I have strong opinions with regards to abortion – strong but conflicted. When I read Joyce Arthur ‘s article at Talk2Action I was first angered by the hypocrisy, but then tried to figure out what drove this sort of attitude. The article documents a (large) number of cases where anti-abortion activists insist on their right to have what they would deny others. In some of the cases the doctors knew the women because they were regular protestors outside their clinics (and returned to that action after their abortion). In other cases they were called murderers by the very women who were asking for abortions, and called the other women in the waiting rooms “sluts” and worse.
So what drives this sort of behaviour? According to Arthur:
Many anti-choice women are convinced that their need for abortion is unique – not like those “other” women – even though they have abortions for the same sorts of reasons. Anti-choice women often expect special treatment from clinic staff. Some demand an abortion immediately, wanting to skip important preliminaries such as taking a history or waiting for blood test results. Frequently, anti-abortion women will refuse counseling (such women are generally turned away or referred to an outside counselor because counseling at clinics is mandatory). Some women insist on sneaking in the back door and hiding in a room away from other patients. Others refuse to sit in the waiting room with women they call “sluts” and “trash.” Or if they do, they get angry when other patients in the waiting room talk or laugh, because it proves to them that women get abortions casually, for “convenience”.
People always seen their own case as special. Sometimes the disconnect from reality is mind-blowing.
A 21 year old woman and her mother drove three hours to come to their appointment for an abortion. They were surprised to find the clinic a ‘nice’ place with friendly, personable staff. While going over contraceptive options, they shared that they were Pro-Life and disagreed with abortion, but that the patient could not afford to raise a child right now. Also, she wouldn’t need contraception since she wasn’t going to have sex until she got married, because of her religious beliefs.
Are people really this disconnected from reality? Would they really rather get pregnant than admit to themselves that they are having sex? Using abortion as a form of birth control because you can’t be bothered to use other forms is terrible. Trying to pin the blame for that on religion is worse. In my opinion, abortion should be legal, safe and very rare. “Abstinence only” education makes abortion and sexually transmitted diseases more common. People who seek to deny abortion for others (but not themselves) are not motivated by “life” – they are not “pro-life” and they are clearly anti-women.