This movement encourages [deeply troubled women] to pinpoint their abortion(s) as the fountainhead of all their disturbance, a devastating act they committed in powerlessness and ignorance, one foisted on them by a no-good man, by an evil lying abortionist who told them it was only a "blob of tissue," by a callous culture. Writer Emily Bazelon concludes the article:Read the whole thing.And then there is the relief in seizing on a single clear explanation for a host of unwanted and overwhelming feelings, a cause for everything gone wrong. When Arias surveyed 104 of the prisoners she had counseled in 2004, two-thirds reported depression related to abortion, 32 percent reported suicide attempts related to abortion and 84 percent linked substance abuse to their abortions. They had a new key for unlocking themselves. And a way to make things right. “You have well-meaning therapists or political crusaders, paired with women who are troubled and experiencing a variety of vague symptoms,” Brenda Major, the U.C. Santa Barbara psychology professor, explained to me. “The therapists and crusaders offer a diagnosis that gives meaning to the symptoms, and that gives the women a way to repent. You can’t repent depressive symptoms. But you can repent an action.” You can repent an abortion. You can reach for a narrative of sin and atonement, of perfect imagined babies waiting in heaven.It's complicated. Yes, female powerlessness is a major cause of unwanted pregnancy and abortion: women are forced into sex or are afraid to say no or they try to trade sex for love; they find themselves pregnant with bad, irresponsible boyfriends, no job, no money, and at best fragile plans to complete their education and make something of themselves. Sadly, choosing to end a pregnancy in such circumstances sometimes gives a woman almost the only feeling of power she's ever had. Other times, she wants to hold on to the pregnancy (I did), but is pressured out of it by the man.
Nonetheless, I think, to try to coddle the woman and encourage her to think of herself as another innocent victim is to disempower her all over again....
... I don't want to forgive myself. First of all, guilt is not what I feel. I feel regret, which is appropriate and irrevocable. I don't torture myself or suffer psychological disturbance as a result of having had an abortion; I'm too healthy and probably too pagan for that. What I suffer is barrenness for myself and loneliness for someone who should have been literally as close to me as my own heart, whose face I never saw and whose voice I never heard. (The latter struck me only recently, and I wondered why I hadn't thought of it before.) What I suffer is being alone in the world and disconnected from life in the most primitive way. And that is appropriate. That is a fact. Those are the consequences of the choice I made.
January 23, 2007
"... I've always resisted the consolation industry, the people who show up with Kleenex after plane crashes, or hold 'post-abortive' workshops allowing you to 'grieve, forgive yourself, and move on.'" Amba writes: