This morning I read an article in the Washington Post titled “Yes, they do abortions.” The article featured a clinic in the Washington D.C. area that is part of the movement to de-stigmatize abortions. Featuring a “spa-like” setting and blunt advertising (using ads in Metro stations with phrases such as, “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”) this abortion clinic is trying to reframe the position many have that abortion is a “necessary evil” to make it seem like it is not a big deal, or that it is even a positive experience. The article went on to discuss other people/groups who are part of this movement to de-stigmatize abortion and make it to be a “normal,” or even “moral decision” in a woman’s reproductive life rather than have abortion be considered a “necessary evil.”
As I was reading this article, and learning more about the spread of this movement, I became both deeply concerned and upset. I am concerned about the women who this movement is targeting. Early pro-life feminist Mattie H. Brinkerhoff wrote, “When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong with society – so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged.” I am upset about the callousness and deception taking place. Abortion is not a “normal” part of a woman’s reproductive life and reframing it to be considered a moral choice comparable with bringing a new life into the world is a distortion of truth and morality that is both harmful to women and to society.
An abortion is never a first choice decision. It is a reaction to a situation a woman finds herself in that she didn’t intend. Whether it be an unplanned pregnancy, or a change in a financial or relational situation, the abortion procedure was not part of the original plan (at least not that I’ve ever encountered – I have yet to hear of a situation where a woman became pregnant with the purpose to abort; if these situations do exist that opens up a pandora’s box of additional ethical concerns). Trying to reframe abortion as a first choice scenario, like a day trip to the spa would be, is denying women the opportunity to address the harm that brought them to this point.
I am not writing to condemn women who find themselves in situations where they think an abortion is their best option, but to challenge those of us who believe in the value of life – both mother’s and child’s – to take a stand where we acknowledge that abortion is a failure to women. By acknowledging this, we can act to eliminate situations where abortion is thought to be “needed” or, even worse, considered comparable to a day at the spa.
To read the article that inspired this post click here