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Silence and shame

by Tara

July 1, 2017

1 in 3. I was shocked when I heard that statistic for the first time. 1 in 3 women has had an abortion in their life. What the what?! I’ve known LOTS of women throughout my 34 years and I have never personally met someone who had had an abortion.

I mean, when would I? I spent years fully immersed in the Christian community. There surely wasn’t anyone at my church who had had an abortion. Or among my faith-based social circle. Or at my conservative-minded office. But one thing I learned from all those years in the church is that abortion was just about the worst sin and the worse a sin is the more it must be covered up and kept secret.

And that is where it hit me. Secrecy and shame. I was learning that anti-choice voices had been using the silence of people who have had abortions as a weapon against them. The desire for privacy became twisted into barbs of hate and shame which were used to wrap around the pro-choice argument. The only voices being heard were those of people who disagreed with abortion on an intellectual level or had come to regret their abortion for whatever reason. I know I had personally never heard anyone speak about a personal abortion story from a positive light.

Now, just so we’re clear: For those of you reading this and who, like me, have spent your life surrounded by Christians and are certain you don’t know anyone who has had an abortion, you would be wrong.

You know me and I had an abortion on April 18th.

Now, once your initial reaction subsides you may tacitly approve of my decision because you know something of my medical condition. And while my health did play a role in my decision it wasn’t the only guiding factor. Finances, housing, support system, and timing all influenced my choice. Also, the idea of ‘hiding’, for lack of a better word, behind the guise of my health is a betrayal. The reasons I made the choice that I did is as complex and multi-faceted as anything could be. I’m not saying definitively that I will or won’t ever become a mother someday, somehow. I’m saying this wasn’t something I wanted at the time. I’ve seen children born to people who didn’t want to or weren’t ready to be parents. No child deserves to be begrudged by their parent for what was lost like that.

So I am shouting out, sharing my story. I’m not wearing this experience as a badge of honor or as a cloak of shame. It just happened and that’s that. Anyone reading this can take it however they want and do with it as they will. Personally, I will use my energy to fight the people who are working to shame women and restrict abortion access across the country and around the world. Earlier this month my state passed a law to ban the specific procedure used in my abortion. If I become pregnant again it could literally become a death sentence for me so yeah, I’m going to do something.

Without silence or shame.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!