Writing in a November 4 Salon.com column, Tracy Clark-Flory begins:
Women are taking to Twitter with a blunt statement of fact: “I had an abortion.” In fact, so many are tweeting about their experience that the hashtag “#ihadanabortion” began trending on the site yesterday. It all started with a tweet from @IAmDrTiller: “Time for us to come out. Who’s had an abortion? Show antis we’re not intimidated by scare tactics. Use: #ihadanabortion.”
Clark-Flory acknowledges the “provocative” nature of women tweeting about their abortions, noting, “That’s the whole point, though — to take this private conversation public, to scrub the ‘a-word’ of stigma and shame.”
Campaigns like this that set out to normalize abortion are doomed to fail.
Why? Because they’ve always failed. And there’s no reason to believe things won’t be different this time.
“I Had an Abortion” T-Shirts: An Idea That Never Caught On
Remember the “I Had an Abortion” T-shirts released in 2004?
If you don’t, you’re not alone. Even after a big publicity splash when they were introduced, they were — to the surprise of exactly no one — never very popular. (And not surprisingly, the online store that once sold them is no longer accessible.)
Then, two years later, Ms. Magazine tried a similar campaign. It, too, was a flop. As League National Director Joe Scheidler wrote at the time:
We understand the current issue of Ms. Magazine includes a list of over one-thousand names of women who are proud that they had their children exterminated by abortion. The editors of Ms. claim to have five-thousand such testimonials, too many to run in their quarterly magazine.
Sad and sick as this Elly Smeal idea is, it still says nothing of much significance since there have been more than 50 million abortions since 1973. Even if this list does include 5,000 authentic names, they represent only one “happy-with-my-abortion” woman for every 9,999 who are not boasting about their abortions—and who are living with who knows how much guilt and sorrow.
Nobody Likes Abortion
It’s not by accident that even the most staunchly pro-abortion politicians do whatever they can to avoid ever saying the word “abortion”. Instead, they say they’re “pro-choice”, and they “support reproductive rights”, or “support women’s reproductive freedom” — but they typically don’t touch the word “abortion” with a 10-foot pole.
They’re not stupid: they can read public opinion polls, and they know that the vast majority of people are, at the very least, uncomfortable with abortion.
Witness, for example, the opposition to Colorado’s recently defeated Personhood Amendment. Think what you will about the prudential wisdom of such campaigns, but take note of the strategy employed by the opposition to Amendment 62. Wrote Personhood Colorado’s Jennifer Mason:
They saw that they were losing public opinion when they talked about abortion, so they switched to scare tactics (women being investigated for miscarriages, IVF made illegal, contraception made illegal, etc.). At the end they had to start saying women’s eggs were human beings….
They stopped discussing the “extremes” of abortion statistics. In fact, they stopped talking about abortion altogether. It feels good to know that the only way they were able to win was with lies. We won every debate, we had thousands of volunteers, and we had truth and science on our side – it really just came down to money. [emphasis added]
What about Women Who Choose to Say, “I Regret My Abortion”?
No matter how much advocates of legal abortion want to normalize abortion, they can’t. Because so many women who have had an abortion, almost everyone personally knows someone who has had one. And in overwhelmingly large numbers, women who have had an abortion hated it, often saying it was the worst thing that ever happened to them.
Numerous other pro-lifers have tweeted similar messages the past few days. In response, abortion supporting tweeters have told us, in essence, to shut up.
This reminded me of a post on the Abortioneers blog a few months ago, in which one of the contributors wrote:
What are the statistics of abortions procedures since the legalization of Roe vs. Wade?
Of those tens of thousands (how many more?), I cannot comprehend that any one of those individuals, OR their partners, could consciously be against it now. How many mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers are among us who now claim to be anti?
How dare they!
They took advantage of the privilege of choice. That choice monumentally changed the course of their lives — for the better? Because it did not unnecessarily burden them with a responsibility they felt unable to accept at that point in their lives.
How can they take a position against choice now that their life’s journey has led them to a comfortable position because of the choice they once had the privilege to make?
“How dare they!”?
It’s a sad irony that those who are most ardently “pro-choice” — their word — have no tolerance for women who have had abortions and then later choose to believe that what they did was wrong.
So much for being truly “pro-choice”.