We recently asked our facebook followers for their take on the following question, which had been posed politely and in good faith by a pro-choicer on twitter:
Whenever I hear someone say they became pro-life after an abortion or crisis pregnancy, it seems like they’re saying “I wish I didn’t have the *choice* to have an abortion.” This is a thought I can’t really comprehend. Can someone please explain this thought process and what goes into it? Maybe post-abortive pro-lifers aren’t actually thinking this, but something else?
Many people who regret their abortions responded. Interestingly, many who chose life also shared how the availability of legal abortion made their situations more difficult. As Feminists for Life of America has aptly put it: “It’s your body, it’s your choice, it’s your problem!”
In no particular order, here are a few of our favorite comments:
Renee F.: The biggest regret for me was that I didn’t know to ask to see the ultrasound screen. They turned it away from me and for some reason, I didn’t ask to see it. Maybe because I was so deliriously sick from HG that I could barely keep my eyes open. (My mother wouldn’t take me to the hospital for it because she wanted the abortion.) Being a mother now, and seeing my first ultrasound with my baby I have now, I know I wouldn’t have gone through with it if I had that opportunity. Also, the emotional toll it takes on you. It’s been 6 years since mine and I still think about it every day and regret it every day. I very much wish it wasn’t an available option for myself or anyone.
Nikki H.: If the “choice” didn’t exist, I probably would have told my parents sooner, because I’d have known they would have to find out eventually. That part would have been out of the way, and I could have enjoyed my pregnancy, instead of trying to hide it for the first four months. I also wouldn’t have to live with the knowledge that I almost killed my son. Yes, I DO wish I hadn’t had a “choice.”
Lori B.: I definitely wish I did not have the choice! When I found out I was pregnant I immediately wanted to keep my baby. I had no idea my high school sweetheart would react the way he did and would leave me if I had the baby… then my previously “pro-life” parents scolded me for getting pregnant before marriage and pretty much pushed me to have an abortion (I was still a teen living at home and they said “You’re on your own if you keep a baby”). Then the doctor told us my baby was “Not a baby… just tissue.” Back in the 80’s I had no idea HE WAS LYING and just saying what my parents wanted to hear! I BELIEVE HAD ABORTION BEEN ILLEGAL, my parents would not have pushed me to get one and I would have my child!
Julia S.: I regrettably had two abortions. My mother forced me to have my first one in 1976. So yes, I profoundly regret that the option was available then. I chose to have my second abortion, but ONLY because by then, a year and a half later, I was so completely numb due to coping with the first abortion through copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, I didn’t even care anymore. But I knew I was killing my first child. I was crushed but powerless to do anything different. And I was just dead inside by the time I had my second one. I most definitely regret it was even an option!! I’m glad you asked.
Darci P.: I was pregnant while in high school with my now 12-year-old. If it wasn’t a choice, I wouldn’t have had to defend my choice to keep my daughter. I wouldn’t have been told that my life was over or been given a lot of unsolicited advice… I would likely have been given encouragement and felt empowered to take on the world.
Anonymous (via private message): I am post-abortive and pro-life. I wasn’t given a choice by my parents as a teen. I was kicked out of the house when my dad found out I was pregnant because he didn’t want a “whore” living in his house. I was taken to stay with family and told I couldn’t go home until I had the abortion and I was told I could not stay with the family for very long. I would be a bad influence to younger siblings and cousins being a pregnant teen. I hate the phrase “pro-choice.” Like me, many other teens (and adult women!) are not given a choice and are coerced and pressured into abortion.
Becky M.: If it hadn’t been an option, I wouldn’t have even considered it. I believed the lie that women can’t achieve their goals if they have children, especially as a single teenage mom. I thought I’d be doomed to poverty, struggle, and failure forever. My family held an intervention (still the most awkward, uncomfortable experience of my life, but in hindsight I’m incredibly grateful for) and I didn’t go through with it. It took 10 years for me to finally admit that I almost killed my son and become strongly pro-life. But I realized it wasn’t just my child’s life that was saved—it was also mine. Saved from a lifetime of despair and regret. If I can prevent other women from experiencing that, I will. (And, by the way, I still accomplished my goal of earning my bachelors degree and becoming a teacher. My firstborn is now a Marine, and I’ve committed myself to living a pro-life life by adopting, sponsoring, donating, and advocating.)
Bonnie T.: I wish I didn’t have the “choice” to have an abortion, because I never wanted one. Then my mother wouldn’t have had the option of forcing me to get one or be kicked out on the street at 16. Then there would have been access to more help to parent my child as I wanted to. Then my doctor and the therapist my mother hired to coerce me into it wouldn’t have had the option to refer her to a serial killer who gladly performed the abortion against my will.
Ellie M.: When you put tempting choices before people who are vulnerable, YES they will want that choice taken away. People on diets want certain foods removed from easy access and choices all the time. They take soda machines out of schools. This isn’t a complicated concept.