Keep the Stigma on Abortion

Last month, the spectacularly loathsome Lindy West created the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag. It’s exactly as it appears to be; the vocalization – and actual celebration – of a woman’s abortion experience. Suddenly the decision to medically end a growing life, created in private, should be splashed across social media! After all, it’s 2015. Let’s end the stigma of abortion!

Pardon me, but we must keep this stigma alive. We absolutely must.West’s original post about her widely popular idea appeared in The Guardian, and included the following:

The fact that even progressive, outspoken, pro-choice feminists feel the pressure to keep our abortions under wraps – to speak about them only in corners, in murmurs, in private with our closest confidantes – means that opponents of abortion get to define it however suits them best. They can cast those of us who have had abortions as callous monstrosities, and seed fear in anyone who might need one by insisting that the procedure is always traumatic, always painful, always an impossible decision.

The idea of addressing abortion stigma is apparently viewed as racially divided, with white women’s privilege allowing them to speak shout their abortion easier than a woman of color. Altheria Gaston’s piece at For Harriet, a site about black womanhood, says as much:

As A. Moore described, Black women can’t get away with the things white women can, especially when it comes to sexuality. Since we already know that we are not allowed the same grace as white women, we must think twice before joining movements like #ShoutYourAbortion that are likely to bring biased judgments on Black women. The repercussions of our shouting may cost us more than it does others.

Ahem. Let’s back up for a hot minute. We’re discussing the ability to loudly proclaim “I don’t care that I ended my child’s life” on the basis of race and class? If there’s anything this again shows, it’s the absolute selfishness associated with the decision to have an abortion. And if there’s anything this confirms in my mind, it’s that abortion should be stigmatized. If, as West and others suggest, we destigmatize abortion, then we’re only making comfortable those who are already comfortable. The women promoting this who have chosen to be an accomplice in their child’s murder are not working toward healing, but toward celebrated obstinance.

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, appeared in front of the House committee last week. Needless to say, what could have been a strong performance by pro-life members of the House turned into a mediocre-at-best display. David Harsanyi at The Federalist hit the nail on the head with his piece “The GOP is Overmatched”.

…if you can’t do a better job in these skirmishes, the ones that lay the groundwork for future battles, you’re projecting ineptness. Or, in this case, you’re proving it.

If you can’t induce the CEO of Planned Parenthood to feel even slightly uncomfortable about defending videos that find her employees talking about humans as if they were commodities, you have the wrong people asking the questions.

The pro-choice (aka pro-death) movement isn’t just some opposing political opinion. It isn’t something we can respond to with a simple “let’s agree to disagree” statement, in an attempt to diffuse opposition. No, it’s as foundational an issue as they come. Our discussion of it should make those who support it feel discomfort, and just as important, we must never settle and be still.

With the recent hearing and other milestones in this fight for life, it seems as there is only sorrow and no advancement. We can’t mark a leap ahead in legislation, but we can conclude that as it stands right now, our real progress isn’t steps forward, but keeping our feet firmly planted and unwavering. This is only accomplished by refusing to detach the negative from abortion.

If you check out #ShoutYourAbortion, you’ll realize their effort is ongoing. If they refuse to stop, why should we?