Sunday, October 20, 2013

Let's Make Abortions Mandatory

Because that's less ridiculous than making them something to be ashamed of.
Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress:
A Manhattan woman is currently embroiled in a high-profile custody battle with her ex-husband, a wealthy bank executive. The case is making headlines because a New York judge decided to consider her decision to terminate a pregnancy as potential evidence that she’s not fit to care for her two young children. 

Mehos told Salon that she was “completely shocked” that the judge agreed to allow this evidence to be used in the case. “The court jumped at the chance to use the stigma of abortion to openly scorn, interrogate, and question my ability to be a worthy parent,” she noted.


The fact that abortion is considered to be “evidence” is unfortunately nothing new. Due to the lingering societal stigma that surrounds the medical procedure, the language that we use to talk about abortion is almost always negative. It’s rare for female public figures to acknowledge that they have ended a pregnancy — and when they do, the media typically describes them as “admitting” they had an abortion, automatically construing it as an admission of guilt or wrongdoing. The shame-based approach to this aspect of reproductive health care has ensured that most women don’t feel comfortable talking about it at all. It’s not considered to be appropriate for polite company.

It’s perhaps no wonder that women who have had abortions don’t feel safe enough to acknowledge it. Sadly, the risks can be even greater than losing a custody fight. This past April, a state lawmaker in Nevada received death threats after talking openly about having an abortion.

In reality, abortion is much more common than most Americans may realize. One in three U.S. women has had an abortion by the time she is 45 years old. And contrary to preconceived notions about the “trauma” of ending a pregnancy, research has consistently found that it’s not actually an inherently emotionally damaging experience. Women report that having an abortion was the right decision for them. And when women who have abortions do have negative emotions associated with the procedure, that’s often a result of the societal stigma that surrounds it — they worry about other people finding out, or they worry that it makes them a bad person.
Women who have abortions should get medals, and parades, and offers of 7-figure jobs, and massive tax breaks.  They should be national - nay, global - heroes. Little boys should have abortion envy. Abortion should be a secular sacrament. People who oppose abortion should be treated with the same disgust and contempt we reserve for child pornographers.

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