I start to sound like a huge slut or something. Short version, I spent my time with a man 4 years my junior but otherwise identical to me in every meaningful way. A few weeks later, I was home and feeling sick. I told him as soon as I could reach him. For a strident feminist, I have always done at least that much, tell the truth and ask for the male's opinion. He was a good boy. He told me that he would prefer termination since he was only 20 years old and living on the other side of the world but that he would support my decision. I walked around for a week thinking I would choose otherwise, then I changed my mind. He even sent me money. That's fairly incredible, judging by the stories I've encountered over the years. This experience was so much more pleasant. I wasn't pressured or rushed. I was supported. Having the time to think, having a supportive and patient partner, helped me to feel secure in my decision, and that helped me to feel sure that I had chosen correctly two years before when I wasn't given a chance to so much as think about it.
I could have a 6yo and 3yo right now. I would be an impoverished, welfare mom subsisting on the tax dollars of the "anti-choicers" who constantly lobby to reduce funding for low-income families, subsidized health care, food stamps, emergency housing, etc. I might be happy, and I might not. I wouldn't be where I am now. I wouldn't have the options I do now, and that is what is most important to me. That is not selfish. It is my RIGHT to do what is best for me. It is my RIGHT to look out for my own best interests.
I feel no shame. I DO have a 6yo and 3yo right now. I love them no less because they are not here with me. In caring for other people's children, I do sometimes find myself thinking, "My child would have been exactly this age right now." I speak to them. They are always with me.
I'm not in a relationship now, so you can't get too huffy about my saying that I still don't use birth control religiously. My illness makes hormonal birth control a non-option. I am opposed to iuds for reasons of comfort and the danger of complications when I STILL don't have any health insurance. Prophylactics? Good idea I guess, but it's MY CHOICE. NO BEDROOM POLICE, PLEASE!!!
I believe in vasectomies. Women aren't selfish when we choose not to toy with our body chemistry by ingesting petroleum based pharmaceuticals, not to insert toxic materials INTO our vaginas, not to undergo invasive abdominal surgery. Men are selfish when they think that their perception of their "manhood" is more important than not passing on stds or contributing to unplanned pregnancies which are INHERENTLY MUCH MORE TRAUMATIC FOR THE FEMALE PARTS OF THE EQUATIONS. How many men go to Planned Parenthood every 6 months or even every year for a std/AIDS test? How many say, "Well, my x got tested, so I know I don't have anything?" How many women are infected with cancer causing strains of HPV every year by male partners? How many of them DIE?
We could all go on and on, and I'm sure that we will. I hope I've contributed something useful to the conversation. I won't be back on here, I'm sure, but I'll be listening tomorrow morning. Thanks for the great work, and I would like to laud the objectivity of public broadcasting nationwide. I might hate some of the opinions broadcast, but I do agree with all viewpoints having the right to be heard.
We are NOT trying to shove anit-abortionism down your throat, we are just trying to show you what is right and what is wrong; but ultimately, the choice is yours.
I was 19 years old when I had my abortion. At the time I was in a monogamous relationship and we both agreed that we were not ready to be parents. I knew I couldn?t provide a suitable life for our child because our relationship was volatile, and I was neither mentally nor spiritually ready to be a mother. Ten years later I am now married and my husband and I are enjoying the wonders of parenthood with our newborn son. I do not regret the choice I made and if I had to do it over again, I would make the same decision. I know that it was the right choice and I am thankful to have had the choice to make. I recognize that there are many people that are against abortions for a variety of reasons. I respect their opinions. However, I do not believe that the personal opinions and the regrets of others should hinder another person?s ability to make private choices concerning their body. Our lives are a composition of personal choices that we have to live with; I think that it is imperative that we have the right to choose what will, and will not, happen to our bodies.
Congradulations on your new born child. However, instead of aborting the child, you could have carried on with the pregnancy and given the child up for adoption. At least he/she would have had a chance at life.
Hello, first let me say that I used to be adamantly pro-abortion. I could have told you all the lines: ?It?s MY body?; ?it isn?t a human being if it isn?t viable outside the womb?; ?it is just a blob of cells?. I encouraged a friend to have an abortion (I am so glad she didn?t listen to me).
And then when I was 22, I had an abortion. At first I was relieved and even joked about it. But I kept thinking about it; was it a boy or a girl? What would it have been like to have a baby? About 6 months later I had a major bout of depression over it. Over the years I tried not to think about it, but it popped up in my head over and over, and I can say the only good thing about what I did is that it forced me to reexamine my beliefs. And even though I am a very politically liberal person (I am an environmentalist, I support human rights, I support gay rights, I support legalizing marijuana, etc.), I now part company with most of my friends regarding abortion.
It was not only ?my? body; I created another life that was dependent on my body. It is not a ?blob of cells?, it is a Developing Human Being. As for the ?not human unless viable?, well, there?s a lame argument. Were babies born at 28 weeks say, 75 years ago, (that had no chance of survival), not human, but today, when nearly all babies are viable at that age; what, suddenly they are human? How about babies born at 24 weeks? Some survive and some don?t. Are some of them human and the others not? As medical science advances, the survival rate of very premature babies increases.
About two years ago, a baby was born in Florida (and is still alive & well) after less than 22 weeks in the womb. She was conceived through in-vitro, so they knew the exact date of conception. You can readily get an abortion in America at well past that date. How can that possibly be ?ok?? How can you say that a baby that is 21 weeks and 3 days is just a ?fetus/blob of cells?, and the very next day, when one has survived, it is a human? How absurd.
We have a national schizophrenia here: We spend millions and millions of dollars saving premature babies in this country, because human life is precious and valuable. But then we allow the killing of babies the same age as the premature ones.
Abortions for the ?wrong? sex. We all know what the ?wrong? sex is: It is the one without a penis. How do ?pro-choicers? reconcile selectively killing millions of girls on this planet, because they are girls?
Abortions for disabilities. Should disabled people not be born? Should Stephen Hawkings have been aborted? I read in the newspaper about a woman who herself had been born with an extra finger, and had 2 abortions when ultrasounds revealed the same (easily fixed, non-life-threatening) disability in her in-utero children! Get rid of all deaf people? Blind people? Should anyone less than perfect not be allowed to live? (The Nazis would be so proud of this ?pro-choice? eugenics).
If you support abortion ?rights?, you support the rights of women to have abortions of viable babies, of girls, of the disabled. And that is a fact. If you have had a child and seen ultrasound images of your child, heard your child?s heartbeat while you were pregnant, I ask you: At what point would it have been ?ok? to end your child?s life?
As I stated, I support human rights, and to me the most basic human right is the right to be born.
If you support abortion, I ask you to have the COURAGE to go on-line and look at aborted fetuses. Know what it is you really support, not just an abstract ?I?m a liberal so I support abortion rights?. Know that there is a heartbeat at 3 or 4 weeks, and measurable brain waves at 6 weeks. Take a look! Even take a look at books in the library or on-line that show not aborted fetuses, but just fetal development. Those ?blobs of cells? look pretty human quite early on. I found some good info on fetal development at: pregnancy.org. But there are lots and lots of sites with nice in-utero baby picts. Also interesting?when I was looking up the gestation period of the baby girl in Florida, I came across www.clinicquotes.com/california.htm which has transcripts from court proceedings that include some of the most frank testimonials of ?partial birth? abortions from the doctors who provide them.
Why is an unplanned pregnancy viewed as something so terrible and fearful? Probably half the people you know weren?t ?planned?. So what. Take responsibility for your sexuality and take responsibility for your child. You don?t want a baby? Find a person or couple who shares your values and find a new home for your child. If you would like to keep in touch with your child, arrange an open adoption. I certainly wish I had. I thought I was taking the easy way out. But thirty years later, I can see having a child and finding a loving home for that child would have been so much easier ~ and loving, peaceful and humane.
Thank you for your story.
According to your words, abortion is killing your baby. This would make you a murderer. Shouldn't you be seeking prison time? Or is there some kind of distinction to be made? If there isn't, then you should be in jail for the rest of your life.
As I was thinking about what I wanted to say on this topic, you have managed to make many of my points more eloquently than I could. I, too began my adult life in the pro-choice camp. In fact, the first letter I ever wrote to the the editor of my local paper made the same assumption that I've read in other letters here today, that those who take a pro-life stance ought to put their money where their mouths are and adopt some of those unwanted children.
Fast forward 25 years. I have raised three children. The first was adopted, the child of an unprepared teen mother who refused to have an abortion. My second child was the result of a planned pregnancy. My third child was the result of an unplanned pregnancy, and I seriously considered abortion because I was in the middle of one of the darkest periods of my life financially and emotionally. In spite of the rocky circumstances of his birth, my youngest child, like my other two children, is a joy to me every day.
I consider myself both pro-choice and anti-abortion. Reproductive choices are best made before conception, obviously. I'm liberal in most of my views, but on this one subject, I can't get over the feeling that our ethical obligation is to protect humans who have no voice.
My daughter, who has chosen to be sexually active in high school and who is religious in her birth control efforts, is heavily involved with the teen parent program at her school. Through her eyes, I've come to appreciate the incredible determination it takes for those young parents to take on so many reponsibilities at a young age. Yes, the road is hard for them. No, they don't all end up raising hoardes of babies on welfare. I also have great respect for women who choose adoption for their babies. Those who choose to take responsibility for their actions without resorting to abortion have my utmost respect. Those who feel they have no choice but abortion have my compassion. I've been in those shoes for a brief, miserable time.
And, the longer I live, the more people I meet who are against abortion and who have indeed, adopted unwanted babies and older children. I can name half a dozen living within one square mile of my house.
I enjoy that you buck the system and think for yourself, not just quoting the party lines. Your points are valid...look at what we are advocating, don't just follow blindly.
I am nearly 60 years old, I am Pro-choice, and I have a daughter who is now in her 30s, and I also had 3 abortions. Each abortion was based on the fact that I was already a single mom and the father of the baby, whom was a person I had been having a long-term relationship with (although did not want to marry or live with), did not want it.
Unlike many other women I know, who purposely get pregnant to 'trap' the man, I chose to not saddle anyone with a baby they really did not want.
Yes, I went through depression and guilt, but I knew that in the long run it was best to not bring a child into a world where it was not wanted.
While raising my daughter as a single mom I didn't receive or ask for child support. Certainly it was a struggle, I often worked two jobs, and attended college, but I had made the choice to leave the man, even though he wanted me to marry him. We maintained our friendship and he and his daughter are very close - she is his only child. I worked, I paid for everything, she has grown up healthy and well-adjusted, and, by the way, very independent.
But for those of you who are Pro-life, I have questions. How many of these unwanted babies have you adopted? Do you believe that we need more unwanted children in families that already are living in poverty? Perhaps we should all pay more taxes so these people with unwanted babies who are often physically or mentally challenged due to drugs or alcohol can get more welfare? Do you believe that a baby who is the result of a rape is guaranteed to be loved by it's mother? What kind of life do you think these children would have? Have you donated enough money to any of these potential parents to raise any of these children?
I am a third generation adoptee - my grandmother and my mother were both adopted. My mother died when my brother and I were only 4 and 5 years old, we were adopted. Do not tell me your self-righteous Pro-life drivel unless you also have adopted. And I don't mean adopting children from overseas, I mean giving a good loving home and life to unwanted or disabled babies right here in the US. If you have not adopted, or at least attempted to, it is apparent that you really don't care about these children's lives, but if you have adopted, then I thank you.
I have had five abortions. I do not regret my decision to terminate any of them.
The first was caused by carelessness.
The second was a broken condom.
The third was a severe reaction to a diaphram that had to be removed early. The forth was fetus that was not growing/surviving and I did not wait for the miscarriage to end the pregnancy.
The fifth was at the end of a relationship.
I now have a beautiful, healthy 15 month old baby and my husband and I are trying to have another.
I wish the best for you and your family. What can I say, except that I have been there too.
We all have our reasons for our choices.
You may find a lack of support and even nastiness in this society for the choices you have made.
But, you have my support.
THANK YOU, for your brevity, your honesty. We need more like you to come forward, because you are an honest voice for many women. Why we women are here again and again, in this quandary, is a the great mystery. Let us hope, that you will not be put on some 'list' in some future America, simply because you have chosen to take control of your own life. Bravo! Blessing to you and your family.
Yes, I have been faced with this CHOICE. And I proceeded to terminate, safely, the pregnancy. I had no regrets, then or now. In fact, in my youth I terminated 3 pregnancies.
The only problem I have faced regarding these is: judgement by others. I once had an intake nurse leave the room and send in a different nurse to take my information AFTER I was honest and stated I had aborted three times. This was at the ob/gyn office when I was pregnant, and CHOOSING to remain so.
I now lie when asked about abortions in my gyn history!
It's been just over 27 years ago since I had to make the decision to have an abortion. Without question, it was the most difficult choice I've ever had to make. And while I deeply regret having to make that choice, I have never regreted my choice. At the time, I had a 14 yr old and an 11 year old, whom I had raised as a single parent for more than a decade. My relationship with the father of my new child was rapidly deteriorating and I knew I would end up raising this child without his financial or emotional support. I'd seen how the abandonment by their father had effected my older children and couldn't face watching another child suffer ths same way.
While I have never regretting the decision I made, I will always regret that the choice had to be made. I mourn the death of child, just like I mourn the loss of the baby I miscarried.
People who claim that woman use abortions as a form of birth control are woefully uninformed. No one would choose to under go such a painful proceedure a second time.
I would just like to say this about abortion. Just because I believe any woman should be able to have an abortion, does not mean she will be happy about that decision. Just because I am pro-choice, doesn't mean I am anti-life (as "pro-life" infers). I say, call a spade a spade. Most people are "pro-life (well maybe not warmongers or people who support the death sentence) but some really loud voices are ANTI-CHOICE. Words are powerful. I say we need to call it like it really is.
A few months after our second son was born, I was shocked to discover that, despite birth control, I was pregnant again. Both of my previous pregnancies were high risk due to a uterine anomaly, and I'd had to spend several weeks in bed as well as time in and out of the hospital. In addition to this, we were financially struggling, barely able to survive on our combined wages (he worked at a bookstore, I at a daycare). Finally, our oldest son had just been diagnosed with Autism, and we were struggling to get him the services and help that he needed.
I could not handle another baby at that time. My husband agreed. I could barely give our two boys all of the love and attention they needed. And physically I wasn't up to it. So I called my OBGYN to request an abortion, and was shocked to discover they did not offer them. After calling around a bit, I was directed to Planned Parenthood.
Because I knew I was pregnant at only about three weeks gestation they were able to give me two pills. One to terminate the pregnancy, the other to stimulate cramping similar to a miscarriage.
It was not easy. I cannot pretend that life begins at birth. I have bonded with each of my children from the moment they were conceived. But I also believe in the soul, and that perhaps the soul of this little life would be released and would find a new mommy who could love it and give it the attention it deserved. It was difficult, but I did not ever regret my decision. It was right for me, and right for my family. It helped that it was made early---I could not have had an abortion later in my pregnancy.
Two years later I was pregnant again. This time, I felt ready. My husband did not. We fought bitterly. We were on food stamps at this point, surviving on his salary alone, as I'd quit my job to work with our autistic son and his brother, who was showing signs of autism as well. We could not financially support another child. But I felt that I could emotionally do this, and knew that I wanted that baby. I told my husband that I would never be able to forgive him if he forced me into having an abortion. He threatened to leave. But he loved his children too much (and me too) so he eventually got over it. He deeply regrets fighting over this.
Now we have three boys. We love them all very much. Our first two boys have autism. Our last one started preschool today. I have no regrets.
While I can't agree with women who made the decision to have an abortion, regret it later, and want to forbid the option to everyone, I do want people to know that Planned Parenthood does take care to make sure women are certain in their decision when they schedule an abortion. They aren't the only place to get one, just the most visible as their help for the poor and un-insured is a last resort for many. They also can help a woman find counseling afterward, and they recommend the Exhale hotline -- www.4exhale.com for people who want to talk about the procedure.
I had an abortion 22 years ago. Recently while visiting friends who are very prolife, I was asked did I regret that decision. Their view was now that I had two children surely I harboured some doubt. Nothing could be further from the truth. The man I was then involved came out of the closet seven years after we broke it off. However he was (I'm sure still is) an upstanding guy and would've married me. So instead of having my great marriage and my beautiful children and wonderful Portland I'd be divorced in LA. I told my friends in no uncertain terms that I didn't regret my decision. My being allowed to have that procedure led directly to the births of my children. Safe, legal and rare.
I had an abortion about 6 years ago. At the time I was engaged to be married (to the man I am currently married to). The pregnancy was obviously a mistake, but I had conflicting feelings because I was getting married and married women have babies, not abortions. I chose to teminate the pregancy because our financial picture was pretty unstable at the time, and the house that we had just purchased & were living in needed major work and was not at all appropriate for a baby. Also, I had always thought that I would have a child when I was ready, and I really did not feel ready, even though I was in my late 20s. I now have a 4 month old baby and love being a mom. I think about my abortion all the time, and it is easy for me to think that I should have chosen differently. However, when I reflect, I realize that it is easy to impose the lessons I have learned since then on my past desicion, and ultimately I still think I made the right choice given my situation at the time.
I had an abortion when I was 22 years old; I am now 31. At the time of the abortion, I was six months into living with my boyfriend. Now, nine years later, neither myself nor my boyfriend, who is now my husband, have ever had a single regret about our decision. It was the absolute best thing we could do at the time, being so young and new to our relationship. Today we are still happily together and have a lovely and amazing 18 month old.
Abortion is, and should always be, a woman's choice.
I had an abortion when I was 16 (20+ years ago) I have regretted not having the courage to give my baby up for adoption. The person I am now is disgusted by the decision my 16 year old self made. I wish I would have went to my parents - but thought "I knew better."
I could not (up until recently) forgive myself enough to have a child with my husband - I just told everyone that we didn't want children - the fact was - I didn't feel worthy to have children because I killed my first.
Psychologically the abortion messed me up!
Now, I am completely pro-life and can really see no true reason to kill unborn babies especially for the sake of birth control.
I am a single professional mother and have been faced with making the decision about abortion. Ultimately, my decision does not matter. It is an intensely personal issue and is not made ligthly or without consequence. I have never regretted my decision.
The real issue is that this is personal. Until the being inside the mother is viable without the mother, there should be no judgement or restriction on the mother's right to make the decision. Life is sometimes hard and choices are never simple. We cannot afford to impose our own rules or prejudices on others. We are not them.
I have had 2 abortions. One when I was 17 and one when I was 21. I am also now a proud mother of a 6 month old baby boy. I am glad that I waited until I was ready.
I was educated in abortion when I had them and made the best decision for myself at the time. I wasn't ready to be a parent then. I couldn't imagine having a child at a time when I was too selfish to give the child all the attention needed.
The fact about abortion is that when it is not legal, women still seek out the assistance to have them and run very high risks of being killed in the process or having the ability to have children taken away.
Abortion unfortunately is too often used as birth control. I believe people do need as much education on birth control and how to protect themselves.
I am a 40yr old married woman with a child. I became pregnant earlier this year unintentionally. I was taking birth control pills and had been for 20 years and I still got pregnant. I was told that the birth control pills I was taking were a generic form, and they were not as consistent quality wise as a brand name. We were not willing to follow through and have a baby at our ages, as I had medical issues with my previous pregnancy. We were relieved that abortion was available and I have not had any second thoughts about it. I will continue to support a woman's right to choose for the rest of my life.
As a male, former Catholic, and the father of a college age daughter, I was called by my daughter who was desperate--she thought she was pregnant. After a very long series of discussions with her, she made the very difficult decision to have an abortion.
It was not an easy decision. She did not want her mother to know, for various reasons. But she had it done quickly, legally, and was able to complete college and eventually marry and now has a beautiful daughter, now age four.
I am proud of her and her difficult decision. Do I think of the loss of the fetus? Of course. But I see my daughter and her husband and granddaughter and see a beautiful family that might not have been had she chosen another path.
Question for pro-lifers
I got pregnant at 22, still in college, working as a waitress, surviving on foodstamps. If I had kept the child would you have helped me? Would you support foodstamp and family services? Health insurance for me and my child? Would you support family planning services to make sure my child didn't continue this cycle?
Having a child at that point in my life could have easily doomed me to poverty and reliance on social services for years, yet most anti-choices folks are also anti tax, social service and family planning. How do you hold those values at the same time? As another commenter has noted, have you adopted any unwanted children?
In 1957, at the age of 21, I became pregnant and was sent to a doctor who performed illegal abortions. No anesthetic, terrible pain and being called a whore throughout the procedure. The next day, the bleeding continued until I passed out and awoke in the hospital, so damaged that I was told I would never be able to have children.
Years later, married and wanting a child, we adopted a precious little boy who has been the joy of my life.
Women have terminated pregnancies since human life began, for many reasons. I will fight for a woman's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy in a safe way as long as I live.
38 years ago I was faced with this decision. On Christmas Eve 1970 I terminated a 2 month pregnancy. I was 19 years old and married to the father but he was in jail and likely to stay there for awhile. It was a gut-wrenching decision that took several weeks to make. I went through a year of mourning but I have no regrets now. I have two fabulous adult children, six grandchildren and I am guilt-free. I am confident that I made the right decision. I am even studying for a masters degree in theology and believe that God has forgiven my sins.
My personal views on abortion have not changed: this is a choice that is so personal and so volatile that it should be made only by the parents (or the mother alone if the father is not available) and her physician. No government, no screaming protestors on the street corner, no judgemental fundamentalists. If YOU choose to carry a pregnancy to term, great. If I choose to terminate a pregnancy, that is between me and God.
In 1976, I became pregnant at the age of 15, and since I loved my boyfriend, figured I'd be a teenage mom. My mother, upon finding out, sat me down and told me in no uncertain terms that I was going to have an abortion. It was illegal in our state, and she arranged for me to go to a neighboring state to a very professional clinic, and have it taken care of. Soon afterwards my boyfriend was arrested for burglary, and within a year was dead. I have been so grateful all my life that my mother stepped in and helped me through this, I was able to finish school and become a productive, self-supporting member of society, instead of ending up on welfare and struggling for who knows how long to get on my own feet in this world, and producing offspring who would have been raised in the culture of poverty and hardship often created when teens become single moms.
Each situation of unwanted pregnancy is so completely unique and personal, it seems obvious that these decisions should be kept out of the political arena and left to the individuals and families who must deal with them. I am so sickened by the right wing control freaks who want to force every pregnancy to go to term, but then refuse to help underprivileged or even just unprepared, clueless young women once they actually have the child. It's as if they believe life begins at conception and ends at birth!
I was date raped by my boyfriend in '73 and got pregnant. My parents were suportive and helpetd me get an abotion. the nurse in the hospital was very clear what she thougt of me. I knew that the boy was not going to be a good father and I sas sure that I didn't want to have any connection to him for the rest of my live. the child would have suffered having him for a father.
I have had 4 abortions, three when I was very young (20's) and once in my 40's with my life partner, and we have 4 kids (each with kids from previous marriages). Each time I got pregnant I was using birth control. The three abortions I had early in life were impersonal and painful, though my partners were supporting and loving - and in some cases humiliating (in one case the doctor said in a sweet tone: Honey, its a BABY, a little baby!! Aren't you excited???"
The most recent abortion was done using the abortion pill, and administered by my midwife, at home - it was actually a beautiful, respectful and caring experience, difficult emotionally but not physically, as we wanted this child but knew we couldn't manage it.
Abortion is a personal choice. People respond with their own set of beliefs and however people respond (grief, distance, regret or denial) and its not appropriate for anyone else to judge. We all - those of us who want abortions and those of us who don't want abortions need to work hard to protect women's right to make their own choices, because legislating abortion equals legislating religious, emotional and personal beliefs. That is not the freedom in any way shape or form.
minescu said, "Let me be the first to say that no one should any longer be permitted to allude to their moral superiority by calling themselves "pro-life". Admit what you truly are. You are "ANTI-CHOICE". You're not leading a valorous crusade; you are championing a conscious denial of women's human rights. Don't think that a little linguistic spin can alter the vicious, hateful, dangerous line you are toeing. Women have practiced abortion and infanticide since the beginning of time for MANY different reasons. I'll not champion the latter, since we're all playing at civility, but I will NEVER respect/consider/obey the opinion/law of anyone who would treat me as less than an autonomous being with certain INHERENT RIGHTS."
Here is my response from the perspective of someone who believes a child in the womb is a human being just like you:
The unborn are entitled to the same inherent rights as you or I. We are not entitled to a "choice" when it comes to the killing of another human being, no matter what our financial situation or relationship status. I find it strange to hear people defending their wants at the expense of another human being's life.
With that out of the way...
46 percent of all abortions in America are the result of not using any birth control. Not the failure of birth control, the absolute NON-USE of birth control. Nearly half of all abortions.
Make the "choice" BEFORE sex. Use birth control, for crying out loud.
We need a long and loud mass education program about birth control on a par with the mass education about AIDS and safe sex.
The simple truth is that if Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, the number of abortions in America would go unchanged. Most states would legalize it. One, maybe two, would ban abortion in all cases.
This is not an assumption. I am pro-life and used to believe that the number of abortions would drop dramatically if Roe v. Wade were overturned. However, I studied the matter in depth, and even with my own personal bias, I found it impossible to deny the facts that presented themselves. And the facts showed me that the number of abortions would remain pretty much the same.
Now, it seems to me that both pro-choice and pro-life people could get behind a PRACTICAL measure to REDUCE abortions. I would ask pro-life people if overturning Roe v. Wade was more important that actually having an impact on the number of abortions occuring.
And I'm sure even pro-choice people are uncomfortable with the number of abortions which occur.
This situation is ridiculous. Both sides have constructed their ramparts and fire volleys at one another in a neverending war, with the middle ground buried in the corpses of the aborted.
Shame on us all.
Luke, you are a male, yes? Do you support the scientific field manipulating our DNA and cloning? You see, there is very little uproar over this, but when it comes to women and abortion, it a full out attack. Why are not, pro-choice sorts, not crying out to the scientific community to stop their biotech practices? I am always amazed by this.
There is a big major flaw in your argument. Can an unborn mass drink booze, drive a car and vote? Even if you propose and could prove it is a life (which you can't), we don't all have the same rights. Children have different rights from adults. Additionally, the existence of the mass are dependent on the life of the mother. Does she have no rights? If her health was at risk from the pregnancy would she be a murderer for terminating it? Doesn't the mother's right to life trump the alleged rights of an unborn mass? A fetus inherently does not and can not have the same rights as a living, walking, person. If the mass has any rights at all, aren't they controlled by the mother? Because without the mother the mass would not and could not exist. There are obviously distinctions to be made, between the kind of life you claim a fetus is---and the kind of common-sense life we generally think of when we talk about living.
Opponents of female choice pretend that abortions are irresponsible, lighthearted decisions made my immoral monsters. I think that for most, if not all, these are painful decisions, often with mixed emotions afterward. That does not make them mistakes, even if there are negative feelings later. It means that those women themselves bear the consequences of their actions. It is their business, their problem, their responsibility.
I had two abortions while married to my husband, results of birth control failure. Advised to be off the pill, an infection from an IUD, no cooperation from my husband, the diaphragm proved not reliable enough. From a very large family myself, I knew what can happen when a child's emotional needs are unmet; after the birth of my second, needy child I knew she couldn't receive what she needed if another baby arrived so soon. A year later, another unplanned pregnancy threw me into turmoil. An abusive husband, my own illness from stress, poised to get me and my children away from that situation, another baby would have kept us there, all at risk.
Though I dearly wanted more children, I am very happy to have raised two healthy ones. I do not regret the abortions and can rejoice in the ultrasound pictures of my grandchildren. I want to reduce the need for abortions but always maintain that option. In my view, those who would undermine full access to education and prevention have no moral ground to stand on.
I had an abortion when I was 19, my first year in college. I got pregnant with my high school boyfriend while I was on birth control, unfortunately due to the common error of human error. I had missed a day and it was just enough to not be enough.
I knew that I did not want a child and could not support it and neither could my boyfriend. It was a very traumatic experience but mostly because I was not supported. My boyfriend could not deal and escaped by drinking, I did not tell my parents and only had my best friend to support me, who actually took me to the appointment and went in with me. Aside from the emotional upheaval of experiencing the procedure, I have not regretted my decision for an instant. Not right afterward, not now 8 years later. I am very happy that I was able to have the procedure. It was not the right time, nor the right situation. It has not destroyed my life. My right to control my life and my situation and my body is the most important thing. I am not pro-death, I am pro-choice. It is a choice and it affects so many things for a woman and a family. The woman and her partner should be the ONLY ones to make that kind of a decision. Not the state, not the country, not their religion or other peoples religion.
What enrages me is that the pro-life movement thinks that to ban abortion means that it will go away and that people will stop having them. That is the largest denial and avoidance of true life that I have ever experienced. It will push it underground and force woman to seek extremely dangerous situations, and they WILL seek it out. There is never talk of how this country would support the addition flood of children to welfare and low-income homes who will need government assistance to support these unexpected children, or the flood of children that are in need of adoption, or even increasing sex education in schools. Abstinence is the most ridiculous way to teach high school students about sex. If you pretend it does not exist it does not go away. You cannot treat kids like ostriches. Unwanted and unexpected pregnancies happen to everyone from every economic and denominational background. This is not a low-income anomaly. It happens to families that believe in teaching only abstinence. It HAPPENS! Keep abortion a choice and implement better education and support services for the choice to terminate, the choice to give a child up for adoption, and the choice to keep and raise the child.
If you want to decrease the rate of abortions, education need to be increased, not decreased.
Yes I have, more than once. Would I do it again? Yes. I am tired of others i.e. religious minded people who judge me and or my sisters for the choices I made. The reason there is so much angst and turmoil is because there is so much shaming. We cannot go back, to back ally abortions. Women need to stand strong and not yield ground on this issue. Leave the emotional aspect between the woman and her confidant and God. The shaming must stop. There is a reason for separation between church and state and this is a good example why we need it.
My crisis pregnancy occurred in 1992, when I was 36 years old. I already had three children, my husband was still in a career training program, we were renting in the S.F.Bay area (way expensive). We did not have in mind having another child, but we were careless on the birth control front. Like your guests, "we knew better." I felt stupid. But we also had carried three children to term (plus some miscarriages) and we knew what was going on "in there." This was a little person getting ready to join us, and nothing about our external circumstances or desires could make us able to snuff out this already-formed life that had begun. The birth of this child meant that my husband shortened his career training, I curtailed my career track, we drove (still drive) old cars and put off other material pursuits. It also meant all kinds of joys of the type you can never, never anticipate. I am so sorry that crisis pregnancies demand such an important, emotional decision be made in such a time-pressed fashion. I am glad my inability to take this life kept me from dwelling on negative scenarios that could have otherwise nudged me to make a "pragmatic" decision. I am also thankful that "family-friendliness" seems (finally!) to have become a trendy notion so that I feel more socially supported as a mother than I felt, say, 20 years ago when my children were young.
I am a midwife, a mother, a birtmother and an adoptive mother. When I was 17 I became pregnant by my very first boyfirend who was not the best guy. It was the summer before my senior year. My best friend was also pregnant. We decided to get abortions, made appointments all ready to go. But, I could not get the money I needed. The day my friend had her abortion I told my parents who are Catholic. My option of having an abortion was no longer an option. In the end, I decided to give my baby up for adoption.
Forward 5 years and I am a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. One of my students died from a botched abortion. It is illegal there. I met a a couple who are doctors and run the local clinic. They told me 95% of the surgery they do are failed abortions.
Forward 18 years and I'm in school getting my degree in midwifery. Since we tend to study what we know, i wrote my thesis on teens decision making in adoption. I interivewed 5 women who had given their babies up for adoption. There were two themes that emerged. First was the grief. Huge grief that was never fully acknowledged because they either kept the adoption secret or because they had done such a noble thing that they should feel good about it. But the giref was not dissimilar to the grief experienced thru losing a child. The second theme was 'Living with the decision'. The experience of life after the decision to relinquish.
I have been reunited with my daughter, she is 27. I adopted a daughter from China and at age 40 with some help, i gave birth to my youngest daughter.
I initally chose abortion, had fairly easy access (1980 in Omaha) but no money. I chose adoption. But what is most imprtant to me, is that I had the choice. Would I do it again? I don't know.
Now I am a midwife and I see women go thru this decision making process often. It is never easy and never taken lightly. The woman and her partner/family/community need to be able to make the choice they need to make without judgement or interference. They are the ones that need to live with the decision. The grief of losing a child thru adoption is similar to the grief of losing a child thru early loss. And we all know that losing a child is the worst pain one can experience. Why would we force that on anyone?
I was faced with the decision and made my decision because I had a choice. That choice cannot be taken away from women. Everyone has to be able to make the best decision they can for where they are in their life.
If we want to end abortion we need to prevent them. More acccess to birth control and more education for women. The most effective birth control is education of women.
It's so interesting how politicized this issue has become. When I was 18, I found out I was pregnant, and having been avidly pro-choice all my life my family was shocked when I decided to have my child. I wish it was more clear that being pro-choice meant that you respect having options, not that you are pro-abortion. I'm 26 now and am a single mom with a 7 year old son, I have had wonderful support from my family once they adjusted, and despite some difficulties, I would not have changed my decision for the world... I still feel it is the best decision I have made, and my son is the world to me. I am so glad I followed my own heart with this decision, and I am so glad that there are options for women to decide what is right for them.
The idea that underground abortions would result in mass death of the mothers is a deliberate fabrication by NARAL. The figure "5000 to 10000" back alley deaths was invented. That was one of the things I discoverd while researching the subject.
In Aborting America (1979) Nathanson writes: "In NARAL we generally emphasized the drama of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the latter it was always '5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.' I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the 'morality' of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?"
The truth is that the medical profession is far more advanced thab it was at the time of Roe v. Wade, and certainly more advanced than the 1930s where most back alley abortion stories originate.
Also, as I said above, most states would legalize abortion. At the very least first term abortions, which is when most abortions occur anyway.
My Great-grandmother is believed to have had an abortion at a very young age by going out in the woods with her sister and a coat hangar. According to family secrets, it was painful and a life scarring experience for her.
As a result of this, both my mother and my grandmother have a strong opinion that abortion is wrong and that all women should keep their children and they are both very fearful of abortion.
At the other end of the spectrum is me- I saw my mom struggle to be a single mother from age 18 on and these family events have caused me to be very careful about birth control and strongly support healthy and safe ways to have abortions in the US. I see my family story as a strong argument for safe and legal abortion and lots of sex education in the US system and more support for young girls who find themselves pregnant.
Please tell the woman, who lost her young premature son, that I was so touched by her story. I feel that want to hold her young son too. KNow that she is not alone in her love for the little boy. I love him too.
It's so hard to look at this topic objectively, as both sides are so dramatically different.
However, in an attempt, it seems to me that laws should be for the benefit of society as a whole and not simply reflect the beliefs of a certain group of people. In this case, the main difference between murder and abortion is that murder harms society, and abortion provides a relief - in terms of saving welfare costs, preventing raising children in horrible circumstances, preventing the destruction of families, etc. At the very least it is a private event.
If laws simply reflected the beliefs of a vocal set of people, we would not have freedom of religion, inter-racial marriage, or be able to legally purchase leg-warmers.
Thank you to everyone for having this discussion. Discussion and appropriate counsel is the area I would like to see become more important at all time frames of a woman's health. When I was 17 and sought after an abortion the only counsel I recall receiving was how to fill out paperwork so that it would be paid for. There seemed to be indifference to any emotional or physical that might have been brought on by this decision. At the time when I experienced this I too thought it was a clump of cells. It wasn't until I gave birth to my 1st live child that I realized what I had done. I'm sorry to say I have regretted it all these 37 years since.
Pregnancy is not new, it's not going away. Options are many and I hope and pray that we can support one another in ways that encourage life but also not pass judgement on those who chose to end it. That is not our place.
My daughter became pregnant at 17 even though we did everything possible to counsel her and her boyfiend about boundaries. Gratefully she had gone through a class where they debated abortion and so she had already made up her mind before she was pregnant that abortion was not for her. She chose the option to raise her baby. We her family have rallied around her ever since and I'm happy to say that today our daughter is married to our granddaughters baby and they have two other children as well. It wasn't easy and at times I wanted to pull my hair out, but together our family is raising a child.
I also am an adopted child, having been conceived in a time when my biological mother and father were not married and did not intend to marry. I am grateful to my mother who gave me live and allowed another family who could not have children raise me as their own. My biological father has never had another child and my partents who raised me with my brother and sister (also both adopted under separate circumstances) were happy to have had this option. I'm thankful to the people who put my mother up for the months that she was pregnant so that she could give me up for adoption outside the environment of her family who she probably felt would not support her decision.
And finally my mom who raised me. She could not have children because of a teen pregnancy that resulted in a still born child which later caused complications and a historectomy. Options were important to her then as they are to our women today.
Thank you for listening.
To me, what came out of today's show was the idea that women need more support around the whole experience of pregnancy, no matter the circumstances, whether it ends in an abortion or not. We all need more care and empathy than we're getting at that critical stage of our lives. It made me want to communicate better with my children so they don't have to go through such painful and formative moments alone.
I was really affected by what I heard and grateful to these women for speaking so honestly. It's something I've never heard before.
Thank you for a very rich conversation this morning. The women shared their personal stories in a thoughtful, emotional, inteligent manner. I thank them for being so candid. I thought Emily did a wonderful job of being sensitive, especially when she had to interrupt and cut-off the woman who was telling about giving her child up for adoption.
I feel abortion should not be a political issue. I am the director of a parenting program and feel very strongly that families need to have the right to choose whether or not to welcome a baby into their lives. Babies need to be wanted and to be loved. The job of being a parent is too difficult to have any kind of resentment towards a child componding it. I am also a Republican and will vote for McLain and Peylin, however, I get angry at the Republican party for making abortion an issue. As one of your guests said it is so much more than political; it is economical, emotional, practical and societal. If children aren't loved and given good homes they can easily become a burden to society and children should never be a burden to anyone. Another one said she was on both sides of the issue politically. I too, value life and feel there is nothing more precious than a child (I have four children and 7 grandchildren) at the same time strongly believe it is so important for people to be able to choose for themselves. I am also a Christian and do not feel abortion goes against my religious beliefs. We are to manifest love and sometimes aborting an unwanted child is the best way to do that.
With the controversy regarding keeping abortions legal, it needs to be remembered that women used to die and if they didn't die, they were liable to be prosecuted.
In 1961, I was a student nurse at Emanuel Hospital and one morning was assigned to the 4 bed ward, Room 344. One of the patients assigned to my care was a 21 year old University of Oregon student whose diagnosis was "criminal abortion", seated at the end of her bed was a police officer. The morning report at the beginning of the shift had provided the information the she had been aborted several days prior to admission, she was septic, on I.V. antibiotics, her condition was critical and her survival was doubtful.
The police officer's attitude was uncaring, I argued with him about pulling the curtain around the bed to provide privacy during personal care, informing him that in her condition, she wouldn't be escaping.
This was a young woman, my age, and she was dying. Her parents had not been contacted, she had no visitors/friends providing support. What was her crime? She had engaged in unprotected sexual activity, ( the birth control pill, Enovid, had just come on the market and was only available to married women) become pregnant and not wanting to be pregnant, she had had an abortion, at that time, illegal.
The young woman died about 15 hours later, alone, except for hospital staff. The next morning another student nurse, a member a very conservative religious group, shrugged and said, "Well, the wages of sin is death."
Because it was illegal, the abortionist was not necessarily competent and probably used unsafe techniques and unsanitary practices. Only affluent women or those with wealthy boyfriends could afford safe abortions performed in hospitals for "the health of the mother" or were friend, family or trusted patient of a physician who did them. The few competent abortionists in Portland at that time were targets of an ongoing witchhunt.
I have never had an abortion but have become a life long supporter of the availability of safe, legal abortions for the those women who decide that pregnancy termination is their best option. Every woman should have the opportunity to make the choice that is best for her AT THE TIME. ProLife/antichoice people do not possess the omniscience to make life decisions for others.
For those interested in history, see a book by Blankenbaker (sp?)( He wrote a column for the Oregonian called the Baker's Dozen) "They Cried on My Doorstep" about a respected, competent woman naturopathic physician who performed abortions in Portland in the 1950s and was imprisioned.
Please be thoughtful and compassionate in dealing with people whose views/beliefs differ from yours.
Thank you so much for stepping forward with your incredible first hand experience which if it had happened today in America, would have horrified most. It was barbaric. Time passes and those of us who lived during the time abortion was illegal remember this horrible scenario, played out over and over again. Many young people have no real understanding of how bad it really was for women on this and many other fronts. This is why we can never go back to that but, keep a place for this understanding alive by talking about it with our children and in our public schools. Is this long running history of women taught and talked about in public schools today?
I deeply appreciate the personal stories of those who experienced abortion before Roe v Wade in 1973, and I particularly responded to yours. These stories help to illustrate your point that abortion will not end if the procedure is once again made illegal. It is irresponsible to assume that simply denying access to birth control, counseling, and legalized abortion will end premarital sex, or the practice of clinical abortion. Indeed, legally banning it will be a field day for opportunists. In small town 1960's, we could not get birth control unless we were married, or lied. It would not have occurred to me to lie to a doctor to get a prescription. I became pregnant at the age of 20, while attending college. My beau, a young poet and Vietnam vet with PTSD I'd been trying to save, was not supportive. I did not even once consider telling my parents; they were prominent professionals in my hometown and raised us with the tacit understanding, "Don't Embarass Us". This situation would have meant the end of college for me and a return home to emotional (and physical) abuse. It seemed easier to lie to my parents. Through the grapevine, I was given the number of a compassionate middle-aged nurse who "helped troubled girls" in a nearby town, and I opted to have an abortion. Eleven weeks into my pregnancy, and with the money from my cashed-in dormitory meal ticket, I went to my abortionist's trailer on the Friday night before Spring Break. She packed my uterus with gauze that had been soaked in a saline solution, then I left. She told me I would start labor in about 24 hours, but that I should not try to call her. I am sure she feared arrest if something should go wrong. A roommate stayed with me all weekend; she, too, was twenty years old. Neither of us had ever witnessed a birth or miscarriage nor had we any idea what to expect, or what to do in an emergency. I "miscarried" late that Sunday night, but all of the afterbirth did not expel. I was admitted to the county hospital two days later with sepsis. I don't remember much about my stay, or know what was written on my chart, but the hospital staff was more concerned with how I would be able to pay for my care. So many years later I know that, given the same set of circumstances, I would likely still have chosen that abortion, but I mourn the loss of what (who) might have been. This experience set me on my heels, made me an adult, and I don't think I really came to terms with it's many implications for decades to come. In that regard, I feel a kinship with the others who have shared their experiences here. The choice is private and painful. I agree with Hillary Clinton that abortion should be kept "safe, legal and rare". "Rare" because, ideally, women would be given supportive counsel and resources to follow through on all of their options, including birth control.
I had an abortion at the age of 24 in the early 1990's (before the morning after pill was available), and I do know that no woman decides to have an abortion without serious contemplation. I'm embarrassed at this countries puritanical position on this health topic, portraying women with utmost disrespect as human beings. Even though our society sends mixed messages about sexuality and men taking equal responsibility, sex is a natural human act, and if unwanted pregnancy happens, women should have support and confidence to make this life altering decision. I was clear on my decision to have an abortion because neither my partner nor I were emotionally or financially prepared to raise a baby. I researched the stages of fetal development and pregnancy to understand the changes happening with my body. I had the abortion at a clinic, it was very painful and distressing, but I healed immediately. Every person deserves the right to privacy, and abortion is no different. Its simple, really. Does one choose government regulation and repression, or an educated, supportive community that strives to lower unwanted pregnancy?
I really have appreciated all of the comments and I thought the show was really good. I am glad that people have the chance to speak freely about hwat they believe.
I myself had an abortion when I was 15. My boyfriend and I agreed that it was the best descision. I did not come to that descision lightly and my family supported me. Unfortunately, my family took out their anger on the baby's father and he was not allowed to be with me when I had the procedure. I think that father's have a right to be there if they want to, but I don't think that a woman should ever keep a pregnancy because the father wants her to. I am not pro abortion I am pro choice. No one has a right to judge my descision nor do I have the right to judge a woman who decides to keep her baby even if she is not ready to be a mother.
I am not a mother now, and I may never be, but I am grateful for the life I have now. I have no idea what my life would be like if I had kept my child, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't be in a healthy happy relationship like I am now.
I hope that our government never illegalizes abortion again because it won't stop women from getting them. I know we need better education and both men and women need to be responsible for preventing unwanted pregnancies. I never felt comfortable asking my mom to get me on the pill because I knew she would just try to stop me from having sex. My boyfriend at the time was reluctant to get condems and so we often had unprotected sex. I know I was responsible for getting pregnant and for ending my baby's life and only me and my baby's father should get to judge our descision. All parents out there please be open with your kids about sex and encourage them to come to you so that you can try to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
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