Why I am Pro-Abortion, not Just Pro-Choice

Abortion - happy family2

I believe that abortion care is a positive social good — and I think it’s time people said so.

Not long ago, the Daily Kos published an article titled, I Am Pro-Choice, Not Pro-Abortion. “Has anyone ever truly been pro-abortion?” one commenter asked.

Uh. Yes. Me. That would be me.

I am pro-abortion like I’m pro-knee-replacement and pro-chemotherapy and pro-cataract surgery. As the last protection against ill-conceived childbearing when all else fails, abortion is part of a set of tools that help women and men to form the families of their choosing. I believe that abortion care is a positive social good. And I suspect that a lot of other people secretly believe the same thing. And I think it’s time we said so.

Note: As an aside, I’m also pro-choice. Choice is about who gets to make the decision. The question of whether and when we bring a new life into the world is, to my mind, one of the most important decisions a person can make. It is too big a decision for us to make for each other, and especially for perfect strangers.

But independent of who owns the decision, I’m pro on the procedure, and I’ve decided that it’s time, for once and for all, to count it out on my ten fingers.

  1. I’m pro-abortion because being able to delay and limit childbearing is fundamental to female empowerment and equality. A woman who lacks the means to manage her fertility lacks the means to manage her life. Any plans, dreams, aspirations, responsibilities or commitments–no matter how important–have a great big contingency clause built: “until or unless I get pregnant, in which case all bets are off.”Think of any professional woman you know. She wouldn’t be in that role if she hadn’t been able to time and limit her childbearing. Think of any girl you know who imagines becoming a professional woman. She won’t get there unless she has effective, reliable means to manage her fertility. In generations past, nursing care was provided by nuns and teachers who were spinsters, because avoiding sexual intimacy was the only way women could avoid unpredictable childbearing and so be freed up to serve their communities in other capacities. But if you think that abstinence should be our model for modern fertility management, consider the little graves that get found every so often under old nunneries and Catholic homes for unwed mothers.
  2. I’m pro-abortion because well-timed pregnancies give children a healthier start in life. We now have ample evidence that babies do best when women are able to space their pregnancies and get both pre-natal and pre-conception care. The specific nutrients we ingest in the weeks before we get pregnant can have a lifelong effect on the wellbeing of our offspring. Rapid repeat pregnancies increase the risk of low birthweight babies and other complications. Wanted babies are more likely to get their toes kissed, to be welcomed into families that are financially and emotionally ready to receive them, to get preventive medical care during childhood and the kinds of loving engagement that helps young brains to develop.
  3. I’m pro-abortion because I take motherhood seriously. Most female bodies can incubate a baby; and thanks to antibiotics, cesareans and anti-hemorrhage drugs, most of us are able to survive pushing a baby out into the world. But parenting is a lot of work; and doing it well takes twenty dedicated years of focus, attention, patience, persistence, social support, mental health, money, and a whole lot more. This is the biggest, most life-transforming thing most of us will ever do. The idea that women should simply go with it when they find themselves pregnant after a one-night-stand, or a rape, or a broken condom COMPLETELY TRIVIALIZES MOTHERHOOD.
  4. I’m pro-abortion because intentional childbearing helps couples, families and communities to get out of poverty. Decades of research in countries ranging from the U.S. to Bangladesh show that reproductive policy is economic policy. It is no coincidence that the American middle class rose along with the ability of couples to plan their families, starting at the beginning of the last century. Having two or three kids instead of eight or ten was critical to prospering in the modern industrial economy. Early unsought childbearing nukes economic opportunity and contributes to multi-generational poverty.Today in the U.S., unsought pregnancy and childbearing is declining for everyone but the poorest families and communities, contributing to what some call a growing “caste system” in America. Strong, determined girls and women sometimes beat the odds, but their stories inspire us precisely because they are the exception to the rule. Justice dictates that the full range of fertility management tools including the best state-of-the-art contraceptive technologies and, when that fails, abortion care be equally available to all, not just a privileged few.
  5. I’m pro-abortion because reproduction is a highly imperfect process. Genetic recombination is a complicated progression with flaws and false starts at every step along the way. To compensate, in every known species including humans, reproduction operates as a big funnel. Many more eggs and sperm are produced than will ever meet; more combine into embryos than will ever implant; more implant than will grow into babies; and more babies are born than will grow up to have babies of their own. This systematic culling makes God or nature the world’s biggest abortion provider: Nature’s way of producing healthy kids essentially requires every woman to have an abortion mill built into her own body.In humans, an estimated 60-80 percent of fertilized eggs self-destruct before becoming babies, which is why the people who kill the most embryos are those like the Duggars who try to maximize their number of pregnancies. But the weeding-out process is also highly imperfect. Sometimes perfectly viable combinations boot themselves out; sometimes horrible defects slip through. A woman’s body may be less fertile when she is stressed or ill or malnourished, but as pictures of skeletal moms and babies show, some women conceive even under devastating circumstances. Like any other medical procedure, therapeutic contraception and abortion complement natural processes designed to help us survive and thrive.
  6. I’m pro-abortion because I think morality is about the well-being of sentient beings. I believe that morality is about the lived experience of sentient beings—beings who can feel pleasure and pain, preference and intention, who at their most complex can live in relation to other beings, love and be loved and value their own existence.What are they capable of wanting? What are they capable of feeling? These are the questions my husband and I explored with our kids when they were figuring out their responsibility to their chickens and guinea pigs. It was a lesson that turned expensive, when the girls stopped drinking milk from cows that didn’t get to see the light of day or eat grass, but it’s not one I regret. Do unto others as they want you to do unto them. It’s called the Platinum Rule. In this moral universe, real people count more than potential people, hypothetical people or corporate people.
  7. I’m pro-abortion because contraceptives are imperfect, and people are too. The Pill is 1960’s technology, now half a century old. For decades, women were told the Pill was 99 percent effective, and they blamed themselves when they got pregnant anyways. But that 99 percent is a “perfect use” statistics, and in the real world, where most of us live, people aren’t perfect. In the real world, 1 in 11 women relying on the Pill gets pregnant each year. For a couple relying on condoms, that’s 1 in 6. Young and poor women—those whose lives are least predictable and most vulnerable to being thrown off course—are also those who have the most difficulty taking pills consistently. Pill technology most fails those who need it most, which makes abortion access a matter not only of compassion but of justice.State-of-the-art IUDs and Implants radically change this equation, largely because they take human error out of the picture for years on end, or until a woman wants a baby. And despite the deliberate misinformation being spread by opponents, these methods are genuine contraceptives, not abortifacients. Depending on the method chosen, they disable sperm or block their path, or prevent an egg from being released. Once settled into place, an IUD or implant drops the annual pregnancy rate below 1 in 500. And guess what. Teen pregnancies and abortions plummet—which makes me happy, because even though I’m pro-abortion, I’d love the need for abortion to go away. Why mitigate harm when you can prevent it?
  8. I’m pro-abortion because I believe in mercy, grace, compassion, and the power of fresh starts. Many years ago, my friend Chip was driving his family on vacation when his kids started squabbling. His wife Marla undid her seatbelt to help them, and as Chip looked over at her their top-heavy minivan veered onto the shoulder and then rolled, and Marla died. Sometimes people make mistakes or have accidents that they pay for the rest of their lives. But I myself have swerved onto the shoulder and simply swerved back.The price we pay for a lapse in attention or judgment, or an accident of any kind isn’t proportional to the error we made.Who among us hasn’t had unprotected sex when the time or situation or partnership wasn’t quite right for bringing a new life into the world? Most of the time we get lucky; sometimes we don’t. And in those situations we rely on the mercy, compassion, and generosity of others.In this regard, an unsought pregnancy is like any other accident. I can walk today only because surgeons reassembled my lower leg after it was crushed between the front of a car and a bicycle frame when I was a teen. And I can walk today (and run and jump) because another team of surgeons re-assembled my knee-joint after I fell off a ladder. And I can walk today (and bicycle with my family) because a third team of surgeons repaired my other knee after I pulled a whirring brush mower onto myself, cutting clear through bone. Three accidents, all my own doing, and three knee surgeries. Some women have three abortions.
  9. I’m pro-abortion because the future is always in motion, and we have the power and responsibility to shape it well. As a college student, I read a Ray Bradbury story about a man who travels back into prehistory on a “time safari.” The tourists have been coached about the importance of not disturbing anything lest they change the flow of history. When they return to the present, they realize that the outcome of an election has changed, and they discover that the protagonist who had gone off the trail, has a crushed butterfly on the bottom of his shoe.In baby making, as in Bradbury’s story, the future is always in motion, and every little thing we do has consequences we have no way to predict. Any small change means a different child comes into the world. Which nights your mother had headaches, the sexual position of your parents when they conceived you, whether or not your mother rolled over in bed afterwards—if any of these things had been different, someone else would be here instead of you. Every day, men and women make small choices and potential people wink into and out of existence.We move, and our movements ripple through time in ways that are incomprehensible, and we can never know what the alternate futures might have been.But some things we can know or predict, at least at the level of probability, and I think this knowledge provides a basis for guiding wise reproductive decisions. My friend Judy says that parenting begins before conception. I agree. How and when, we choose to carry forward a new life can stack the odds in favor of our children or against them, and to me that is a sacred trust.
  10. I’m pro-abortion because I love my daughter. I first wrote the story of my own abortion when Dr. Tiller was murdered and I couldn’t bear the thought of abortion providers standing in the crosshairs alone. “My Abortion Baby” was about my daughter, Brynn, who exists only because a kind doctor like George Tiller gave me and my husband the gift of a fresh start when we learned that our wanted pregnancy was unhealthy.Brynn literally embodies the ever changing flow of the future, because she could not exist in an alternate universe in which I would have carried that first pregnancy to term. She was conceived while I would still have been pregnant with a child we had begun to imagine, but who never came to be.My husband and I felt very clear that carrying forward that pregnancy would have been a violation of our values, and neither of us ever second guessed our decision. Even so, I grieved. Even when I got pregnant again a few months later, I remember feeling petulant and thinking, I want that baby, not this one. And then Brynn came out into the world and I looked into her eyes, and I fell in love and never looked back.

All around us, living breathing and loving are the chosen children of mothers who waited—who ended an ill-timed or unhealthy pregnancy and then later chose to carry forward a new life. “I was only going to have two children,” my friend, Jane said as her daughters raced, screeching joyfully, across my lawn. Jane followed them with her eyes. “My abortions let me have these two when the time was right, with someone I loved.”

Those who see abortion as an unmitigated evil often talk about the “millions of missing people” who were not born into this world because a pregnant woman decided, not now. But they never talk about the millions of children and adults who are here today only because their mothers had abortions—real people who exist in this version of the future, people who are living out their lives all around us–loving and laughing and suffering and struggling and dancing and dreaming, and having babies of their own.

When those who oppose abortion lament the “missing people,” I hear an echo of my own petulant thought: I want that person, not this one. And I wish that they could simply experience what I did, that they could look into the beautiful eyes of the people in front of them, and fall in love.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org. Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel. Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

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About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt and Deas and Other Imaginings. Founder - www.WisdomCommons.org.
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69 Responses to Why I am Pro-Abortion, not Just Pro-Choice

    • Pascal Massie says:

      This is a remarkably courageous stand in the present ideological context (particularly in the USA). It is also a lucid argument. Thank you

      Like

  1. Thank you! That was marvelous.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This goes way beyond information, analysis, courage and insight: truely a piece of what makes us human. Many thanks Valérie.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Adrian says:

    By the points you are saying, I think I should not have been allowed to be born. It’s like you say, the proper children must be born who can have children of their own, not people with all kinds of problems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger says:

      It should be up to the parent, who will have to deal with it. If they are up to the challenge–fine. If they are not, it is not up to me—or anyone else–to say.

      Like

    • Hi Adrian – That is not at all what I meant to say and I’m sorry you understood it to mean that. First off, I don’t think that everyone needs or wants to have children of their own. Second, we all have problems. Third, though, I think it is a blessing to be able to stack the odds in favor of our children flourishing, and contraception and abortion care help us to do that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Speaking as someone with no children who had a vasectomy forty years ago (never regretting it for so much as a heartbeat), I echo your observation of “not everyone needing or wanting children.”

        I’m glad my parents didn’t have the same attitude.

        Like

    • whistlinggirl2910 says:

      I have met people whose mother tried to self abort them and failed — or the woman couldn’t get an abortion. They were sad, angry, thwarted, and troubled in life. There are worse things by far. Every child deserves to be wanted and prepared for. Anything else is a forced birth.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. windotoucher says:

    Written with wisdom and warmth in language that rings true. Thank you for this support for abortion when chosen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate your kind words!

      Liked by 2 people

      • whistlinggirl2910 says:

        reading this, I realized that I long ago should have embraced and defended the term “pro-abortion”. The Right uses shame to control pregnant women, their partners, society. They use shame to silence the pro-choice. Using your language is freeing and a refusing to be shamed by moral eunuchs. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. john zande says:

    A truly brilliant piece!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. garytribble says:

    So any wonderful comments that I could never outdo, Valerie, comments this piece superbly deserves. Thank you for publishing it on your blog. I hope you can get it placed in a large number of independent, general-audience publications where it can do the widespread good it is so well designed to do.

    You, and the way you think and live, are a gift to your readers, your community and the world wherever you can be found and read. This particular piece deserves to get the help of other publishers, just as your knees have gotten help so often to move you forward into your future, in order to help you carry it ahead into a future that brings its benefit to many more readers and their communities.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Maydaytree says:

    This is so clear and SO courageous. I appreciate your sharing it with the rest of us, especially those who’ve struggled with the distinction between supporting choice and supporting abortion itself. As the mother of an only son who’s all but unavailable to me now because of his “charismatic” beliefs, I’m ever-grateful for what you write from the perspective of a former evangelical. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. windotoucher says:

    You said it better than I, Gary, so I want to second your hope that this piece can reach the general audience.

    Liked by 3 people

    • garytribble says:

      Thank you, Windotoucher. Your comment citing “wisdom” and “warmth” and “language that rings true” was one that inspired my recognition that I could not have outdone the praise I had already read.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Holly Davis says:

    Oh my god…I LOVE YOU! Thank you for your courage and for sharing your brilliance. hugs, Hol

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ron Taska says:

    As usual, you have tackled a difficult topic with significant reason and thought. Thanks. Keep writing. Stay away from riding lawn mowers.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. CapSize says:

    Black children are 3 times more likely to be aborted. What a racist blog.

    Like

    • Yes, Black women terminate pregnancies at a higher rate than many other ethnicities in the U.S. They also have a higher birth rate from unsought pregnancy than most other ethnicities. That is because they have a much higher rate of unintended pregnancy, which results in both more abortions and more births.

      By the way, the people who feed this anxiety are mostly motivated by religion, not a desire for Black families to flourish.

      Liked by 5 people

    • “Racism” would be forcing black women to abort, not allowing them to do so. A friend of mine (who later in life had three children) aborted herself with a wire coat hanger. She was sixteen and desperate. If something had gone wrong, she could easily have caused a fatal infection or made it impossible to have children later.

      When I knew her, she was in her late thirties, a middle class computer programmer, fully able to care for her children.

      How would making abortion illegal again stop this? Do you propose making coat hangers illegal?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. garrjohn says:

    I wish this essay could fit on a bumper sticker. Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Sharon Ammen says:

    This is so wonderful. Thank you so much for your courage and integrity.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Erin says:

    “All around us, living breathing and loving are the chosen children of mothers who waited–who ended an ill-timed or unhealthy pregnancy and then later chose to carry forward a new life.” And in my home are two children whose birth mothers chose to carry forward their new lives, despite their own inability to provide for those lives, so that someone like me and my husband could overcome our infertility and become parents. I am neither pro-abortion nor anti-abortion. I am anti-rape, anti-incest, pro-contraception, and pro-choice at the time of conception. Give women the ability to control their own reproduction, but please also show respect and give support to those who choose to carry on their unwanted pregnancies so others can love and raise these “unwanted” children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Erin. There are many paths by which we create beauty and love and the gift of life, and choosing to carry forward a new life, either for a child we keep or a child given for adoption is one of those paths. I am so glad you received this gift.

      Liked by 2 people

      • whistlinggirl2910 says:

        This may not be germane here, but adoption is not the solution and best answer that the anti-abortionists claim it to be. I am the mother of an adopted son, now an adult, who had a good reunion with his birth mother. We realized how much she suffered without being able to raise him. I know regret my part in the adoption. Of course, we loved and raised him as best we could, but I think his life, overall, would have been better had he been raised in his birth family. He wouldn’t have spent years feeling bad and thinking ‘they didn’t want me’, something we couldn’t change in his thinking.

        Like

    • Erin says:

      Whistlinggirl2910 – From what you said, I assume that yours was a closed adoption. I’m sorry your son and his birth mom had to go through that. Open adoptions are the norm now and both of ours were. My son has never met his birthmother but sees his birth father about once a month. It’s actually a highly unusual situation in adoption circles as it’s usually the birthmother that the child sees, but it is so good for him. When the questions we can’t answer come, he can go directly to the source to get those answers. He knows who he looks like and has met his extended birth family. With my daughter, she has never met her birth father but has met and spent some time with her birthmother. We are in regular contact with her and the benefits are the same as with my son. I really feel for all the closed adoptions of the past – birth parents who never knew how their children fared in life and children who never got that piece of the puzzle of who they are solved. I’m so glad your son and his birth mom got to reunite and hope they both find peace in that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • whistlinggirl2910 says:

        Thank you for sharing your experience. It was kind of you to share and I want you to know that you feel better. Yes, it was sad that she was made to give him up and all that followed for her (a secret birthday every year with the husband she married later). She’s a lovely person and I know this reunion was very healing for her.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Mary Kay Barbieri says:

    Just the thoughtful, brilliant and compassionate analysis that I have been waiting for. Thank you, Valerie Tarico!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Outstanding, Valerie.

    I wrote a short one on the same subject awhile ago:

    https://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php/articles/5269

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Allan Avery says:

    BRAVO !! as usual.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Heather Hastie says:

    Once again Valerie, a fantastic piece. Your writing is always clear, considered, and intelligent. (It probably helps that every article I’ve read I agree with wholeheartedly! :-) )

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Lorie Lucky says:

    Awesome essay, Valerie. One particular phrase became my favorite: “Fertility management tools”. YES!
    And not only are closely spaced multiple pregnancies unhealthy for babies, they are also unhealthy for the woman, who can suffer from long-term calcium loss to her bone structure, particularly in the hips and pelvis.
    I recently attended the funeral of a man who was the single father of his son for 4 years before remarrying. I happened to ask the couple sitting in front of me if they had every met the mother, and the woman angrily replied that yes, she had, and hoped she’d had no more children, since she’d ‘abandoned’ Joe, Jr. I responded, “Well, abortion wasn’t legal then, and perhaps her choices were very limited.” The woman stared at me and said “I’d never thought of that”. We can still significantly change the way people think about abortion.
    I’ve always been happily Pro-Abortion! Congratulations on teasing out every possible correct argument. “Hypothetical or potential people” also rings mightily.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. hyperoptic says:

    Fascinating article and very well written. I must say that you paint an excellent picture for many human and practical reasons to be in favor of abortion. Quite the compelling article to say the least. I hope to achieve a level of clarity like the kind that is in most of this article.

    I’m curious how you would respond to someone who would say that conception is the beginning of life and thus that “abortion is murder” type of thing. I was hoping you would address that more directly in your article (since it seems to be the strongest counter-argument, at least to my knowledge), but it seems the closest you get is in your idea of sentient human beings, which is a very interesting one (because it seems you take the position that a sufficient level of consciousness fails to arise in pregnancy). Although that was never directly stated, I would conjecture that it can be inferred from your later statement, “In this moral universe, real people count more than potential people, hypothetical people or corporate people.” (which slightly concerns me because your criteria for “real” seems to be largely in favor towards more emotional, dynamic people, or that is at least as I interpret your argument in the ideas of living beings and sentience as in the paragraph of point 6) “I’m pro-abortion because I think morality is about the well-being of sentient beings.” What I find as the most interesting point is what qualifies as “sentient” to you because I think you argue that sentient qualifies as emotional, empathetic, and so on and so forth, and as one moves away from those characteristics, one matters less in the moral framework. Those are just some inferences that I am gathering from point 6 and I could be wrong. I do know you meant this concept in the context of fetuses, but I can’t help but wonder how those implications could go beyond that. I am just very weary to think that certain people count more than others so to speak. But most would agree consciousness is a good universal starting point in the criteria for a human, which is why I wanted to hear from you how you respond to that counter-argument above. Further I would love to hear more on the idea of sentience and your defense as to the criteria for why it matters in the moral context.

    Being a guy, I do not consider myself eligible to have an opinion on abortion, although I do love observing the arguments that are made (and I happen to be surrounded with people that would enormously disagree with this post lol). This post does an amazing job of listing out excellent reasons to embrace abortion. It’s certainly one of the best that I have read, and I’ve read quite a few.

    I do apologize for the long comment, but I hope you find it thoughtful or useful in some way.

    Like

  21. C. Fields says:

    i appreciated the depth of thought and insight you have given this topic. I am one of the babies born in a “Catholic homes for unwed mothers” that you mentioned. If the culture in those days (Ireland in the 1950’s) had permitted abortion, I guess I wouldn’t be here typing this! LOL. I’m sure I was not wanted. And, in those times, young women were given NO choice, except to give birth and surrender the child for adoption. It was a horrible system, subjecting thousands of women to a life of pain.
    But, my point here is I was not aborted. My mother’s fertility was unmanaged. I was the result. I was probably not wanted. I was no doubt the source of horrific pain, possibly even for most of her life. But, despite the conditions of my conception, I exist today. What are your thoughts on the non-aborted ones, whose conceptions are inconvenient, unintentional or produced in violence?

    Like

    • What a thoughtful, nuanced way to ask such a deeply personal and emotional question.

      To me there are two related but different moral mandates at play here, each of which serves human wellbeing:
      1. Empowering parents to bring babies into the world under the best possible circumstances for them and their offspring–to live lives of their choosing and to stack the odds in favor of their children flourishing.
      2. Caring for and loving the people who are here so they can live life to the fullest.

      I see these as wholly compatible and complementary–they are both about empowering people to flourish.

      Each of us comes into the world through some set of fluky circumstances. As I said, if my mother had rolled over differently after having sex on the night I was conceived, I wouldn’t be here; someone else would. So it’s not like some of our lives have merit by virtue of the circumstances of our conception and birth and others don’t, whether a pregnancy was intended or not. Also, a potential pregnancy is “aborted” every time a teenage girl decides to stay abstinent for a while longer and declines to have unprotected sex with her boyfriend. The same is true whenever a woman contracepts or even uses the rhythm method. Choosing to forego some potential persons is something we all do all the time, whether we are sexually active or not. It doesn’t diminish the value of the lives that are carried forward (though bad circumstances may certainly diminish the quality of those lives).

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Nat says:

    Elsewhere in your blog, you slam the Judeo-Christian God for genocide, war, etc, but publically endorse the mass murder of millions of unborn children. I’m not religious and never have been. I just see that as hypocritical. I too have had an abortion, which in my eyes, is the biggest mistake I have ever made. I put myself first. I was incredibly selfish. I justified my actions in a way that allowed me to temporarily escape all personal responsibility and accountability for my irresponsibility. I’ve met so many women (and men) who feel exactly the same and it can leave an emotional scar that lasts a lifetime. Many women do still decide to go ahead with unplanned pregnancies even though they have the option to abort. They accept their responsibility and do their best to make it work. They adapt. They change. They make it work. Perhaps if they waited another 10 years, they might have saved enough to get the child into a better school. But maybe they would have been unable to have children in 10 years for reasons unknown to them at the time. Human life is so very precious and each baby that is aborted, never gets to have a say in this (nor can they).

    Like

    • I am very sorry that you have regretted your abortion, and that this has been painful for you. All of us make decisions that we later regret, even if we are making the best decision we know how to at the time. But bringing a new life forward, or not, is one of the biggest decisions any of us can ever make. It is hugely consequential for the woman making the decision, those who love her, her children, and even her community. It literally puts your life on a different path, and the emotional weight of that decision can feel heavy in either case.

      Also, women have very different beliefs about the moral standing of a potential child or budding child. For some, the distinction between an embryo and a child feels as clear as the distinction between an acorn and an oak tree. For others, there is something that feels profoundly different about a budding human life. I think regret can feel particularly deep (and wounding) when we realize that we have violated our own values.

      Like you, some women who choose to give babies up for adoption or who choose to raise a child from an unsought pregnancy sometimes regret their decisions. I wish that all women received better counseling to help them make decisions that they can live with by exploring their own values, priorities, and options, so they can more easily live with the decisions they have made.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. hazeldisposition says:

    Reblogged this on Hazel Disposition.

    Like

  24. Kristen Armstrong says:

    “Liberals believe that flies are worth protecting but that the life of an unborn child is not” –our new Presidential hopeful, Carly Fiorina….dontchya just love her?

    Hey Val, I did enjoy your article, below, and like your list of why’s. Sending hugs to you, Kris

    Kristen Armstrong kristen@kristenarmstrong.com 707.363.6552

    Like

  25. Lowell Bushey says:

    Hi, Valerie,

    The pro choice movement has been reluctant to address the morality of abortion, and, IMO, this has been a mistake. While control over one’s own body is certainly a legitimate consideration, even pro choice individuals sometimes experience a certain amount of moral trepidation about terminating a pregnancy. Thanks for pointing out that there are MORALLY CORRECT reasons for doing so!

    Lowell Bushey

    Like

  26. Pingback: Helvetica Stone | Condoms are so hundred years ago: Why we need more ways for men to control their fertility

  27. Reblogged this on Life Weavings and commented:
    Very much this: “How and when, we choose to carry forward a new life can stack the odds in favor of our children or against them, and to me that is a sacred trust.”

    Like

    • Sharon Ammen says:

      Thank you, David, for this comment. Abortion rights are under attack from those who cannot begin to understand the loss of life that happens when these rights do not exist. It is time for us all to stand up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been pro-choice for many years but hadn’t considered some of the nuances like Tarico writes of in this article. To see motherhood as a deliberate conscious act with the best resources is to truly support parenting. Anything else diminishes women to being subject to mere biology. We’re all better than that and our children deserve better as well.

        Like

      • Thank you, David. Beautifully said.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Most welcome. I’m considering writing a piece as a response, focusing from a male perspective and the lack of social pressure to accept responsibility when pregnancy occurs. How then being pro-abortion as a male can actually be a step towards acknowledging women as being more than receptacles for our potential offspring.

        Like

      • That sounds like a valuable piece of commentary.

        Like

      • Sharon Ammen says:

        Wonderful. I am an older woman–63–without children. I lost someone to an illegal abortion. When I was young, the anti-abortion movement was quite clear in their efforts: “In ten years from now we’ll have young women thinking this is a religious issue>” (quote from a male picketer at an abortion clinic.

        Like

      • Ironically, it is a religious issue – a fundamentalist issue.

        Like

      • Thank you. Will let you know when I write it.

        Like

  28. Sharon Ammen says:

    What I have noticed–and I suppose it is obvious to you, Valerie, is that most people who take what they call a “pro-life” stance do indeed balk at forcing a victim of rape or incest to bear the child. Yet–if asked why they are pro-life–they will focus on the life of the fetus. Of course, the life of the fetus has nothing to do with the means of conception. What is really the chief concern is the guilt or innocence of the woman involved. I think that is what the young male protester was telling me when he said he could make this into a religious issue–his objective was much like the 19th century anti-abortion preachers who warned men that their wives would be able to “get rid of” the evidence of extra-marital affairs. His objective was control of women–but he wanted young women to focus on the life of the fetus in order to not be aware of this. I have also noticed that social expectations of how one should react to having an abortion often trigger that reaction. When I was young, just after abortion rights were won in 1973, I knew many women who had abortions. We were expected NOT to feel badly about them–and most of us did not. As time went on, and the antiabortionist movement gathered steam–one was supposed to ALWAYS feel distressed after an abortion–and many did. It is difficult to tell how one really feels when social expectations exert so much influence.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Teamscottsmith says:

    I was just arguing these points the other day, though not as eloquently. Well said, and time someone said it. Furthermore, I think the negative stigma needs to be countered, and the idea of abortions for the positive good they bring needs to be promoted. I’d love to see a huge promotional ad campaign.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. rayven131 says:

    My mother was raped. She was sick to boot. She became pregnant with me. The doctors told her to abort. That if she tried to give birth to me it would either kill one, or both of us. My mother didn’t die. Oh no. She lived long enough for me to watch her waste away. I grew up looking at my sick mother with the knowledge that my birth was the reason she was in that bed dying. I grew up with the knowledge that my father was a rapist. I grew up knowing that I wasn’t wanted. My family would look at me, and I would see it in their eyes. The blame. I’m the reason she died. My mother let me know from a very young age how I came to be. She didn’t believe in holding anything back. I was conceived through hate, pain, and regret. And my life slowly sucked the life out of a good woman. Pro life people always say what would the aborted baby have to say about an abortion. Well, I am that baby and I say abort. My mother should have aborted me. She should be alive, not me. My brother should have his mother. My step dad should have his wife. My nephew should have his grandma. My mother was a good woman and she should be alive, not me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon Ammen says:

      RAven–I am so sorry that this has been your life–but I hope that–since you are indeed here–you realize that none of these things are your fault in any way. You can still make a good life for yourself. I knw–my words may sound empty–but my heart weeps for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • koppieop says:

      Your mother didn’t believe in holding anything back; she told you of your conception through hate, pain, regret.
      Yet, you say she was a good woman, I am amazed to read that, and I must say I would not be able to have such a noble thought, I find it difficult to understand that you feel guilty about the non-abortion. I do hope you will somehow overcome that perception and be happy. Too bad your mother did not show you the sunny side of the street.-

      Like

  31. Audrey says:

    Great article, thank you!

    Like

  32. Pingback: Papal Decree on Abortion Shows How Religion Hooks People By Inducing then Absolving Guilt | Freethought

  33. Pingback: The Yuck Factor - The Faithless Feminist

  34. Lisa Hirsch says:

    Thank you so much for this.

    Like

  35. Robyn Ryan says:

    A woman’s life is more important than a sperm.

    Like

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