lifestyle

OPINION: 14 reactions to my "I had an abortion" post.

Last week we published a personal story by a woman who had an abortion. It generated hundreds of comments. You can read Penny’s story here. The reactions of our readers were varied, but almost all were reflective, personal and in some cases very profound. We tend to only hear two sides to this debate – but here, you’ll hear 14 very different reactions to one woman’s story about abortion…

what its like to have an abortion

By PENNY WILSON

1. The Christian pro-life view.

Life is a gift from God and it is not our right to take it. We take precautions because we can control our family size.” (The author of this comment also said she didn’t believe in IVF or euthanasia).

2. The women who had abortions and didnt regret it.

“I had an abortion in my mid forties.I had grown up children. My husband was starting to talk about transition to retirement. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I chose abortion. No guilt. No regret.”

Another wrote: “When I had my abortion.…I could have easily worked it out. I was 28, I had a decent job, I was not in a serious relationship with the guy, but he had money and would have supported us. So why didn’t I keep the pregnancy? Because I don’t want be a mother. Simple as that. I have no desire to be a mother. I don’t enjoy small children. It would have given me a different type of lifestyle, one I didn’t want. I have absolutely no desire to be pregnant and need to break my career to birth a child to give away. Giving birth is my worst nightmare. Not everyone wants children. Not everyone wants to be pregnant and hand it over to someone else to raise. And that’s OK.”

3. The woman who didn’t have an abortion and regretted it.

“I regret not having an abortion every day. Having my child ruined my life. No social life, ruined my relationship, trapped me in a dead end job, depleted my savings, I don’t enjoy parenting her, she’s a difficult, shrieky and high needs child and I honestly wish I had an abortion. Don’t buy the ‘sunshine and huggies commercials’ rhetoric guys. Don’t do it.”

4. The woman who had an abortion and regretted it.

“Given the choice, I’m glad I exist – but I would never wish my life on another human. Just one more reason I’m pro-choice.”

“I always felt I was coerced into having an abortion when I was 18. My mum told me I would ruin my life, my boyfriend then (& now husband) told me he didn’t want me to be the mother of his children and that he would leave me if I had our baby. I was completely deserted and had no support from anyone. I was then told that if I couldn’t have a baby without support from anyone then I shouldn’t be having a baby in the first place. I still don’t think I’ve forgiven myself for not being strong enough to do it by myself. I’m even more sad because I’ve been diagnosed with medically unexplained infertility. I said at the time I was pregnant ‘what happens if I can never fall pregnant again?’. Well now I’m living that life. I have a lot of self-acceptance soul searching to do.”

Another wrote: ” I have a friend who I supported through having an abortion and I know that when some years later she got married and miscarried her next pregnancy, she blamed herself, as if that was some sort of punishment for having an abortion.

5. A woman who can’t have kids herself but is still pro-choice.

“I desperately wanted children. We spent several years going through IVF because we wanted to become parents, and because so many odds were stacked against us. Friends would try to shield me from hearing about anyone who had abortions as I found it so hard to get pregnant, until I said “I commend that person!” glad you know what’s right for you and don’t just bring a child into the world cause you feel you HAVE to. You haven’t used it as an excuse to never work again and you haven’t ruined a childs life by bringing them into a world that has too many uncertainties, you are actually a more responsible person and I think you are amazing.”

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6. The women whose mother wanted an abortion and was denied it.

“I was born because abortion is illegal in the country I grew up in. My mother hated raising me. It is awful being brought up by a woman who wishes every day you weren’t born. Why on earth do people wish that on others?”

Another woman, posting under the title “abused woman” wrote:

“My mother didn’t have abortion available to her as an option when she had me (didn’t find out she was pregnant in time). If she had I wouldn’t be here. I am happy that I exist – but I would never wish on a child what I went through. A child of a woman who didn’t (still doesn’t) like children, has anger management issues and a proclivity for violence.

Given the choice, I’m glad I exist – but I would never wish my life on another human. Just one more reason I’m pro-choice.”

7. The “abortion can be fabulous” response.

“The issue here appears to be that people are framing abortion as negative. This discourse is both archaic and unhelpful. Abortion does not need to be negative, it does not need to be a ‘consequence’ or carry with it stigma.
ABORTION CAN BE FABULOUS.

It is time we started to open up the discourse around this topic and acknowledge that for hundreds of thousands of women abortion is not about murdering a baby, it is not a heart wrenching decision that sends them to years of psychotherapy, it is about empowering them to actualise their right of self-determination. Abortion is an opportunity to reaffirm their autonomy.

It can also be a totally nonchalant, unequivocal decision, and this is 103% a-okay. In fact is better than okay, its really good. Its time we started viewing aborting with pragmatism not emotion and stopped trying to punish or save women who have them.”

8. An interesting debate about adoption.

A few commenters suggested that women who fall pregnant and don’t want to become mothers should consider adoption.

That view was roundly criticised.

“Women don’t owe their bodies as glorified baby growers for those who can not have their own children. I feel sorry for those who can not have children, but it does not give them the right to demand abortion be criminalised so they can take the babies of those who would have otherwise aborted.,” one user commented.

“There are MILLIONS (yup, millions) of children who can be adopted. Denying abortion so a couple who cannot conceive have more choice when picking out a kid is not a legitimate reason,” another wrote.

Another commenter wrote: “I find this statement a little hurtful. I had an abortion earlier this year. I was one of those unlucky ones who gets pregnant while on the pill, and also in an abusive relationship… It’s not our responsibility to fix infertile couples’ problems by providing them with a baby.

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9. The woman who thinks the article was flippant.

“This article makes me very uncomfortable. It leads people to believe that having an abortion is about as emotionally taxing as getting your hair done. What worries me is that the writer has had two [abortions] and neither seemed to have affected her or really taught her anything apart from how lucky she is. This is a very serious decision and I don’t think she really understands that. We are not talking about changing hair colour we are talking about a real life baby and anyone who doesn’t see the seriousness of this really isn’t mature enough to be having sex in the first place.
Now you can all jump on me about this but at the age of 19 I chose to have an abortion it was and still is one of the hardest and most life changing decisions I have ever made. It changed the person that I was and effected me very much. I would probably never change my decision if I could but it made me be very careful to never be in that situation again until I was ready.”

10. … And the reasoned response to that view.

“So, what is it that you are actually saying? I read your comment as being, if you make the decision and it’s difficult and life-changing and affects you deeply, it’s OK to have an abortion. But if a woman doesn’t suffer guilt, misery and regrets, she has obviously not done the right thing, hasn’t “learned” anything or taken the matter “seriously enough”. I would suggest the opposite could be true: that your feelings could suggest you made a wrong choice for yourself (in that maybe you should have kept the baby). For the author, her lack of regrets say to me that she made EXACTLY the correct decision for herself.”

11. The “let’s agree to disagree” response:

“To all the right to lifers posting here, we can’t convince you to change your mind and you can’t convince us. Why insult each other by trying?”

12. The “consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy” argument

“So if I donated blood once, I no longer have a right to stop donating? You going to strap me into the chair and force the catheter into my arm, while I’m screaming and fighting?

And I assume you are perfectly okay with a man or woman being forced to donate blood, bone marrow or other organs to their child with or without their consent, if the child requires? After all, the right to use their parents’ body without their consent shouldn’t end at their birth.

Say it with me: consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.”

13. The “it’s just too personal” post.

“The assumption in this article is that women don’t want to discuss their abortions because of being publicly shamed, and therefore we should make abortion as a ‘greater good’ part of our dialogue. Many women I know who have had abortions don’t want to discuss because it is too personal to them, not for fear of judgement.”

14. The “I’m pleasantly surprised at how civilised the discussion is” response.

I was getting ready to read the comments with my back up, expecting nothing but a tirade of “murderer” comments.
How pleasantly surprised I was at the flow of support and camaraderie from the sisterhood. Onya ladies :)

 Editors Note: Penny Wilson is a pseudonym but the author is known to Mamamia and chose to remain anonymous because of the nature of the topics discussed in the post. Thank you for your respect of her privacy and your understanding.

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