Millions of American Women Do Not Regret Their Abortions: You Cannot Erase Us

Normally, I just delete the trolly comments that come my way. Today, though, I received a pretty fantastic comment from one Jacqueline Dorman:

Have you ever had an abortion personally? It’s a horrible experience. I have worked with post abortive women for 10 years and they are physically, mentally and emotionally scarred by their “choice”. I’m not so much pro-life as I am pro-woman and I see them after they make their “choice” and 90% of them regret it and wish they would have known how it was going to affect them physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.. Every time they hear a baby cry, when their projected due date rolls around every year, when they become pregnant with a “wanted” child. A majority of them suffer from PTSD…you may only see them before the abortion and I can tell you the aftermath is very tragic. You seem to really care about women and I really encourage you to talk to some post abortive women 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years later and see what they have to say now. Let’s push contraception as much as we can because abortion is a choice that no woman should ever have to make.

[Emphasis mine.]

Jacqueline is probably oblivious to the fact that she is making a wonderful argument in favor of increasing Pro-Choice activism. The fact that many people actually wholeheartedly believe that most women who seek an abortion will suffer great psychological harm should serve as a reminder to those of us on this side who support women’s choices; that is, why projects such as My Abortion, My Life are so incredibly vital to preserving our right to terminate a pregnancy for any reason we deem sufficient. The majority of women who speak publicly of their abortion are indeed the women who have decided they regret their choice. Those of us who do not have regrets – the real majority – are very rarely ‘out’ about it, which paves the road for the anti-choice movement to exploit regretful women and erase all the rest. Leading people like Jacqueline to emphatically state with such confidence that of the approximately 50 million  women who have sought legal abortion(s) since 1973, 45 million of them do or will regret their decision.

This is, to put it gently, a vastly flawed conclusion to draw; especially so when you take into account the numerous neutral medical organizations that have long ago debunked this myth.

Says the American Psychological Association:

The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy. […] Across studies, prior mental health emerged as the strongest predictor of postabortion mental health. Many of these same factors also predict negative psychological reactions to other types of stressful life events, including childbirth, and, hence, are not uniquely predictive of psychological responses following abortion.

Interestingly, the APA identifies “Perceptions of stigma” as one of the primary reasons a post-abortive woman may experience negative feelings after her procedure. (See: rabidly angry old men waving fake fetus posters from the sidewalk – I mean, “sidewalk counselors”.) Quoting from the 2009 APA study, “The claim that observed associations between abortion history and a mental health problem are caused by the abortion per se, as opposed to other factors, is not supported by the existing evidence.”

The American Medical Association has reached the same conclusion, and the Guttmacher Institute also has a vast array of sources discrediting this so-called “Post Abortion Syndrome”. Yet, the idea persists.

One of the reasons this myth is so disingenuous and malicious is the fact that women who carry to term are at risk of experiencing harmful mental health conditions such as postpartum depression (PPD). The Center For Disease Control recently found that “According to a recent CDC survey, 11% to 18% of women reported having frequent postpartum depressive symptoms.” So, why do the anti-choicers believe that the silly wommenz need to be protected from only one of their three pregnancy options because it might make them all sad and stuff, but they’re not the least bit concerned with women who actually carry to term only to experience anything from mild depression to actual psychosis? Why aren’t they out there warning women at fertility clinics of the risks of PPD? Or placenta previa? Gestational diabetes? Pre enclampsia? Even death?

The notion that the other side is only “concerned” for the health of women and children falls to pieces after a mere minute of close examination. It’s almost boringly easy to debunk their falsehoods and scare tactics. If their cause was so just, they wouldn’t feel the need to fabricate reasons for supporting it.

Now, my personal response to Jacqueline, which will from here on out be a universal reply to any troll who wanders over to this space to parrot harmful myths:

Dear Anti,

Don’t presume to speak for all women who have chosen abortion – in fact, don’t ever presume to speak for all women, period. Studies – actual, verified, peer reviewed studies – have proven that the most common emotion after an abortion is relief. Women who regret their abortions are a minority. The same cannot be said for women who are pressured, baited and outright lied to by assholes feeding them long ago debunked myths about abortion causing breast cancer, infertility, etc. (nope, not at all, not even a little bit true.), women that carry to term ONLY because they’re scared shitless of abortion, who end up giving the baby they spent fourty weeks of hard labor creating to strangers; strangers who have absolutely zero legal liability to honor ANY aspect of the adoption agreement they worked out with the birth mother.

I suppose you’d rather we return to the good ol’ days when the only options were: parenting a child that was never wanted; seeking an illegal and sometimes deadly abortion; or being hidden away in secret during pregnancy only to have their child taken from them without informed consent and spend the rest of their lives wondering where their child is and how they are doing.

While it is actually TRUE that more women regret adoption than those who regret abortion, unlike you, I advocate for a woman to have a choice, period. Adoption, abortion, parenting – there is no right or wrong choice. Only the women who owns that particular uterus and the contents therein deserves to decide what is right or moral. Not you, and certainly not I.

Which is why the clinic that I volunteer for not only offers abortion, but birth control and pregnancy tests, too; we also work directly with one particular adoption agency that has established itself as a strong advocate for the birth mother and who will inform her of all the legalities of an open or closed adoption, and minimize the chances of regret by giving her the love and support she needs through that process.

Normally, I wouldn’t have taken the time to respond to someone so clearly misinformed – at least, I assume you’re simply misinformed, as I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt here! – but you’re a little different than the usual anti-choice comment er in that you actually support contraceptive use to prevent unintended pregnancy in the first place. So I sure do hope you are investing volunteer time and money in Planned Parenthood, who’ve done more to prevent abortions in this country than ALL so-called “Pro-Life” organizations put together, as they object to contraceptive use entirely.

I have, indeed, had an abortion. Relief was, indeed, the strongest feeling afterwards. I’d rather kill a hundred non-sentient embryos than bring an unwanted child into this world – and NO, adoption was not an option for me. I’ll be damned if I risk health and my very life to create a new person with absolutely no payoff to myself. I can see you spitting “selfish!!” at your screen, and it’s ok. I make no apologies for placing value of myself above that of a zygote, embryo or even fetus when science has proven these life forms can not possibly even BEGIN to be self aware, or feel any pain, before the cerebral cortex is developed enough to receive those signals. It is biologically impossible. I, however, am an actual sentient person who can feel. Pain, love, joy, sadness, and everything else imaginable. I am worth more than coat hangers, rapey back alley (fake) “doctors”, worth more than mere chattel.

I have, indeed, spent time with many women before and after their abortions. That includes patients, of course; but it also includes my friends. One friend just had an abortion a few months ago. She is done raising children, and was not about to start all over again just because the asshole she slept with slipped the condom off. Thankfully, there was somewhere safe for her to go. Another friend had one back in 2003, and has experienced absolutely no regret. Thankfully, she, too had somewhere safe to go. And I have many more stories where that came from.

I don’t doubt that there are women who regret their abortions. However, I will not stand for the amount of these women being completely exaggerated and inflated on my site. You’d sound a lot more reasonable if you just presented the facts, and shared how exactly YOU plan to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies in order to prevent the need for abortion. (Again, see Planned Parenthood.)

Women AND men make major life decisions and later regret it. This is called living life. People regret having children too young, they regret trusting an open adoption only to be burned by adoptive parents who cut off contact despite promises not to, they regret marrying the ‘wrong’ person and having to endure divorce, they regret smoking too many cigarettes and making their teeth yellow, they regret choosing adoption at all even if the adoptive parents do keep their agreement, they regret their major in college, they regret ever having children at all. The idea that the possibility of regret is a reason to paint something as bad, horrible awful always always wrong for EVERY ONE NO MATTER WHAT OMGWTFBBQ is therefore an invalid argument. If we as a society followed this line of thinking to it’s logical conclusion, there would be nothing left for anyone to regret.

Prevention First! Round 2

The petition to demand reasonable and swift action against misinformation in sexual education programs and lack of preventative care for survivors of assault has been re-launched. Instead of Change.org, this one is hosted on SignOn.org in the hopes that we get some promotion from the progressive action group MoveOn.org. Both bills are currently stuck in committee, and this petition not only targets all Ohio legislators to take action, it also sends separate individual email alerts to the House and Senate Committee Chairs in an effort to get these bills to the floor for a vote.

This isn’t the first time that these Prevention First bills have been introduced, as Sen. Turner and Rep. Antonio discuss in this February interview. In the past, Prevention was left to languish in committee without ever even receiving a vote. Considering the “concern” our Republican controlled legislature has demonstrated about our lady-parts, you’d think they’d be ecstatically enthusiastic about legislation that would not only reduce the number of Ohio’s unintended pregnancies (thereby reducing abortion) but would save taxpayers money in a time of economic hardship. It’s common knowledge now that every dollar invested in helping women avoid unintended pregnancies saves $3.74 in Medicaid expenditures, that otherwise would have been used for maternity care.

In order to hold our elected officials accountable, in order to force them to do their jobs of representing the best interest of Ohio residents, we need to push them. The Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act (SB 283/HB 419) and The Act for Our Children’s Future (SB 232/HB 338) will forever languish in committee if our officials feel they can get away with ignoring the needs of those most vulnerable in our society: our youth and our survivors of assault.

Please add your signature now, share this petition on your social networking accounts, and consider placing a phone call to the Committee Chairs, whose names can be found at the petition site. Or just use your zip code to find your Legislators, and give them a call.

Ohio deserves a fair shot at Prevention.

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Have you registered for the upcoming Lobby Day this Wednesday? NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio are working together to combat the War on Women!

If you can’t make it, don’t worry – you can still help Ohio women access their constitutional right to reproductive care by donating to the Cleveland Pro-Choice Escorts bowling team HERE.

Activism, YAY! Ohio’s October Event Round-up

This is just the beginning of the October list. Please notify me of any events in the coming month so I can add!

*UPDATED as of 10/7/11*

October 1

Southeast Ohio Solidarity Rally
When? 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Where? Gallia County Junior Fairgrounds, 189 Jackson Pike, Gallipolis, OH
What? SERIOUS ACTIVISM AND FUN! Visit the booths of area unions and learn what your brothers and sisters in solidarity are doing to win the fight. Network and sign up to volunteer if you haven’t already done so. KID ZONE: Teachers from Southeast Ohio Education Association along with Ohio University students will have games, crafts, face painting, balloon sculpture, inflatables and more. FOOD AND DRINK: Provided by area Democrats and Republicans working together to fight SB5. LIVE MUSIC: The Boys of the Hock, The Magic Mama Band, The Cincinnati Emerald Society Police & Fire Pipes & Drums. SPEAKERS: Sherrod Brown, Jennifer Brunner, Ted Strickland, Pam Smith, and MORE!
Call 740-637-8198 to reserve your organization’s free booth. (Booths are assigned first come, first serve. There are a limited number still available.)
RSVP? On Facebook

October 2

First Annual Non-Violence Parade and Rally
When? 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Where? Lincoln Ave., Youngstown, OH
What? Ohio Lady Advocates will be participating in Youngstown’s first ever Non-Violence parade in celebration of Non-Violence Week (Oct. 2-8). The parade is open to all nonprofit organizations such as youth groups, athletic teams, church groups, neighborhood watch groups as well as businesses and government officials and politicians. We will start on Lincoln Ave. in front of the new YSU business school and proceed downtown. March with us in the parade and shout with us at the rally to help us wipe out violence!
RSVP? On Facebook

October 3

Akron LGBTU Special Event: You Should Meet My Son!
When? 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Where? Student Union Theater
What? We’re going to be showing the movie “You Should Meet My Son!” It’s safe to say that it’ll truly be a movie to remember. The idea is fairly simple: a conservative mother is horrified to find out that her only son is gay. However, determined to make sure her son doesn’t live his life alone, she sets out to find him the perfect husband. The movie will be followed by a discussion. So we can talk about how super-mega-funny-awesome-cool it was, obviously. :) We hope to see as many of you there as can come. Let’s fill up that theater!
RSVP? On Facebook

October 5

GLASA’s Drag Show
When? 4:30pm – 8:00pm
Where? Cleveland State University’s Main Classroom Auditorium
What? The Drag Race this year will be hosted by Stone LeBeau and Rosario Garcia. The admission price is free with donations for GLASA welcome and to perform the price is 5$ before 9/29/2011 and 10$ up to 10/05/2011 after the 29th of September. In addition to the large prize of an iPod for contestants, there will also be a few opportunities for audience members to compete for smaller prizes such as gift cards to some amazing restaurants!
IF you are planning on participating please email and let them know your song and when you can pay.
RSVP? On Facebook and email IF PERFORMING at cleveland.state.glasa@gmail.com

October 5

#Occupy Cleveland
When? 12:00pm – Ongoing until December 31 – Please see below under “Ongoing”
Where? Willard Park Cleveland, OH
What? The time has come to deploy this emerging stratagem against the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America. It’s time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY! Our nation, our species and our world are in crisis. The US has an important role to play in the solution, but we can no longer afford to let corporate greed and corrupt politics set the policies if our nation. More info about the protests around the globe, and what’s happening on Wall Street.
RSVP? On Facebook

October 7

LGBT Safe Zone Ally Training – By Alexis Melville & Kim Langrehr
When? 1:00pm – 3:30pm
Where? Rm. 316, Student Union, The University of Akron
What? Make your office/cubical/desk a safe zone and learn about the LGBT community. IMPORTANT: Anyone interested in attending must e-mail Dr. Hayden at ehayden@uakron.edu to register. RSVP as this training session is limited to 25.
RSVP? Email ehayden@uakron.edu AND On Facebook (You MUST email!)

October 11

NEOAVER Meeting – National Veterans Coming Out Day
When? 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Where? Twist Social Club, 11633 Clifton Blvd, Cleveland, OH
What? Since 2005, AVER has been celebrating NVCOD – National Veterans Coming Out Day on 11 October. Do your veteran friends know you’re queer? Do your queer friends know you’re a veteran? And now for the first time … it’s legal for our brothers and sisters in arms, who we pray will also become veterans, to come out while they are still in service. Come celebrate this landmark occasion with us!
RSVP? On Facebook

October 11

NCOD Open Mic with ZPN
When? 9:00am – 2:00pm
Where? Starbucks Lounge at University of Akron Student Union
What? We’re working with ZPN to host an open mic event for National Coming Out Day. You can sing, dance, recite poetry, OR…if you don’t want to perform at all, we have cards with facts about National Coming Out Day on them. If you can read, we want YOU! The open mic will take place in the Starbucks Lounge in the Student Union from 9 AM to 2 PM. I know that’s early, but hopefully you can still at least come and sit for a spell.
RSVP? On Facebook

October 12

Jobs Not Cuts: Week of Action Event by MoveOn
When? 12:00pm
Where? “Free Stamp” next to City Hall, E. 9th St. & Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, OH
What? The event will gather at the “Free Stamp” and then march across the street to the building which houses Senator Portman’s office. We will march and chant with signs for about one hour on East 9th St. to gain attention to Jobs not Cuts and to bring to people’s attention how much Senator Portman is worth and how much he pays in taxes.
RSVP? On Moveon.org

October 14

Fundraiser Wing Ding For Molly Kuhlenschmidt 
When? 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Where? Scoundrels, 826 Front Street, Berea, OH
What? Molly Kuhlenschmidt is two years old and was diagnosed with Leukemia a little over a month ago. Since then, Molly has had surgery, chemo and multiple hospital stays. TICKETS: $25 Includes beer, well-drinks, pizza, wings, rigatoni and salad. 50/50 Raffles and Raffles for baskets with great items inside! If you can’t make the event to help support this family, please consider making a donation. CHECKS CAN BE MADE OUT TO MOLLY OR MEGAN KUHLENSCHMIDT and can be given to Danielle, Rennee or directly to the family. YOU CAN ALSO MAKE A DONATION THROUGH PAYPAL UNDER: mollynoelle@sbcglobal.net
RSVP? On Facebook

October 14

Cleveland Tar Sands Action
When? 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Where? Shaker Square Organizing for America office, 13100 Shaker Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio
What? The Oil Extraction Industry fiercely wants to open up an additional pipeline, called the Keystone XL pipeline, from the Alberta Tar Sands project in Canada through Montana and several other states to reach Texas for processing and export. From August 20th to September 3rd, 1253 people were arrested in front of the White House in protest of this dirty, destructive, and dangerous project. Signing the permit is directly under President Obama’s control, and he has stated that he wants to make a decision by the end of 2011. We are continuing to send him the message all over the country that destroying the environment and displacing native peoples, in this case in the form of Tar Sands oil and the Keystone XL pipeline, is unacceptable for any reason. We will be combining with protesters in Columbus and Cincinnati to have coordinated protests on October 15 in order to continue pressing this issue at President Obama’s campaign offices.
RSVP? On Facebook

October 20

Akron LGBTU: Teaching Tolerance with Akron PFLAG
When? 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Where? North Springfield Presbyterian Church, 671 North Canton Road, Akron, Ohio
What? Featuring “Bullied” which, if you missed the event made for the meeting on the 11th, tells the story of Jamie Nabozny, a boy who fought in the courts for his rights, making a landmark case in which the court held the school responsible for preventing the victimization of students regardless of sexuality or gender identity/expression. A discussion will follow the screening of the movie, and it’ll be a chance to get in touch with members of the local PFLAG chapter. Which can only be a good thing, especially if you’d like to give your own family members or close friends information about PFLAG or anything like that.
RSVP? On Facebook

October 21

2nd Annual Purple Light Night Walk
When? 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Where? 1400 West 25th Street, Cleveland, OH
What? This Walk offers support to families, friends and individuals impacted by Domestic Violence. We encourage you to come, bring a friend and wear PURPLE, the national color of domestic violence, to show your support of Purple Light Nights. WALK DETAILS: Walk begins at W. 25th Street & Detroit and ends at W. 9th Street & Superior. Upon reaching W. 9th Street, there will be a purple balloon release in honor of domestic violence victims.
RSVP? On Facebook

October 22

Akron LGBTU Dine & Dance For Equality
When? 10:00pm – 2:30am
Where? Dine at Diamond Deli, 378 S Main St., Akron, OH Dance At Square, 820 W. Market St, Akron, OH
What? OPEN TO ALL!! Allies and LGBT community members, come and join with the students’ of the University of Akron’s LGBTU as we dine and dance the night away in support of equality!
RSVP? On Facebook

October 27

Making Space to Talk About Abortion, Faith, and Religion: Preterm, MAML, Faith Aloud
When? 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Where? Preterm, 12000  Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH
What? The executive director for Faith Aloud, a compelling religious voice for Reproductive Justice, Rev. Turner will speak about abortion as a moral decision and how Pro-Choice people can address religious/spiritual issues in abortion conversations and create safe spaces for these conversations. Rev. Turner’s audience includes faith leaders, members of faith communities, and reproductive justice advocates interested in the spiritual dimensions of their work, as well as those who may have stepped back from religion because of the negative messages about abortion.
RSVP? On Facebook and you MUST ALSO EMAIL Linda@myabortionmylife.org

October 27

OHLA‘s H”OHLA”-ween Fundraiser
When? 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Where? Unitarian Universalist Church, 1105 Elm. St., Youngstown, OH
What? Join the Ohio Lady Advocates for our first FUNdraiser and H”OHLA”-ween extravaganza! We’ll have a great time with delicious food and drink, crazy costumes, and marvelous music. Tickets are $5 for Students – $8 pre-order – $10 at the door. All proceeds go towards the Ohio Lady Advocates: for healthy women, families, and communities. Come celebrate with us so we can continue fighting real things that nightmares are made of.
RSVP? On Facebook, email ohioladyadvocates@gmail.com

October 27

Justice Rocks: Live Music from Austin Walkin Cane/Last Call/oldboy
When? 6:00pm – 2:00am
Where? Around The Corner, 18616 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, OH
What? Halloween Guest Bartending Event! We’re bringing it back to the West Side of town. Be sure not to miss this event with 25 bartenders behind the bar at Around the Corner. We figured its so close to Halloween lets dress up. (Dressing up is optional but a special surprise for those in costume) Doors will open at 6pm and we will have pizza and dessert once again until it runs out. Christmas Ale will be made available for purchase until it runs out. The talented band line up will start at 7pm with Austin Walker Cain, Last Call, and Oldboy. If you’ve not seen these performers you’re in for a treat. They are all amazingly talented! Greater Cleveland Community Shares raises funds for our 42 Social Justice Organizations in Northeast Ohio. We appreciate all the support the cost of this event is only $10. Purchase tickets at http://www.communityshares.org
RSVP? On Facebook

November 5

Ohio Street Protest For Gay Marriage!
When? 11:00am – 6:00pm
Where? Fountain Square, 520 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH
What? Protest three days before voting day in Cincinnati, OH. Bring signs and show your pride and support!  For this to work we will need a large amount of Protesters! ORGANIZATIONS: Equality Ohio, Reformed Catholic Church. SPEAKER: Chris Seelbach
RSVP? On Facebook

Ongoing

Join Occupy Cleveland
When? October 6th – ?
Where? Lakeside & E. 9th, Cleveland, OH
What? Clevelanders will act in solidarity with the current Occupy Wall Street movement taking place in NYC and across the nation beginning on Thursday, October 6th at noon in Willard Park (under the Free Stamp). That afternoon they will march to their final occupation destination where protestors will set up their community camp and maintain an occupation indefinitely. Various working groups that have been formed will facilitate daily General Assembly meetings, direct actions, performances and other various activities. The event is free and open to the public. Willard Park is located at the corners of Lakeside and E. 9th next to the courthouse. Look for the Free Stamp!
RSVP? On Facebook

Repeal Senate Bill 5
What? Register new voters; Distribute Absentee Ballot Request Applications because these forms will NOT be mailed to voters automatically this year; Canvass or Phone Bank to converse with the community about the importance of voting NO on Issue 2 in order to STOP SB5.
Contact? Fight For A Fair Economy or We Are Ohio

Stop House Bill 194, The Voter Suppression Law
What? HB194 would severely limit early voting by mail, prohibit poll workers from assisting voters in completing forms, and make it more difficult for early voters to access in-person locations during evening hours and Sundays. We are currently collecting petition signatures to get a citizen’s VETO onto the 2012 ballot, and the deadline to STOP this law from affecting the 2011 elections is September 28. **UPDATE: We have collected 316,460 signatures. Therefore we have 10 more days past the previous deadline of 9/28 to collection more. KEEP COLLECTING. Remember, some signatures WILL be invalid. That’s the nature of petitions. WE NEED MORE.**
Contact? Fair Elections Ohio for a signing event in your area or to collect signatures yourself.