Oftentimes when someone is upset or in distress over a decision, they are encouraged to talk about it. Getting it out in the open is sometimes the best therapy. Lately some organizations have hosted events or created special websites or Twitter topics to encourage women to get something off their chests: a previous abortion. Why? So that abortion will become destigmatized and easily accepted into today’s culture. Abortion has a stigma on it because many people, including many young Americans, know it’s wrong and ends a life.
Abortion should be stigmatized.
Due to the leaps and bounds that science has taken over the past several decades that enable life in the darkness of the womb to be seen by anyone, abortion advocates can no longer argue that a preborn baby is merely a clump of cells. During my six-week ultrasound last month, the heartbeat of my baby was clearly seen and heard.
And abortion advocates have conceded that point – that the preborn baby is a life and that abortion ends that life. And some of them just don’t care. Salon.com featured an article last year entitled, “So what if abortion ends a life?” where the author freely admits she knows that life begins at conception and she doesn’t care that abortion takes that life.
How can abortion not be stigmatized when it clearly ends a human life?
Yet it is exactly the strategy that abortion advocates are pursuing when they are encouraging women who have abortions to speak out. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards is taking the lead when she admitted recently to having an abortion of her own, which she described as not a “difficult decision.”
How do her other children feel knowing that their sibling’s life was ended and that their mother did it so easily?
However, the same organization Ms. Richards runs notes that abortion can indeed be a hard choice to make. Many other women who have had abortions and who advocate for abortion, like Hillary Clinton, call abortion a difficult decision as well. But apparently that’s part of the stigmatization problem.
The former communications director at Emily’s List, a political action committee which helps get pro-choice women elected to office, claims that the pro-choice side needs to stop saying abortion is a hard decision because it’s not helping their case: “[W]hen the pro-choice community frames abortion as a difficult decision, it implies that women need help deciding, which opens the door to paternalistic and demeaning ‘informed consent’ laws. It also stigmatizes abortion and the women who need it.”
So first admit abortion is a hard choice, then say that it really doesn’t matter that a life ends, then call it a pretty easy decision so that abortion becomes as common a topic as whether or not to get a flu shot this year.
Abortion hurts women – and kills a child – and that is something that needs to be brought into the open and talked about. One study showed that 31 percent of women who have had abortions report suffering physical health problems and 65 percent showed symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Two other studies showed that suicide is six times higher in women who have had abortions than give birth.
There are so many women who need help following their abortions and this is what needs to be destigmatized. It’s okay for them to seek help. It’s ok for them to talk about their pain. The pro-life movement has many resources available to women who seek help after an abortion that are non-judgmental.
Many women who have had abortions felt that they had no choice in the matter or were so ridden with anxiety that they just wanted to “fix” the problem and not seek out alternatives. Pro-lifers need to be there for these women for whatever support they need. They need to be kind and compassionate and loving.
Taking a life can never be destigmatized no matter how many people come forward to say it was no big deal to do so.
Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America.
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