We found out recently about a new campaign called My Abortion, My Life. Based in Cleveland, they’ve recently placed ads on the city’s buses as part of their effort to start the “long process of de-stigmatizing abortion in our society.” 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 â€” to the surprise of exactly no one â€” never very popular. (And, what’s more, 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.Â As Joe Scheidler, the national director of our parent organization, the Pro-Life Action League, 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. [I]t 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 â€œhappy-with-my-abortionâ€ woman for every 9,999 who are not boasting about their abortionsâ€”and who are living with who knows how much guilt and sorrow.
Then there’s Imnotsorry.net, which back in the day was quite the collection of women’s stories of abortion non-regret. It now appears to be defunct and only accessible via the Wayback Machine. Ditto for its blog. And no tweets in over 5 months.
Nobody Likes Abortion
It’s not by accident that even the most staunchly “pro-choice” politicians do whatever they can to avoid ever saying the word “abortion”. Instead, they say they’re advocates for “women’s health,” and they “support reproductive rights”, or “support women’s reproductive freedom” â€” 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.
Abortion Stigma: A Sign of a Healthy Conscience
Abortion doesn’t have stigma attached to it because people haven’t gotten over their “hang-ups” about it. It has stigma attached to it because abortion kills a tiny, defenseless person. No amount of propaganda or public awareness campaigns that try to “promote a new dialogue” can change that. Abortion stigma isn’t cultural. It’s moral. When a woman feels guilty about having chosen an abortionâ€”or when a man feels guilty about having consented to the abortion of his childâ€”that’s actually the sign of a healthy conscience. It’s an indication that the person knows: I’ve done something wrong. Those who have had abortions need the healing and forgiveness their hearts long forâ€”not to be told that what they did was good. They don’t need “My Abortion, My Life.” They need Project Rachel, or Rachel’s Vineyard, or any one of countless other post-abortion ministries that are ready to offer them true compassion and love.