Sunday, December 6, 2009

Regret after Abortion: The Prochoice Perspective

Regret. It's an awful feeling. There are a lot of reasons for people to regret doing something. And there are a lot of events, activities, choices and actions that people regret. But what about abortion?

Prolife likes to shout from the roof tops that women regret abortion. Prochoice loves to quickly counter with the idea that most women do not regret their abortion (Phew).

However, this is sort of an unintentional cover up. Even if most women don't regret, that means there are some women who do regret their abortion. As prochoicers, we should be able to address that.

There are many reasons why a woman might regret her abortion, including:
1. She was forced to abort.
2. She thought abortion was murder, but had an abortion anyway.
3. She wanted to keep the pregnancy, but aborted for someone's reasons.
4. She was coerced to abort (by threats from a boyfriend, from her parents, etc).
5. She wasn't fully informed.
6. She made a choice that didn't work out for her.


And many more. Some are simple reasons, some are not. Some are reasons that could have been avoided, some are not. But for whatever reason, the woman regrets her choice.

We must be able to point out that regret is not the end of the world. There are more women who suffer postpartum depression after labor than women who regret after an abortion, but we would never say that we should stop getting pregnant and having babies on a species scale. Just because someone regrets something, does not make that something inherently evil. For example:

Say I have a car, but my job is three blocks away. So I decide to sell the car. Two weeks after the car is sold, I am promoted and moved to district headquarters, which is a half hour drive away. Suddenly, I regret selling my car.

- Was selling my car inherently evil or bad? No.
- Was selling my car the wrong choice at the time? Not necessarily.
- Should I tell everyone else to stop selling their cars, just because I regretting selling mine? Absolutely not!


Now obviously, selling a car and abortion have their differences. But the point is that regret is a legitimate feeling after having an abortion (or a baby, or adoption) and people should be able to find help and healing after any of these experiences without trying to terrorize other people.

So next time prolife says "women regret abortion!" say "Here's an excellent group that can help her find healing: http://www.4exhale.org/

45 comments:

  1. I appreciate your honesty in admitting that some women do regret their abortions. And for many of the reasons you've suggested, why do some prochoice deny that any woman could possibly regret her abortion? Why turn a blind eye to that and pretend it doesn't happen? If it doesn't make all abortions wrong, then why ignore that some women are suffering? So, I appreciate your honesty and the reasons you've listed for why a woman might regret her abortion are good ones - on the ball. :)

    While this falls under "not fully informed" it should be noted that some women later regret their abortion when they learn more about fetal development. It can be devastating to discover that what you believed was only a clump of cells, actually had arms, legs, fingers, toes, a face, a heart, etc. This is not the case for every woman, obviously. Many women understand the stages of fetal development quite well prior to choosing abortion.

    Another cause of regret, which should be noted, is those who suffer serious side effects from their abortions, such as a miscarriage or a premature birth in a subsequent (wanted) pregnancy. In rare cases, damage to the reproductive organs during the abortion have caused sterility.

    While many prochoicers I've conversed with have denied that post-abortive stess syndrome exists (I prefer to call it post-traumatic stress disorder, since the symptoms are identical and it is essentially the same thing), the American Psychiatric Association nevertheless lists abortion as a possible trigger of PTSD. Why should prochoicers turn a blind eye to this and pretend it doesn't exist? Why not help the minority of women who suffer PTSD immediately after and/or in the years after their abortion?

    Finally, in conclusion, I have one thought concerning your car analogy:

    The fetus who died in the abortion was a genetically unique individual - eye color, hair color, intelligence, gender - all determined at conception. So, while a car can be replaced with another car of equal value, the embryo or fetus who died in the abortion can never be replaced. Another pregnancy can be conceived, but the fetus will be a new individual distinctly different from the one that came before.

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  2. Whoa, whoa, whoa. "A lot of Women don't regret their abortions" according to you, but yet they establish rather large organizations to help that little group of people? Hmm, don't believe it anyone. The facts are spelled out pro-choice just finds a way to stretch those facts for their use.

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  3. Captdelaney, there is lots and lots of proof that a lot of women don't regret their abortions. I've provided it to you before, on your own blog and in twitter land.

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  4. Honey,

    Humans are not cars or vice versa.

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  5. Honey, it's called a comparison. You take two different things with similar qualities and relate the two.

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  6. Thanks for acknowledging this. I 100% support abortion rights, but it bothers me when other prochoice brush over the women who do regret their abortions.

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  7. It bugs me when the prolifers pretend that women who do not regret their abortions are non-existent and claim that EVERY woman regrets her abortion. Or if the woman doesn't regret her abortion she's pretty much an evil, heartless, souless, spawn of satan. Another thing I don't understand is how some of them so proudly call themselves pro life, anti-abortion, anti-death, angels who uphold the sanctity of ALL life then they turn around and say to someone who is pro-choice, "Your stupid ass should have been aborted!" or "You need to die!!!" So if someone disagrees with your viewpoint that means they deserve to be struck dead? In my opinion not very pro-life or anti-death...

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  8. Anonymous, I agree with much of your sentiment. The most annoying thing to me, is when an antichoice tells a woman who does not regret her abortion that she WILL regret it, eventually. How are they to know that?

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  9. How are you to know that they don't?

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  10. Huh?

    The woman doesn't have regret, according to herself. Is that what you are asking?

    Some women regret, I was speaking here of those who do not.

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  11. What I mean is some women may regret their abortion, yet say they do not, for whatever reason. I guess outsiders must take what they say at face value, but no one really knows but the woman herself. A lot of people aren't truthful with themselves or others. You can't make an absolute statement about what a woman regrets unless you are speaking for yourself.

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  12. Of course we cannot know if the woman is lying or not. But I like to assume that people are truthful when speaking about their feelings, when they have no reason to lie (coercion, fear, etc).

    I think it'd be terribly rude to assume the woman is lying about her feelings when she's given no indication that you should think of her that way.

    Telling a woman she *will* regret is making an absolute statement about what she is/will regret. So perhaps we are against the same thing here?

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  14. Look. I am 18 and I almost aborted. I'm still in highschool. The dad and I spilt before I knew. Anyways. Every girl that I have come in contact with has deeply regretted their decision. A friend of mine that is 23, aborted because she wasn't ready. Everytime she see's a huggie commerical, she breaks down and cries. I am only 4 and a half weeks. I have a huge feeling I'm going to miscarry. I understand how a woman may not want her baby, and she may not get attached to it. But, if you actually are a woman....and are emotional like everyone else, you will get attached to what is growing inside of you. What is a part of you. Knowing that I could have a little girl or boy inside my belly is amazing. No, I'm not ready to be a mom. I can't even take care of myself. I have college to worry about. I don't know what I'm doing this friday, nevertheless what I should do for a kid.
    Anyways, my point being. Pro-choice, is completely obsurd because it is, infact, murder. If you sat down and just took a knife and stabbed it through your first born's head...it's the same thing. They are both breathing, thinking, and living individuals.
    If you don't want the baby, don't kill it..give it up for adoption. Therefore, you don't have to deal with it and someone gets a baby that will be their pride and joy.
    There are always alternatives. Some people are just to ignorant and blind to see them.

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    1. Adoption is an alternative to parenthood. Abortion is an alternative to pregnancy.

      Adoption is NOT an alternative to abortion. People have very real reasons for not continuing a pregnancy.

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    2. I'm a real woman with emotions and empathy, but I did not regret my abortion for even a second. You probably know a lot more post-abortive women than you think. Most women most likely aren't going to lead every conversation with "I got an abortion and I don't regret it!" I don't tell people very often. It isn't because I regret it or because I am ashamed. It's because I don't want to deal with other people preaching to me for it in places like where I work. If you regret your abortion, you are likely to get sympathy. If you don't, you are likely to be told that you're a murderer by an anti-abortion person. It makes sense that, when speaking to a judgmental person who believes abortion is "murder," someone who regrets her abortion would feel better in telling that person (compared to how comfortable a non-regretful person would feel) because she has the out of, "but I regret it!" and that offers her some protection from the criticizing remarks and insults that she might receive if she did not regret it.

      There is a huge difference between killing a sentient child and aborting a non-sentient embryo/young fetus. One is "breathing, thinking," and able to feel pain and emotions. The other is unable to do any of that.

      How can you say that being pro-choice is absurd when you, yourself, admit that you almost made the choice for abortion? You obviously are not completely solid in your anti-abortion views.

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  15. I'm sorry that you think being prochoice is murder. This is simply untrue.

    Even women who feel a connection to the fetus can still choose abortion. Some clinics have books where women can write a letter. Some women write to the fetus, talking about how they love them but chose what was best for everyone involved.

    There are alternatives. Most women who choose abortion know there are alternatives but make that choice anyway, because abortion is the best choice for them.

    In terms of your own pregnancy, I am curious if you have sought out any sort of help- emotional, financial, physical or otherwise. Even if you think you might miscarry, it would be a good idea to get in touch with your doctor. I hope you have someone ( a friend or trusted adult) you can talk to about what you're going through. I don't know what state you live in, but I'm sure a google search would put you in contact with a pregnancy resource group.

    Good luck, no matter what happens.

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    1. So you're saying that clinics let you write letters to the baby inside you before you kill it? Wow, that's impressive. I wonder what that sounded like. Maybe something like this: Dear unborn baby inside me, I'm sorry but I'm about to kill you. I'm only doing what's best for me and you, although you have no say in this. Obviously killing you is what's best for me. I hope you believe I truly do love you. That's why I made the choice to kill you. Love, your murderer mother.

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  16. You say that it is the best choice for everyone involved..is that the best choice for the fetus? I highly doubt that the infant would agree to being brutally killed...

    Alternatives, I think are the best way to see things through.

    Emotional help, I have a counselor. Financial, not yet. I see a doctor regulary. I do confide in a trusted friend. Thank you for your concern(:

    Thank you. I appreciate the luck, but that will serve no purpose for what God has in store. I live in the South East.

    PS:
    Sorry if I come by as rude. I take my religion really seriously...I always debate. It's a habit.

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    1. If my parents had opted for the abortion of my fetal self, I would have supported it (assuming I had any capability of thought and ability to support anything at all).

      I think that in my case, it would have been better for my parents and for myself if they had chosen abortion instead of giving birth to me.

      I cannot speak for everyone, but I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. In the same sense, you cannot speak for everyone and assume that all fetuses would object to it, especially when they are unable to think or feel anything in the first place.

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    2. I am sure a fetus would not want to ever die unless they have some pressing reason but guess what they don't because they have never come into the world before and they want to be given their chance as well, only certain women who don't care about them don't

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  17. First off, the fetus is not an infant- infants are born. Also, fetuses cannot think, so they can't agree or disagree. I think the pregnant woman would be the most knowledgeable about whether her choice is best for the fetus.

    I didn't see your post as rude. Being serious and strong about your religion is a positive trait in my eyes.

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    1. Christian Prochoicer, I'm wondering if you have ever read the Bible. If you haven't, then I clearly understand why you're saying the things you are saying. I don't see anywhere in the Bible where it tells us that abortion is right in the eyes of God. I cannot stand it when I see a Christian support abortion. It just shows that you know absolutely nothing about Christianity and its beliefs. The Bible clearly says defend the rights of those who cannot protect themselves. And it isnt only religiously. Within 18 to 21 days a heartbeat can be heard. To me, that is living. For all the women who are aborting their babies because they didnt expect one, well thats murder. A baby is not a mistake for having unsafe sex and being irresponsible. It is a gift that we are fortunate to get. To hurt something that has done no wrong makes the woman brutal with no respect for life. What would you have done if your mother had done that? Well give that baby a chance to live in this world. It deserves to.

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    2. I read on your formspring that you do not think every fetus needs to be born in order to fulfill their purposes. Well who are who and the other prochoicers to decide who should live and who shouldn't. You are absolutely correct that not all babies make it into this world, but that is not the woman's fault. But for all the babies who are aborted, then that woman is fully responsible for it. God decides who lives and dies. Not the people he created in this world. You wouldn't have been here if God didn't want you here. But he loved and still loves you, so he gave you LIFE. Prochoicers cannot decide which fetus should be born. Thats God's decision that you think you can make. I hope you do not see this as an attack. I want you to know that a true Christian cannot support abortion. Because thats saying that God is fine with a person murdering and he is clearly not.

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    3. Replying to Donna:

      The Bible makes no mention against abortion. In fact, the Christian god commands the slaying of many children and pregnant women. According to the bible, the pregnancy is property and not a person. If you kill another person, the bible says you are to be put to death. However, if you kill an embryo or fetus, you are to pay a fine to the father to compensate him for his investment in the same way that you would pay a fine to him if you broke one of his work tools.

      Specifically, the verse I'm thinking of says that if you strike a pregnant woman and she miscarries, then you are to pay a fine to her husband. However, if she dies, you are to be put to death for killing her.

      Elsewhere in the bible, it says that if you kill a child under the age of five years, you are to pay a fine to his father. If you kill a person over the age of five years, you are to be put to death.

      The bible doesn't see an embryo, a fetus, or even an infant, toddler, or young child as a person. They are property of the father.

      Also, there is no reason for every conception to result in a born being. The world will not suffer if someone isn't born. The would would not have suffered if you had not been born and it would not have suffered if I had not been born.

      And to go with your argument about how only God decides who lives and dies, then that would mean that one should not get prenatal care in her problem pregnancy and she should not make special precautions to protect the pregnancy from miscarriage or birth defects. Doing so could interfere with God's plan to miscarry it. And when she goes into labor, if she requires an emergency c-section, she shouldn't do it because if God's plan was for both the baby and mother to die, then she should allow it to happen. When the baby is born, if it needs emergency care because it's not breathing, they should just leave it alone because only God should keep it alive. If it has special needs and requires medications or else it would die, it should be left to God because it was in his plan for it to die.

      A true Christian can think for herself. If she supports abortion, she can. If she does not, that's okay too. At least she isn't telling you how you should carry out your personal and religious beliefs.

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    4. Well you make references to the Bible, but I don't know how religious you are or how well you have studied the Bible but I definitely know that all the references you have made come from the Old Testament. That was before Jesus. He brought a different life to the world once he was born. Because the time that you referenced, people were killed for adultery, stealing, cheating, and many other crimes. But Jesus brought something that wasn't there back then: forgiveness. He came to forgive the people so they could have all the second chances they needed. As for what you said about God's plan, I think you misunderstood it. I meant that us as people will do whatever we can to save our baby and to care for the baby, but in the end God decides what happens to it. I didn't say leave the baby to die if it needs help. I'm not here to fight with you or say what you believe is wrong, I am just here to show what most pro-life supporters believe.

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    5. Um...HELLO? again,someone referring to the biblical tenent that Jesus' coming did away with Mosaic Law and that's why the OT isn't valid.But the COMMANDMENTS are mosaic law. Are you.confident enough.in your argument to agree that the Ten Commandments are.no longer valid? We're not to pick and choos remember?

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  18. Bravo Krista! I pray God will bless you in making this couragous decision! One of my favorite verses in the bible is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jesus loves you and will carry you through this difficult chapter in your life.

    My sister also got pregnant out of wedlock and too young. Many encouraged her to have an abortion even the baby's father, who we found out had 3 baby's previously aborted. She like you always believed that abortion is wrong. We supported her through the pregnancy. The baby died two weeks before her due date. She speaks often about her experience and shares that it was a comfort to her that it was God's decision to bring the baby (she named James) home to Him in Heaven.

    May God bless you for your selfless act to let your baby live!

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  19. I think the pro-choice movement totally wants women to feel they have a choice, no matter what - and that it's completely okay to disregard everyone else's feelings (husband, father, parents, etc. ) and make the decision by yourself. In other words, as the woman, it's all about YOU and no one else. That is so cold and callous.

    I also think they like to overstate those who have no regrets. Some of these women are on their second and third abortions - maybe more? - and they have no regrets? What exactly are they using these abortions for, anyway? If you have one abortion and made a mistake, I can feel for you and realize you might be in a tough decision. But to not learn from your mistakes - "I just had an abortion and think I might be pregnant!" - I don't feel sorry for you at all, because you essentially learned nothing from it. This kind of thinking is the result of us being a completely throw away society that desperately tries to go through life with 100 percent guarantees, no pain or negativity and as obligation-free as possible. Saying things like "Don't judge me!" is basically saying "Don't hold me responsible for my completely immoral choices or lack of integrity."

    I think the number of women who do regret their abortions is covered up, because in our pro-choice "it's my way or the highway" world we don't want to admit that this decision can hurt, emotionally, physcologically or in any other possible way. We don't want to look at the ultrasound pictures because then we might change our minds, and after all, it is our right to choose, right? We don't want to put a face to the human life we're carrying, because then we might feel morally obligated to back out and go through with it. All while the vehement pro-choice movement is encouraging us to go through with it because it's "our choice." We don't want to disappoint them now, do we?

    I'd be curious to hear the number of women who felt obligated to go through with it because of coercion from their doctors, who often totally overstate the risk of birth defects and health to the mother - after all, they are totally trained to see pregnancy and birth as an "illness." it doesn't take much to manipulate someone who is emotionally vulnerable into thinking this is an appropriate choice just because "my doctor said so, and I trust him." The pro-choice movement is doing nothing but spoon-feeding these girls and women outright lies, in an effort to make them feel better about it.

    I also don't understand how anyone can call themselves pro-choice and Christian - the two seem completely incompatible to me and contradict everything God's word tells us about how to live our lives, and how to respect the lives of others. He knew us before we were born, after all.

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    1. I absolutely agree with you. It is impossible to be Christian and a prochoice. The two are opposites. Its either one or the other. Many claim they don't have regrets but hide it so they don't have to admit another fault of theirs. I truly feel sorry and hurt for all the women out there who are responsible who try to have a baby but cannot while there are so many women out there who have absolutely no respect for human life.

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    2. I had an abortion and I never felt any regret from it. I'm not hiding it. I'm not covering it up. I do have respect for sentient life.

      As for coerced abortions, they make up less than 1% of all abortions. Most women do not regret the abortion and the most common feeling following it is a sense of relief. Someone cannot actually (and legally) force someone into an abortion. The pregnant person must give consent for it and at anytime she could say no.

      As for being okay with a person having one abortion, but not more than that, what sense does that even make? Pregnancy and parenthood should not be utilized as punishments for having sex. Even if one is taking precautions, she may still find herself pregnant. I don't know how you can be so against abortions but then be okay with up to one abortion per woman.

      As for the people out there trying to have babies and that you call "responsible," if they are so responsible, why do they spend all of this time and money on IVF instead of adopting the children that are already born and without families? Why don't they adopt the older children or special needs children who will probably never get adopted instead of waiting for years on a waiting list to adopt a newborn from China? How is making more babies instead of taking care of the ones that are already here responsible at all?

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    3. Wow you are the most pathetic individual out there. You are disgusting enough to have an abortion and now you criticize the women who try having a baby using IVF instead of adopting?? How the hell would you know anything about that?? You're killing babies out there and then blaming women who dont adopt?? You such a hypocrite and a bigot. Maybe a women would want to have a baby that came from their own body instead of adopting someone else's baby. But you would never understand that because you kill what's inside you anyway. So look in a mirror and gain some common sense before saying such stupid stuff. And the person you replied to is a 100% correct in saying what she said. The poor women who cannot have a child bring such sadness to people who actually care about life.And when did she ever say that one abortion per person is okay??

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  20. you're comparing a car to a baby? Wow. I'm not being mean here but that is a terrible example. Something that is a inanimate object and something that has life, something that you were long ago.

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    1. It's called an analogy. She could have said the same thing about giving her dog away because she couldn't afford it, but then got a job a week later and missed her dog and regretted giving it away. Regretting it didn't mean that it wasn't the best choice for her situation at the time.

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    2. Great well then if it wasn't the best choice then maybe irresponsible sex isnt the right choice either. Why can't the stupid women out there who have abortions just keep their legs together and stop killing life that cant defend itself? And analogy or what,comparing a baby to a car, thats what I would expect to hear from a woman who kills her own child.

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  21. The ignorance in this comments section is appalling. Abortion is not murder. A pregnancy is a woman's body creating a human child...terminating one is not the same as killing the resulting child at all. Claiming that it is deeply illogical, ignorant and hateful towards women. Our bodies can do something amazing by creating new people. Claiming that embryos/fetuses are new human beings just need to use women's bodies for a while is totally degrading and belittling to us.

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    1. I agree, Clare.

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    2. How could you call making a baby amazing if you end up killing it?? The most annoying thing for us pro-lifers is when we hear women who had an abortion say that they loved their baby and it was beautiful but they had to kill it anyway.

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  22. I have had an abortion and am experiencing some emotional turmoil even years later after having 2 kids. Politically, I am pro-choice. I also know I made my abortion choice for a good reason so I don't want to "repent." It frustrates me that I can't get appropriate support for the emotions I am going through because most support comes with a pro-life slant, and the pro-choice camp tends to say Post Abortion Stress Syndrome is not real.

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  23. Anon, have you tried talking to someone at Exhale? http://exhaleprovoice.org/ I haven't used their services, but I have heard that they are a great organization, because they focus on being pro-voice instead of picking a side in the debate.

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    1. Just emailed them last night actually. I wish I could find an appropriate local support group but they all seem politically or religiously motivated to me.

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