We wanted to spread the truth that abortion hurts women, that the more than 14,000 people registered on our Silent No More website regret their abortion experiences.
Anyone who has helped a student write a book report knows part of the assignment asks whether or not the reviewer would recommend the book to a friend. It’s part of human nature to want to share things we enjoy with the people we care about. Today, Web sites never lack the “share” and “like” buttons that make such recommendations as easy as a keystroke.
We had sharing in mind when we founded the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in 2003. We wanted to spread the truth that abortion hurts women, that the more than 14,000 people registered on our website regret their abortion experiences. We wanted to shed light on the brutality of the procedure, the callousness of the abortionists, the indifference of some men who would not father our children and the parents who couldn’t bear the shame of an unwed, pregnant daughter. We wanted people to know that a casual hook-up is not worth our children dying for, as these innocent unborn are doing in numbers too big to comprehend.
When we first started speaking out, some claimed that no one wanted to hear our stories – that we should keep our regret to ourselves. Abortion has become such a sacred entity in this country that even our grief was forbidden. But we would not be silenced, because more than 3,000 times a day in our country, a woman will have an abortion that she very likely will regret. So we stand outside abortion clinics, and we speak at fund-raisers and prayer vigils and pro-life marches. At the March for Life in D.C. on Jan. 22, dozens of us will tell our stories in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building; others will speak at the San Francisco Walk for Life and at scores of marches all over the country.
The stories we will share are horrific. Jenn Perry of Eugene, Oregon, will talk about the abortionist who didn’t notice she was pregnant with twins. He aborted one and the other survived. Tamah Warren of Nashville will recall the day she was held down by two clinic workers as she screamed in pain, and the decades of night terrors that followed her abortion. Amy Meyer of Topeka will somehow find the strength to talk about the three children she lost to abortion, and the daughter she did not abort, who died in a car crash at 8 years old.
Every year at the March for Life, a small but noisy group of pro-choice protesters will set up next to us to try to drown us out. They still don’t want to hear our stories.
But these are interesting times.
In a ground-breaking move, New York Magazine last year published first-person stories by 26 post-abortive women. When we read these stories, we realize they are striking in two ways. Many of them sound just like our stories – full of regret and sadness and musings about what if – only, instead of these women warning their sisters and daughters and friends away from abortion, they hit the “like” button.
But even with an incongruously happy ending tacked on, the truth about abortion leaks out. From New York Magazine: Janet, 48, was drugged and date raped at 18. “When I was actually at the facility, I thought, ‘my God, there’s a baby inside me.’ The staff was very matter of fact, no kindness. A nurse said, ‘it looks like it was a girl.’”
Heather, 32, on her first abortion: “My husband and I were having financial problems and were considering separating. I just had to shut my conscience down. The doctor was grotesque. He whistled show tunes.”
Anya, 36, on her 2003 abortion at a Planned Parenthood in New York: “… I was stuck in a waiting room for hours, with young girls, some flippant, some sad, and the doctor was dead-faced and didn’t make eye contact. I woke up on a gurney in the hallway, surrounded by chaos. No one checked on me.”
As these and thousands of other stories attest, the clean and comfy abortion clinics shown on television shows like “Girls” and “Parenthood” are a fantasy. When we accept that abortion is a business built on blood money and has nothing to do with health care or reproductive justice (whatever that is), we might take more care to keep ourselves and our loved ones away from these clinics. A first step toward that end might be to take a look at the truth about sex, and commitment, and parenthood.