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The Truth About Abortion

Updated on May 28, 2019
izettl profile image

I'm passionate about health, wellness, social issues and relationships. I offer relatable content and solid advice.

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What's Your Experience with abortion?

Recently I was approached by a well-known self-help guru to be a part of a video series to share my abortion story. As I told my story unrecorded first, I realized that at every turn this person was injecting their bias to form a completely different story and project their political agenda. That's when I knew I had to tell it the way I wanted. The truth.

I realized later that other women to be a part of that video series were coerced as well. That's too bad, being a topic that is literally about choices, not coercion.

It's evident that everybody is weighing in on the hot topic of abortion. Don't get me wrong, I think it needs to be discussed because it affects everyone from the way we view it as a society to the choices women have to the way we define life.

It's true men may not have firsthand experience with abortion, but this discussion is for them too- not to be confused with the idea that all pro-lifer's are men in congress.

It's just as accurate to mention there are women who have never had children (or an abortion) who also want to weigh in for the sole fact that they contain a uterus.

Essentially we are all part of a bigger, life-altering conversation that's merely connected to the topic of abortion. Everyone is invited to this conversation...equally.

As laws get upturned and revisited state by state, it's easy to focus on the political aspect that provoked this conversation, but as many of us have discovered, once something becomes political, it's a ruthless battlefield.

Alternatively, I'd like to have an honest conversation with you, unveiling the truth about abortion... from my experience.

I could have been a mother more than 20 years ago, but I chose not to be.

Source

Not Black and White...and Not Right or Left

*Let me preface this conversation with a few notes- I do have experience with abortion. I have been both pro choice and pro life. I do not identify with politically extreme views.*

This isn’t a republican versus democrat issue for me. It’s a real issue for real people that happens to come with the atmosphere of morality versus politics .

Many social issues are overrun by political agendas and unfortunately that prevents us from truly addressing the real issue.

For instance, the political topic of gun violence is tainted with an underlying social issue that goes unaddressed: mental illness.

When a topic becomes political, it is the extremists who vocalize their opinions the loudest, but there are wonderful talking points that reside on middle ground.

The truth is a compromising position would most closely reflect the majority of people's views on abortion, although you'd never know that if you were to watch the news, scroll Facebook, or listen to your favorite political pundits.

As usual we feel obliged to take sides, but many pro-lifers would gladly make certain exceptions and many pro-choice are not in favor of basically ending a full-term baby's life.

I believe this topic is one of the few social/political issues we face today that holds the promise of compromise if we look past the harmful black-and-white rhetoric and the political agendas/laws of the extremists.

The extremist perspective (and abortion laws) of New York recently paved the way for Alabama and Georgia's extreme laws in opposition, provoking the political wars! But I'd like to shed light on the personal and societal topic of abortion rather than the common voices on this issue that you may be accustomed to.

We hear less of these voices like mine with real experience due to not being accepted by one side or the other or completely hidden because no one talks about the realities. If you become anti abortion then the “left” does not accept you, but if you have an abortion then you fear the ”right” side will reject you as well.

Most women won't talk about the truth.

Abortion needs to be understood through an honest understanding and assessment of underlying issues concerning woman's needs as well as society's role in the lives of women who have abortions.

Why do women feel unprepared for the responsibility of a baby?

Do the actual experiences of those having abortions reflect a "choice"? Or is it a band-aid we slap on the bigger issue: Women, let alone women with children, lack support.

And are there consequences to our humanity by attempting to define life? With my background in psychology, I believe the societal implications of our abortion views and laws affect us all on a psychological level the most.


I'll always wonder how acceptance of destroying the pre-born has affected our humanity. And how many among the more than 60 million Americans aborted since 1973 were destined to shape a better world.

— Kathleen Parker, Washington Post
Source

I blindly followed a script that wasn't written for me.

How Abortions Happen

My best friend had news, but I couldn't tell if it was good or bad. During our two classes together in high school she kept telling me she had to talk to me after school. When we finally connected at the coffee shop, she announced she was getting an abortion.

She was dating a guy who was 22 and she was 17. I knew it was a recipe for disaster. As her best friend I'd only met him twice so they were a fairly secret item and for good reason.

She seemed so much older and mature than I was. Pregnancy would've freaked me out at 17 yet she was handling it so well.

I vaguely knew what an abortion was. She acted as if it were as casual as a dental exam, and maybe even less threatening-- depending on how much you enjoy the dentist's office.

She let me know after she had the abortion...and that was that. I thought, 'Wow if I ever got in that predicament, that seems pretty easy!'

Back then I had given a lot of thought to what my future would look like. I had already decided I didn't want children. I saw my mom's struggle to raise just me— a single mother and an only child. I also remember being goal driven and bouncing between wanting to be a lawyer or a Psychologist.

I was a late bloomer, still a virgin in high school and some time after. I never learned anything about birth control. If I had learned anything in school about it, I was too busy focusing on not paying attention. If I had actually paid attention that would be a sure sign I wasn't experienced, and that spelled embarrassment.

Ultimately I met a man I fell in love with and who knew how to use birth control. It wasn't long into our relationship that we began living together too. He was a few years older than me. It was my first serious relationship so I was navigating uncharted territory, emotionally, psychologically, and physically.

But then it happened. Birth control failed. And like my friend, I gave the next decision little thought. I knew right away I'd do the same thing she did. Easy.

However, the relationship was destroyed. He wanted the baby, but respected my wishes. We never talked about it again.

Oddly enough, I briefly felt happy about being pregnant. I could make life, but I knew what my first and final decision was. I promptly stuffed down those feelings and resorted back to my default decision.

In times of war, a soldier doesn't second guess what they have to do, but the trauma will linger for later.

The abortion process was chilling. "Counseling" at Planned Parenthood consisted of two questions:

"Do you want this abortion?"

...and "Why?"

Very cold. Unfeeling.

My reasons were that I had no health insurance and with my 21 yr old logic, how was I going to work AND care for a baby? I couldn't afford anything without working. I certainly couldn't afford another human being! The thought of it frightened me.

Having a baby shouldn't be a "problem".

I'm not sure how this idea was implanted in me, but I actually thought having an abortion was the responsible thing to do.

I had no politics at the time, giving little thought to anything besides what was fed to me through the TV "IV"/society/media- right into my veins.

That's why I believe our public discussions on this topic are extremely important. While we shoot from the mouth we may be shooting ourselves in the foot as far as our society is concerned and the impressionable people who are listening. When we speak publicly, even a twitter post, we are affecting the CHOICES of others.

I certainly don't want to be party to irresponsible political debate all the while a young woman is deciding the fate of her future and possibly another's life.

Ten years after my abortion, I became a mom (eventually to two children), and 22 years later I now know that a baby's life is at least worth thinking about- it's very difficult to do that under extreme societal influence.

It's hardly liberating knowing that women without children are of more value in our society than women with children.

Looking back, I am upset that Planned Parenthood did not inform me of my options for healthcare that could've been provided with assistance. Are they not a healthcare provider?

Planned Parenthood supposedly represents choices, but only offers one.

When you'd like to entertain the idea of having a baby but it scares most young women, if PP and other biased clinics are who they turn to, there really isn't a choice presented.

There was nobody to tell me that it was possible. That even into my 30's when I finally had children, there would be times of struggle, but it can work out.

I blindly followed a script that wasn't written for me!

Would I have chosen differently had I been informed and felt like I had choices? Quite possibly.

Would I have given more careful thought to my decision, and actually digested the paramount importance of what I was doing had it not been so easy to do it? Likely.

My own nonchalant attitude is what concerns me about our conversations on this topic today. No matter which side of the fence you find yourself, we have to discuss life!

Most women don't feel as if they have a choice.
Most women don't feel as if they have a choice. | Source

Right or Wrong?

This is a question that deserves great discernment for the public/society as well as the individual.

I'd like to think that women who are in this position have the luxury of considering whether abortion is right or wrong, but sadly they often don't.

Most of the time, women don’t get as much of a choice in the matter as we'd all like to believe. At the time they feel they can’t support a baby so there’s little choice in the matter. It’s more like, 'should I get one or not?' 'Can I afford the baby?' 'Do I have enough support?' 'How will I work?' 'How will I go to school?' It’s never the question of whether it’s right or wrong.

It's not a choice if society continues to discredit and devalue the position of mothers.

It will truly only come to right or wrong when the woman in society is as valued, stable, lucrative, and productive with kids as without. Then we’d actually have the luxury of discussing right or wrong. Right now it’s usually survival mode, not moral code.

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Defining Life

I almost find it comical yet deeply disturbing that we are forced to define "life" for the sake of law and politics. When we have to manipulate the definition of life to prove a political point, we're in trouble.

We can manipulate the definition or call it something else, but subconsciously we lose a piece of our humanity when life is debatable.

I know word on the street uses such terms as "fetus" or focuses the topic on a "uterus".

Purposefully steering the definition of life in another direction is a psychological desensitization method. It's a lot more unpleasant to use "baby" because the picture that is associated in our mind is very real.

I once asked someone how they would talk to a kid about abortion. First of all, they'd use the term, "fetus".

'Dad, what's a fetus?'

The definition of fetus: "unborn human BABY more than eight weeks after conception."

What an awkward conversation, but mostly due to the reaction a child would have to the thought of "killing a baby" (by most kid's definition).

Wouldn't a tattoo seem just as barbaric to a child?

Of course, but by the age of 15+, they eventually become desensitized to "putting ink and needles" into their skin repeatedly.

Psychologically, I'd say many people are desensitized to the idea of abortion.

Also, if we only consider the woman getting the abortion and not the baby inside, we are measuring the importance of one life against another. Abortion would suggest the mother's life is more important.

I wonder if a mass shooter weighs the importance of one life over another. How do they decide who they are going to shoot in a public arena?

I presume that they don't, and that becomes a problem. I bet they give little thought to who lives and who dies in those moments of blind rage, but the truth is they shot and killed someone's mother, someone's fiancé, and someone's only friend. Do they see it that way? No!

Who are we aborting?

The brilliant scientist to cure cancer. An astounding social rights activist who initiates nationwide change like MLK. An inventor. The doctor that saves lives. The person that solves global warming issues.

How would you explain abortion to a 5th grader?

Girls can get pregnant as soon as 5th grade, sometimes earlier! My 5th grade daughter will be learning about the birds and the bees this year and I thought about what she'd think of abortion. I can imagine it would be pure shock and sadness.

Presenting abortion to a kid: You may use the term "fetus" to soften the blow, but when they ask what that is or they Google it, the definition contains the word, "baby". The Giver, a movie and classic book, is a wonderful portrayal of this.

The Abortion Issue

Besides attempting to define "life", abortion represents a social issue that comes down to whether women feel socially and economically supported enough to have a child and whether child-rearing is valued under current views.

Why does having a baby represent poverty and remaining in a bad relationship for some women?

When we have to resort to abortion if we've decided we still want to go to school and/or have a career, that's a social issue, no politics about it!

Whether you are pro choice or pro life, understand that having an abortion is not really a choice, for two reasons:

First, the #1 reason women report for having abortions is due to socioeconomic concerns. Fundamental issue: Women lack support, both societal and financially. It is more difficult to do everything in our society if you have a child.

I was raised by a single mom and I know all too well how society demands mothers act as if they don't have children. Abortion shouldn't be the answer.

I realize the feminist culture demanded to be treated equally to men, but we are not the same, especially if we are a mother. Women not only have inherent differences, which are typically undervalued but often have a more demanding role in a child's life than a father.

Women are still often treated worse in the workforce, have to infinitely prove themselves in almost every arena men and women cohabit, and doing all of this with a child makes it that much more difficult.

Secondly, in a society that makes abortion easy and commonplace, women can get one without little thought or consideration as if it's no big deal. That's called desensitization.

We have more empathy for someone euthanizing their dog, and in general people give more thought to that.

It's been argued by philosophers for centuries as to whether we truly have a choice outside of social/cultural influence.

We learn over time, as kids with "too many questions", to not examine common thought or culture.

The environment for having children is inhospitable. In almost every aspect of our culture, mothers are inadvertently penalized.

What Do You Really Know About Abortion...

Many people do not know the actual abortion process from the time the woman finds out she is pregnant to when she makes her decision, how she makes her decision, the kind of support she receives and how she will feel afterwards or years down the road.

Other than various post abortion stories, we have no official reports, statistics, or psychological assessments of how women feel years after their abortion when they have the time and insight to revisit their decision.

There are other statistics available however:

Nearly 90% of abortions occur in unmarried women.

Women in their 20's account for the majority of abortions.

Ages 15-19 accounted for less than 10% of abortions.

Rape and incest together account for less than 1%.

A minor does not require parental consent to get an abortion.


Why does having a baby represent poverty or being stuck in a bad relationship for some women?

Source

42 million women worldwide have abortions each year.

Although I was an abused child and teenager, I believe the worst abuse was inflicted by the judicial system and two self-interested attorneys. I was exploited by the courts who did not look into my circumstances and take into account the real impact abortion has on women.

— "Jane Roe" (Roe v Wade), Norma McCorvey

Comments

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    • ampare profile image

      Ami Parekh 

      2 weeks ago from London

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      2 weeks ago from The Great Northwest

      Thank you very much @Ami Parekh. I appreciate your nice comments on here. I did not see your article so I was unable to read it.

    • ampare profile image

      Ami Parekh 

      2 weeks ago from London

      Your article is eye-opening...

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      2 weeks ago from The Great Northwest

      @Paula

      Thank you for your kind words. I decided to speak openly on this as years ago one of my first articles (another difficult one to write) on hubpages was received by someone who needed it at the time- said it changed their life. My hope is this will reach someone who needs it. Thank you for sharing it!

      The more I’ve spoken on it, the more I’ve had women share with me a similar story. There’s just not enough publicity on the reality of this topic as I’m sure you know.

      Thanks again

      Laura

    • ampare profile image

      Ami Parekh 

      2 weeks ago from London

      i love both your articles, they are extremely fascinating and well written becuase of the way you layed out the article... i love it also could you check out my post on abortion it would mean everything to me. @paula and @izett

      Thank you,

      Ami

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Laura......I feel unable to accurately express how very realistic and wonderful I found this article. So sensible and vital is your take on this highly controversial topic. I appreciate your sensitivity, combined with common sense realities. In short, this is one of the very best articles, of hundreds, that I personally have read.

      Having said all this, it is needless for me to suggest it should be read by any and every woman who finds herself in the very midst of decision-making. Personally, I have several clinical destinations in mind for where I will be sending this link. I have no doubt it will be most appreciated

      Once again, Thank you, Laura, for this amazing work. Enjoy your summer. Peace, Paula

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      2 weeks ago from The Great Northwest

      @NOYFOB

      You make a lot of valid points. “Making it so easy takes that responsibility away...and also her right to choose.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      2 weeks ago from The Great Northwest

      @James Watkins

      Thank you so much. You’ve witnessed so much of my transition on here...when I began to question the lies spread in society through politics and political topics such abortion.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett-Irwin 

      2 weeks ago from The Great Northwest

      @rtalloni

      Yes! You’re right it is not only kids lied to but the system in the clinics to do all they can to facilitate an abortion even when the woman is undecided.

    • ampare profile image

      Ami Parekh 

      2 weeks ago from London

      also thank you for reading my article..

      Thank you,

      Ami

    • ampare profile image

      Ami Parekh 

      3 weeks ago from London

      wait did you read my article ??

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      3 weeks ago from the short journey

      Thank you for speaking up with some of your story and for shedding light on the unpopular side of the abortion issue. So many points to discuss here, but 5th graders are generally lied to about abortion. The assessment that "psychologically steering the definition of life in another direction is a purposeful desensitization method" is a truth, but children, as well as the mothers in abortion clinics are outright lied to. Pro-life groups do a lot of work to counter the lies but the importance of voices like yours is immense.

    • ampare profile image

      Ami Parekh 

      3 weeks ago from London

      this is amazing please go check out my blog and feel free to write your comments about the topic as a whole or how i have put this information forward and also please tell me how i can improve my article as i love your articles their absolutely fabulous!!! thank you so much

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      NOYFOB 

      3 weeks ago

      imo

      Abortion should be available for things that are out of control of the women, Rape, Complications of pregnancy affecting the life of the woman, and maybe something else that I might have missed.

      I don't think it should be the morning after solution. If the women says they have the right all by themselves to terminate the pregnancy, then they have already failed the right to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

      It shouldn't go both ways. The women has to be the gate keeper because it is her house that is protected by the gate. And you are right making it so easy to abort takes that responsibility away from her.

      And after your experience, do you think that aborting is solely your decision if your partner wants to have the baby. After all it took two, not one to create?

      In any case, the earlier the abortion the better for all.

      Finally, well you can't leave it up to the man to honor the gate because they don't have to have the baby. But on the other hand, most of the time it is just sex, not even a relationship.

      Many people still don't use their safety belt in their vehicles. The truth is that you don't need a safety belt under you need it, and then it could be a matter of life and death. Somewhere in there is a similarity to prevention to not have a baby.

      I guess we could have operations as teenagers to snip the procreation ability, and then when we grow up get it connected again. While there may still be a failure, it will be very few that will get through.

      Del if u wish.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      3 weeks ago from Chicago

      Thank you for this needful and quite excellent article. You hit all the major points that needed to be said, with outstanding balance and graciousness. Well done.

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