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“Houston, we have a problem: nobody understands us”

by | Sep 23, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Back in August we featured an article about the pro-abortion industry trying to come up with a strategy to reduce the “stigmatization of abortion in society.” The study followed on the heels of “Abortion Stigma: A Reconceptualization of Constituents, Causes, and Consequences,” a journal article published by a group of six academics which included an employee of the pro-abortion think tank, the Guttmacher Institute.

You might say, they are saying, “Houston, we have a problem: nobody understands us.”

But the rebranding is not just the work of academicians writing in scholarly journals. There is (stay with me) “Tsk Tsk: Stigma, Shame, and Sexuality, a series hosted by Gender Across Borders and cross-posted with RH Reality Check in partnership with Ipas.” I’ve read a few of the posts, each more remarkably self-indulgent than the one before. Today I read, “Oh, the Things These Socks Have Seen.”

One of the recurring themes—at least of the posts I’ve read—is a kind of faux-amazement that even good “pro-choicers” might blanche at some of the “choices” women have made. In this case Lindsay Smith tells us the story of her two abortions (www.genderacrossborders.com/2011/09/21/oh-the-things-these-socks-have-seen).

We learn that she’s practically broadcast to the world her 2008 abortion which was a no-brainer. Not getting along with her partner, money tight, going to school, “It was clear to both us of that it wasn’t the right time for a pregnancy.”

#2? A little dicier, which has led to a somewhat less public posture. It’s two years later and she’s happy as a lark with her new partner. things are going swimmingly, and, then, what? The biological clock which she thought was broke goes off and for six months she tries to get pregnant.

By the time she does get pregnant, Smith’s having second thoughts. She fakes enthusiasm but “Somehow, during our months of trying, my focus had shifted.” Sure enough, “Everyone wanted this pregnancy, except, it turned out, me.”

It’s even more complicated than that.

“When I got pregnant this time, friends and co-workers who knew I’d previously had an abortion made comments about how surprised they were that I was able to get pregnant, or made snide comments about how long I’d wait before “sucking this one out too.” How could I feel comfortable discussing the choices that Cory and I had made now?”

While she thought she “was fully aware” of the stigma that goes along with abortion, she wasn’t ready for the reaction from her pro-choice friends to abortion number two. And, did I mention, the baby was now in his/her second trimester of development?

“It’s dismaying to learn that some of the most ‘dedicated’ pro-choice supporters still subscribe to the idea that more than one abortion is irresponsible and that anything later than 6 weeks is cruel. Like most women in my situation, my decision was not made lightly, though the feeling that I experienced afterwards can only be described as extreme relief.”

Let’s see. She carelessly gets pregnant a first time and aborts. Deliberately gets pregnant the second time and aborts a second-trimester baby. Yet she “was surprised by the amount of opposition I received from other pro-choice supporters when talking about my second.”

Her account ends where it begins: with the knowing wink from a friend who recognizes Smith’s “abortion socks,” the teal, rubber-soled socks Planned Parenthood outfitted her with for abortion #2. Why were they familiar? “I have a pair of those too,” her friend says.

So Smith’s final paragraph, while amazing, is of a piece with all that preceded it:

“One of the things that I have learned over the past year is that while our voices may be temporarily silenced by abortion stigma rife within our society, it can be the smallest of gesture of support that speak volumes above the chants, the sneers, and the judgment. It can be a reassuring hug or a knowing wink shared over something as a simple as a pair of socks.”

In the whole entire piece there is not a sliver of doubt, except that any genuine pro-choicer would disapprove of her cavalier attitude and ethically bankrupt behavior. Nothing to suggest at the ripe old age of 24, Smith has learned anything except that the only way to remove ‘stigma’ is to defiantly act as morally irresponsible as possible and then dare anyone to raise an eyebrow.

Heaven help the next baby the next time Smith’s biological clock strikes twelve.

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Categories: Abortion