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Category Archives: Decisions

Abortion Clinic

By: Stephanie Renae Johnson 

 

Pictures of curled fetuses line the Winnebago,

as do paintings of Jesus

holding out his arms like class war doesn’t exist.

 

Well-intentioned young men look like the carpenter

as they help their sisters, girlfriends, wives, women

into the clinic and away from the shame bus.

 

“Don’t go in there, we can help you!”

But the closer the woman steps to the building

the more the threats rhyme with blood.

 

These girls, they stare at the asphalt.

Those women, they focus on their running shoes with intent to put them to use.

One foot after the other leads them closer to sound proof walls.

 

The protesters pump their signs up and down, puncturing the sky.

I wonder if God himself might have pierced feet

from walking on the carpet of poster boards proclaiming abortion as a sin.

 

The double edged sword is a Bible run South

of no birth control and no abortions

and no freedom of peace to walk in a clinic

 

alone

unarmed

as a woman.

 

stephanie


Stephanie Renae Johnson
is a feminist, writer, and artist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Writing at Lenior-Rhyne University and works as a freelance writer, editor, and personal artist’s assistant. Stephanie’s work has appeared in literary magazines such as Prick of the Spindle and Danse Macabre, as well as on her art blog, DaBlobBlog.

To Or To Not #ProtectTheZone?

It was sunny the day my friend drove me past the Planned Parenthood clinic in Virginia. It wasn’t even 9:00am yet, and there were protesters lining the sidewalk. They held signs, there were men and women, and worst of all, they were there to tell me I was making a huge mistake. My stomach turned just looking at them.

“Hey,” my friend said snapping me out of my inner turmoil. “Let’s go get something to drink.”

Because I was having a surgical abortion, I hadn’t had anything to eat (okay, let’s be honest, I snuck some candy on the drive up) in several hours, and I was only allowed to have clear liquids. We sat at a diner while she sipped coffee, and I drank iced water. No matter how warm it was outside, I couldn’t stop shaking.

When we returned to the clinic, the protesters had gathered in numbers. “Are you ready?” my friend asked. I couldn’t talk anymore, so I just nodded my head and stepped out of the car. We approached the doors that had signs saying, “Please don’t interact with the protesters,” and I pushed a button. Somewhere, I registered the fact someone was shouting. I assumed it was to traffic, telling the cars passing by of the atrocities that happen inside the building.

Instead, my friend put her arm around me, protectively and said, “Don’t listen to them, Sweetie.”

And then it hit me like a baseball bat to the face. They were screaming at me. Finally I could hear their words, “We know you’re scared, but you don’t have to do this!”

(A bit later)

After the procedure, I was groggy from sedation, and sitting in the recovery room. I can’t remember if it was me, or one of the women beside me, but someone asked the nurse taking care of us if she was ever afraid to go to work.

Her face went very still and she answered, “Yes, sometimes the protesters can be very mean.” I was still too sedated to remember what else was said. I do remember feeling upset because here was a woman helping me, who is afraid to come to her job, to help people like me, and yet was still there on that day.

Some time later, my friend had to pick me up from the back door and we left the clinic. As we drove away, I could see that even more protesters had gathered, and they still held signs. It was the first time I’d ever felt real hatred toward people I didn’t know. Yes, I was afraid. I’d never been pregnant before. I’d never had an abortion before. I’d also never been left by the guy who got me pregnant, was awaiting being evicted from my house, a knee surgery, and a plethora of other complications. I was scared out of my mind, that the protesters were right about. But I did need to have my abortion because for me, my abortion meant life, or my pregnancy meant death by my own hand.

Since my abortion, I’ve become an activist attempting to spread some grey area into the world of the black and white abortion debate. I’ve been to ProLife and ProChoice rallys. I’ve been to writing conferences talking about my abortion. And I’ve also been to counter protests outside of Planned Parenthood in Portland, Maine holding signs that say, “We support you!” and “I had an abortion.”

My friends and I were met with hostility. A man forcing pamphlets into our hands about “willful ignorance” insulted us. There was a sickening, almost tangible element of fear in the air, not only for the women entering the clinic, but the workers, the clinic escorts, and my friends…it felt like any second the world would explode. People drove by screaming at the protesters, “You’re fucking disgusting!” A man on a bicycle rode by chastising them. It was oppressive, and yet they still yelled at my friends and I, asking why we were “scared” of them. When we left, we were followed to our car.

Now, the Supreme Court has voted against the buffer zone in Massachusetts, which may or may not set the precedent for the remaining states in America. Earlier this year, Portland, Maine enacted a patient safety zone of 39 ft. We’ve heard many positive stories since the buffer zone had been enacted. Planned Parenthood of New England (PPNE) stated in a press release, “What is different since the buffer zone has been enacted is that we no longer see the sort of harassment and intimidation we saw previously. The atmosphere outside of our health center is one of peaceful coexistence – which balances the right to privacy with free speech rights.”

In light of the recent decision to strike down the Massachusetts buffer zone, PPNE stated, “The U.S. Supreme Court Justices’ decision today to strike down the buffer zone law shows a disregard for the safety of patients and staff entering reproductive health centers and we are disappointed by their decision to strike down the Massachusetts law.”

The Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center in Bangor, Maine, Abbie Strout, said, “I am dissapointed in the Supreme Court for ruling against a buffer zone. We all deserve the right to make a decision about our lives and should be able to access necessary health care services without facing fear and intimidation.”

In regards to a potential added level of danger to the decision, Abbie stated, “I think it is important to acknowledge that we all face a certain level of danger doing this work.  It was only 5 years ago when Dr. George Tiller was murdered at his church, he was a well-known abortion provider and hero.  Everyday people across the country face fear and intimidation going to work or while accessing medical care.  This is unacceptable. At the same time, we are all incredibly lucky that there are women and men who understand how important access to abortion care is and will risk their lives for it.”

The fact of the matter is, when people are allowed to be hostile, to add tension, it becomes an unsafe environment. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. As someone who is a mental health profession, and who has struggled with my own mental health, these “protests” or “clinic counselors” are a danger to any person walking into those clinics.

Respect, the “Friendzone,” and Rejection

We’ve all read about the shooting in Santa Barbara. With the help of #YesAllWomen, we’ve seen the damage that men have caused women. We’ve all heard about the “friendzone” but what exactly does that mean?

I’ve had a guy friend for just over two years now. During that time, he’s expressed that he’s interested in me on multiple occasions. The first time, I ignored the advance. The second time, I responded with, “Yea, I didn’t respond the first time for a reason…” and then he stopped talking to me for several months. When he’d cooled down, we snowboarded together and would hang out. I found another guy as my boyfriend. I’d finally felt like he’d gotten the hint that I wasn’t interested.

Just recently, he’d come over to hang out. We watched The Hunger Games, took my dogs for a walk, and had some drinks. I expressed again, I’m only interested in friendship, and am involved with someone else. He spent the remainder of the night “drunkenly” trying to hold my hand. Thankfully, my dog was on my lap and made it impossible.

He left the following morning after sleeping on my couch, and I asked him to message me when he got home. This is the conversation that ensued. I’ve bolded the portions that I have extreme issues with what he said but am not delving into in this post.

*Out of respect, names have been changed.

Him: I’m home, L, I hope you realize after traveling for over a day the one person I wanted to get back and see wasn’t my family or any friends, it was you. I really want to be more than friends and that hope is what keeps me going and keeps me coming back. I’m not sure where I failed other than being short, but it hurts a little that we are so comfortable together yet you put up blocks. I hope you see me one day for who I am. If you take away my hope that will change our dynamic far more then the other way. I have stood aside so many times while you dated guys who were terrible. I’m sorry but won’t do that again.
Me: B, I’ve told you this a million times. I don’t want to be anything other than friends with you.
Him: Yeah, and I’ve always tried to be more. The part that really hurts is you’re more then friends with guys like J, D, P, etc. Tell me what I lack that they have. You’re proud of my accomplishments. Yet you retreat under the slightest touch. If you really won’t take a step forward then maybe it’s time I take a few steps back.
Me: You think? B, I’ve always been up front with you about the way things are between us. I enjoy being friends with you. I am not attracted to you. We are friends
Him: You’ve airways been up front with me about the way you see things. I’m offering the same courtesy. The biggest reason we are still friends is I had hope. It made things with and made me durable. Walk softly now.
Me: So are you saying you only want to be my friend if there’s a chance of fucking me? That’s pretty low, dude.
Him: No I’m saying I’ve always gone the extra mile, made time during the day, taken you out to dinner, etc in the hope you would take that step.
Him: Well not that step, but just maybe you would finally see me.
Me: It’s ridiculous that that was your expectation all the time. YOU don’t decide how I feel about people. I’ve gone out to dinner with FRIENDS forever, and they don’t put this added pressure. This conversation is making you out to be a shit friend and I need you to stop talking to me for the time being so I can cool the fuck off.
Him: So much for walking softly…
[End of Conversation]

 

First of all, I don’t even know what “Walking softly” means, except for the quote that says something like, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Secondly, the part where I said, “So you only want to be my friend if there’s a chance of f@#$ing me?” he continued to state,  “In the hopes you would take that step.”

That step.

Meaning, yes, in the hopes I’d bang him. And not even so much hopes as expectation. Because he’d always “gone the extra mile.” He admits that I’ve been up front about “the way (I) see things,” and yet somehow this isn’t enough for him.

Again, I’ve told this “gentleman” and self proclaimed “nice guy” countless times that we are friends, and will be nothing more. I’ve tried to say I wasn’t interested in a relationship. I’ve blatantly said I’m only interested in friendship. And yet we still had to have this conversation.

I’m posting this on the blog to illustrate to people who may not experience this type of thing, or maybe have, that this happens, all the time. For some reason, guys feel entitled to a woman’s body if he puts in time and effort. This needs to change. Saying “No” or “I’m not interested” once should be enough and for some reason it hasn’t been. Now people are being killed for saying no. Saying no to going to prom. Saying no to having sex. Not being interested in having sex, and pursuing other guys.

Women are now in a position where saying no may kill them. Where saying, “This is my body, and I’m not interested in you touching it” may get them hurt, threatened, stabbed or shot. This is the reality that women face, that women deal with on a daily basis.

What I’ve posted here is one conversation, one interaction of thousands.

And things have to change.

***UPDATE***

Since writing this piece yesterday, I’ve posted it to my social media pages. The guy in question has read it. This was his response:

Him: That’s it L, if you want to make my words out to be some sort of evil vile sex driven mad man, then you really don’t know me. Btw, it’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” you sound like an idiot. Goodbye, you know how to burn bridges like no other. You’re even going after your friends now.

Yes, it was in poor taste to post about my friends. However, at AbortionChat, we strive for personal stories. This is an incredibly personal story to me. I struggled with whether or not to post it, and sought advice from several male friends. They encouraged me to do this, because this is exactly my point.

He has since un-friended me on Facebook. And yet, I still feel like if I hadn’t done this, if I hadn’t taken things to this level to prove a point, he would still be attempting to pursue me. Because no matter how many times I’d said no, I wasn’t interested, we still had those conversations.

The Shaming of Pregnant Women

A week or so ago, an acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook a picture she took of a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette. She was wearing a grey tank top that barely covered her expanding stomach, and in the background a guy was walking toward her. (Assuming her significant other.) She did not ask permission to take said picture, I can only assume she also did not tell the woman that she would be posting her picture on social media. (This acquaintance has since also posted a picture of people’s addresses who bought her items on eBay. Ugh.)

Anyways, a conversation ensued, an angry rant on our Twitter feed, and lot of our followers chimed in. We submitted a panel proposal to the Sex Ed Conference this year about training people how to maintain a level head in heated arguments. In the following conversation, I (Lynne) utilized everything I would teach in that panel. With no further ado, here is the conversation/debate that ensued after this acquaintance posted that picture:
*Only the first names of the participants have been used. The Sasha person is the acquaintance who posted the picture.

  • Elizabeth What? That dude looks like he is about to kick some butt. Which Shaw’s?

    May 11 at 7:29pm 

  • Judith Nothing like low birth weight and adolescent respiratory issues, not to mention proven learning disabilities, it’s 9 months of your life makes me so sad 

    May 11 at 7:34pm

  • Sasha They were both swearing at me…I continued to state that I cared for only her children. A dude rolled up and offered me a loss prevention job at JCPenney Hahahaga

    May 11 at 7:39pm 

  • Judith Classy

    May 11 at 7:40pm

  • Elizabeth Oh no, I kind of thought that dude was looking your way. Be careful, Sasha! Why is this chick on her phone too? She is busy!

    May 11 at 7:43pm

  • Sasha She was calling the cops she said

    May 11 at 7:49pm 

  • Elizabeth Why was she calling the cops?

    May 11 at 7:50pm 

  • Sasha Because I was taking pictures of her smoking while pregnant.

    May 11 at 7:51pm 

  • Rob Series Of Unfortunate Events.

    May 11 at 8:04pm 

  • Travis You are hilarious.

    May 11 at 8:56pm 

  • Sasha Travis hilarious???

    May 11 at 8:58pm 

  • Travis Yeah. I think you are funny.

    May 11 at 9:01pm 

  • Lynne Yea….I’m not cool with criminalizing a woman while she’s pregnant. She knows the health risks associated. She’ll also be the one to pay the associated medical bills.

    May 11 at 9:02pm

  • Sasha I guarantee you Maine Care with cover it…and guess who pays for Maine Care…

    May 11 at 9:11pm 

  • Lynne I don’t care if MaineCare, Obamacare, or anything else pays for it. I don’t care if she’s shooting up heroine in the bathroom. No one has the right to police or demonize what this woman is doing to her body. It may come out stillborn, it may be a tragedy. It may be the only cigarette(s) she’s had during her pregnancy. You don’t know, it doesn’t matter, you will never see her again.

    May 11 at 9:15pm

  • Sasha I was standing up for the only person that matters. The child within. Somebody had to.

    May 11 at 9:16pm

  • Fritz They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture is Way beyond that!

    May 11 at 9:17pm 

  • Sasha Here is another one!

    ::At this point, she posts another picture of a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette and speaking to a man::

    May 11 at 9:19pm · Like

  • Lynne Schmidt “I was standing up for the only person that matters. The child within”

    That is an incredibly ignorant and dangerous thing to say.

    May 11 at 9:21pm 

  • Lynne May I use this picture/scenario on Abortion Chat?

    May 11 at 9:23pm

  • Heather So then when do we hold people responsible for what they do? Never? We should just let whatever happens, happens. Let the pregnant woman smoke. Let the man who wants to rob the old lady rob the old lady. Hell, I feel like driving drunk. Hope the cops don’t feel like they need to pull me over!

    May 11 at 9:24pm 

  • Jeremy How did this situation play out? Did they just start yelling at you out of the blue?>

    May 11 at 9:24pm

  • Sasha This has nothing to do with abortion. This woman has other children that she smoked while pregnant with and brags about how she will have more and continue to smoke.

    May 11 at 9:25pm · Like

  • Sasha Oh Heather I love you.

    May 11 at 9:25pm 

  • Lynne Heather, yes she should be allowed to smoke. At this point, you, nor anyone else but the woman and potential mate know if the fetus is even viable. Criminalizing and demonizing women is where unhealthy laws are put in place. If laws start being passed saying “If a pregnant woman tests positive for nicotine…” women will stop seeking prenatal care. Premature babies will be done, suffer horrendously, and die. Women, like this one who is smoking while pregnant, may need support while trying to quit. May need support in general, which may be why she is smoking.

    May 11 at 9:26pm

  • Jeremy I wonder if these people will have a change of heart as a result of your conversations with them.

    May 11 at 9:27pm

  • Lynne *be born, not done. Spelling error

    May 11 at 9:27pm 

  • Sasha Well Jeremy I opened my big mouth and asked her if she was aware of what smoking while pregnant will do to a child…and the fireworks exploded from there.

    May 11 at 9:28pm

  • Sasha Lynne heather was being sarcastic.

    May 11 at 9:28pm 

  • Lynne I highly doubt Heather was being sarcastic in regards to the situation.

    May 11 at 9:29pm 

  • Jeremy Sounds like she had an attitude, I can see why that’d make you angry.

    May 11 at 9:30pm

  • Lynne I’d have an attitude if strangers were taking pictures of me, too.

    May 11 at 9:30pm

  • Heather I mean, I’m a social worker by day so I agree with you that she probably needs some support, yes. But I don’t think Sasha is arguing that a law needs to be passed that prohibits pregnant women from smoking, but I also think it’s somewhat condescending to not hold people at all responsible for what they do. Sure, she may be suffering for a whole host of reasons, and yes, I think it’s on some level important to discern what these reasons are and educate her about her choices, but I also think it’s worthwhile to point out to people the potential consequences of their actions instead of just saying, “You know, it’s okay, you’re stressed have that cig.” No. It is actually more compassionate to hold people accountable.

    May 11 at 9:31pm 

  • Lynne Yes, however, there are surgeon general warnings on every pack of cigarettes. She is probably well aware of the risks, and for some reason, whatever that reason may be, is still choosing to smoke. It is her right to bodily autonomy. Some people decide to have healthy pregnancies. She, oblivious, is not. As a result, she will have to live with the consequences.

    May 11 at 9:33pm 

  • Sasha Jeremy I wasn’t angry. I felt bad. She acted nuts because her defense went up. I wanted to believe she actually felt bad about what she was doing but when she inhales a huge drag and exhales like a dragon well…she seemed proud.

    May 11 at 9:33pm

  • Heather And you do not think as fellow human beings we owe it to each other to point out consequences to others? Isn’t this an act of love? I see it as an act of love.

    May 11 at 9:34pm

  • Sasha Not just her Lynne, the poor defenseless baby that never asked to be stuck in such a gutter of a womb.

    May 11 at 9:35pm

  • Jeremy It’s too bad her child will have to live with the consequences too, should it be born.

    May 11 at 9:36pm 

  • Lynne Poor, defenseless baby. Do you know the gender? Do you know him/her personally? How are its rights more important than the mothers? Or are you one of those people who think women’s soul purpose in life is to be an incubator?

    May 11 at 9:36pm

  • Heather It seems like you have given up on her, Lynne, while Sasha has not.

    May 11 at 9:37pm

  • Lynne I have not, actually. I work with Abortion Chat and the reproductive justice community to avoid women like this being harassed by people like Sasha.

    May 11 at 9:38pm 

  • Jeremy Which is better: holding someone accountable by giving our adverse opinions, or biting our tongue when our opinion will not be heard?

    May 11 at 9:38pm 

  • Sasha Well Lynne, the baby inside of her has rights, not more rights than the mother like you said (seems like you enjoy putting words in my mouth)…if i saw a woman blowing cigarette smoke in her baby’s face i would speak up to her too. i will not turn my head way from child abuse I didn’t physically harm her, i didn’t call her names, i only chose to take her photo when she started acting absolutely disgusting and throwing her cigarette at my car.

    May 11 at 9:44pm 

  • Heather That is a very good question, but I would always say an “adverse opinion” can sometimes, years later, be remembered as someone’s attempt to care. Instead of remaining quiet and so complacent. And, Lynne, I don’t think we are talking about reproductive justice here. This isn’t an anti-abortion conversation. This is about the fact that this woman was smoking, and whether you like it or not, that has direct consequences to the child inside of her. You can still be a feminist and a liberal and also feel the need to express this and draw attention to it.

    May 11 at 9:47pm 

  • Lynne The fetus inside her has no rights. It can’t vote, it can’t feed itself, it can’t even breathe. Feel free to remove it from the hosts body and care for it the way you see fit.
    I didn’t put any words in your mouth, actually. I was asking a question. Until a fetus is born, it has no rights. It is not recognized by the government as a person. It holds no social security number.
    It is one thing for this woman to put whatever she wants into her body. It is another to have a child, outside of her body, ingest arsenic.
    I grew up in a household of cigarette smoke. It was awful, and I wish it on no one. However, I refuse to shame a pregnant woman based on her decisions for her health, and her body.

    May 11 at 9:48pm 

  • Lynne Actually, policing a woman’s body for any reason is a reproductive justice issue. FYI.

    May 11 at 9:50pm 

  • Heather By not holding her accountable for her actions you have given up on her. You are essentially arguing that Sasha should have just been like, “Oh well, she can do whatever she wants.” And that is condescending and actually not very just, speaking of justice.

    May 11 at 9:51pm 

  • Heather This is also a spiritual question, and I would guess you and I don’t see eye to eye on that either, so peace out.

    May 11 at 9:52pm 

  • Lynne Going up to a stranger, taking their picture without permission, and harassing them with their own opinions is generally considered wrong (or whichever order these events happened in). Just throwing it out there.

    May 11 at 9:53pm 

  • Jeremy What if an adverse opinion remains seen as one? Sasha, do you feel like there was any other way for you to voice your opinion and this woman hear it?

    May 11 at 9:53pm 

  • Heather Her boyfriend is kind of hot, though, Sash.

    May 11 at 9:54pm 

  • Heather yum yum

    May 11 at 9:55pm 

  • Sasha So the government is not the end all be all to this world. Our lives on this earth are more spiritual and important than the government could hope to be. this is about common sense and right and wrong. but if you want to play that laws and government bullshit well check this angle, why have people been charged for a double murder when they kill a pregnant mother. no rights lynn? hmmmmm?

    May 11 at 9:55pm 

  • Jeremy Laws usually follow some sort of ethical philosophy, perhaps a fetus should have some degree of rights, but where does the mother end and the fetus begin? How could we respect the rights of one without compromising the rights of the other?

    May 11 at 9:57pm

  • Lynne 1) You spelled my name wrong and 2) It depends on which state people are in, and how far along the pregnancy was. Also, how would you like it if when you decide to reproduce, you’re told you shouldn’t or you’ll be a crappy mother because of all of your tattoos?

    May 11 at 9:59pm 

  • Lynne Bodily autonomy is everything.

    May 11 at 10:00pm 

  • Heather What does that even mean

    May 11 at 10:01pm 

  • Sasha my tattoos aren’t going to medically hurt the child within….and id never get tattooed while pregnant.

    May 11 at 10:01pm 

  • Heather I do think the star tattoo on her leg, the big one, indicates that she will be a pretty bad mother.

    May 11 at 10:02pm 

  • Lynne No. I’m saying you don’t know her situation. You don’t know if she’s trying to quit smoking. If that’s the first day she’s smoked during the entire pregnancy. What the circumstances surrounding the situation are. No one has any right to harass this woman.

    May 11 at 10:04pm 

  • Jeremy I wonder if babies can get tattooes

    May 11 at 10:04pm

  • Heather If she has the right to smoke, Sasha has the right to harass her. If we should all just sit back and let whatever happens, happens, then Sasha can do whatever she wants, as can the woman in the photo.

    May 11 at 10:05pm 

  • Sasha i had a conversation with her actually. so i do know. she said she had smoked through all of her pregnancies. she would keep having kids and smoke while pregnant with them too.

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Lynne People pierce baby’s ears. No one is in an uproar about that. It’s considered “cute”

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Lynne It’s her body, it’s her potential child, it’s her right to smoke. She also could have been lying to piss you off.

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Sasha i think its disgusting to pierce a babies ears, to circumcise a baby, to dress them up like little sparkly dolls

    May 11 at 10:07pm 

  • Heather This is such dangerous logic, Lynne. Honestly. I find it very dangerous. You are saying a woman, just because she has a body and republicans are scary with their anti-abortion shit, can do whatever she wants. This is so dangerous to me! It is truly scary to not be invested in the child’s life AS WELL AS the mother’s. That seems so disconnected to me, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. Honestly. Are you for real?

    May 11 at 10:08pm

  • Sasha well she hacked 4 times as she pulled the pack of cigarettes out of her bra…i bet that was her first cigarette ever LYNN. Maybe she was just trying it out…maybe her other children all under the age of 5 peer pressured her into it.

    May 11 at 10:08pm 

  • Heather The hands-off mentality is like in direct response to the terror of the anti-abortion assholes. There is definitely a middle ground. You don’t have to go in the exact opposite direction; it is just as dangerous.

    May 11 at 10:10pm

  • Lynne Funny you mention “terror of the anti-abortion assholes.” They also take pictures of pregnant women, post them online, and shame them.

    May 11 at 10:10pm

  • Sasha exactly. i believe a woman has a right to choose, and every situation is different. I don’t even have shit to say to someone who has multiple abortions. Id rather someone terminate a pregnancy than smoke all the way through it.

    May 11 at 10:12pm

  • Heather Yes, but this is a different conversation. You have to attune yourself to the conversation. I know Sasha is for women’s rights, so it isn’t really correct to lump this conversation with those conversations. And it doesn’t have to be an either/or. It’s not like if you point out that this woman is hurting her child by smoking, you’re SUDDENLY one of those terrible anti-abortion assholes. You can say this, bring this up, and not instantly be on a SIDE. I know contemporary politics would have us think (the PC culture) that instantly you are either FOR or AGAINST but it isn’t that simple. And if you begin to ascribe to that mentality and you fight for your opinion as if you know and nobody else does, then you’re occupying the same role as the anti-abortion assholes.

    May 11 at 10:13pm 

  • Lynne I don’t agree with the way Sasha handled the situation. I am not for pregnant women smoking, or drinking, or doing drugs. Do I hope that when the baby comes out it’s healthy? Yes. But I also know that if I were pregnant, and wanted a drink, a smoke, a whatever else, I’d do it. It’s my body. And honestly? I’d have called the cops on someone harassing me in a parking lot.

    May 11 at 10:15pm 

  • Sasha Well any man that considers getting you pregnant will have to read this first. a lot of people don’t agree with the way i role and thats fine. i know what is right and what is wrong and if i see it I’m going to say something. I didn’t harass her, belittle her, or call her names. I asked her a question.

    May 11 at 10:18pm

  • Lynne And took her picture without permission. And posted on social media for the world to see.

    May 11 at 10:19pm

  • Lynne You’re welcome to your beliefs. It’s not cool to exploit people, and I, like you, will speak up against it.

    May 11 at 10:20pm

  • Lynne Also, any man who gets me pregnant needs to understand I’ll have an abortion. (So I guess I’d probably continue drinking during the pregnancy, anyway.)

    May 11 at 10:21pm

  • Heather Wouldn’t want to be your bay-bay.

    May 11 at 10:22pm

  • Patrick The baby was asking for her to smoke if you ask me, its naked for christ fucking sake.

    May 11 at 10:22pm 

  • Lynne Patrick, I just laughed so fucking hard.

    May 11 at 10:23pm 

  • Sasha the thing is Lynne you went off on a tangent that was completely off topic and dragged abortion into so your credibility in this forum is shot.

    May 11 at 10:23pm

  • Lynne Actually, I didn’t, I asked if I could post it on Abortion Chat, which is a reproductive justice venue to discuss all faucets of abortion (pregnancy is considered it that, sorry to inform you). And I didn’t go on a tangent. I stuck to the fact that what you did was way out of line, and in some states illegal.

    May 11 at 10:25pm

  • Sasha as long as thats what you believe

    May 11 at 10:26pm

  • Patrick I bet they’re juggalos. Either way these two (assuming he’s the baby daddy) shouldn’t have been allowed to reproduce.

    May 11 at 10:26pm 

  • Patrick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWliAVpjArA

    Ice Cube – Crack Baby

Ice Cube – Crack Baby (By Mr.PsychoOo 9mm) http://icecubehiphoprapwestside4life…. See More

May 11 at 10:27pm

  • Sasha are you a grown nic baby born in Maine……

    May 11 at 10:29pm 

  • Heather It is also fascinating to me that what Lynne is expressing is a real consequence (speaking of consequences) of a capitalist mentality where the individual is the most important — and the locus of ultimate power and focus. It’s all about the individual, the individual’s body, the individual’s existence, the individual’s choices. There really is nothing outside of the individual. The baby is there, sure, but it falls to the wayside in the context of what the individual needs/wants/desires/feels. It’s actually very American. Very capitalist.

    May 11 at 10:29pm

  • Lynne She could still decide to have an abortion. Legally depending on where she’s at. She could still miscarry or have a stillborn, which is why, until it’s born, I don’t consider it much.

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Patrick No Heather, its #feminism

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Tasha Lynne you are absolutely wrong. Babies practice breathing while inside the womb. They eat. They pee…they just aren’t born yet. So YES at this late in her pregnancy…this baby HAS rights!!!!

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Lynne Tasha, next you’ll tell me that they feel pleasure and masturbate in the womb, too, no? They do not eat. They ingest what the pregnant person does. They cannot breathe their own air, they do not take care of themselves.

    May 11 at 10:33pm

  • Jeremy Isn’t it individualism to side with the fetus against the mother?

    May 11 at 10:33pm

  • Heather Yeah, but it is actually more feminist (in my opinion) to be attuned. To be attuned to the fact that there is a beating heart inside of your body. I love how that is somehow so uncool: to think about the beating heart. It’s like, how unfeminist of you to think about the beating heart! Like if you think about the beating heart, you are simultaneously NOT thinking about you. If I want a drink, I’ll have one, Lynne says. As if the idea of personal autonomy and choice is somehow inherently in contradiction with the beating heart.

    May 11 at 10:34pm 

  • Sasha a day old baby sure isn’t masturbating, eating on its own, or taking care of itself…and lets remember, i wasn’t against the mother, i asked her a simple question and it turned ugly.

    May 11 at 10:35pm

  • Sasha what if the fetus is female?

    May 11 at 10:35pm

  • Patrick Lynne actually babies do masturbate in the womb, its been proven through ultrasounds.

    May 11 at 10:36pm

  • Sasha http://www.facebook.com/l.php…

    GOP Congressman Wants to Ban Abortion to Save Masturbating Fetuses

    news.yahoo.com

In a preview of the many pronouncements to come on the floor of Congress as the … See More

May 11 at 10:37pm 

  • Jeremy So maybe we should start an anti-smoking pro-choice support group for this woman?

    May 11 at 10:37pm

  • Patrick We should just give her child free birth control and an obamaphone

    May 11 at 10:39pm

  • Sasha she doesn’t want to abort her child. she wants to smoke while carrying it. and she wants to have more children and smoke while carrying them.

    May 11 at 10:40pm

  • Lynne My brain just exploded. Damn you Patrick and Jeremy.

    May 11 at 10:41pm

  • Sasha I’m going to put Lynne in my womb and chain smoke all day!

    May 11 at 10:41pm

  • Patrick I bet she bought the cigs with her welfare money Lynne

    May 11 at 10:41pm 

  • Lynne She might have. I’ve known friends to trade food stamps for alcohol. Sasha, just do it while you’re snowboarding. That way it’s like a joyride.

    May 11 at 10:43pm

  • Tasha You obviously have NOT had a child or gone to the obgyn for prenatal appts. They practice and CAN breathe. They move their mouths, they suck their thumbs, they are alive inside of a person. A person who is supposed to do what’s in the best interest of that child. I won’t lie…I’m ashamed to say I smoked a few weeks out of my pregnancy. But, I quit bc my baby inside me WAS ALIVE! SHE HAD A HEART…A HEARTBEAT…SHE HAD ORGANS, AND BODY FEATURES SUCH AS EYES, EARS, NOSE, MOUTH!!! You just seem like a very ignorant person who should just shut the fuck up!

    May 11 at 10:45pm

  • Sasha ill never do it again. i used to smoke and i quit. i quit cold turkey one day because it was poisoning my body. you know those rooms in the airport where people sit and smoke. those little rooms should be everywhere. and people should have to sit together and inhale everyone else’s second hand smoke while they are smoking. its absolutely disgusting to have to walk down congress st and tell my niece to hold her breath every 10 feet because people are human fucking chimneys.

    May 11 at 10:47pm

  • Jeremy Did someone take a picture of you and post it on social media when you did it? <——— Did you look like this? 

    May 11 at 10:48pm 

  • Lynne You’re right, Tasha, I haven’t had a child because I had an abortion, because I knew myself well enough to know that I’m selfish, and angry, and would make an awful parent right now. I also drank, smoked, had x-rays and an MRI while pregnant. The fact that you’re ignorant enough to start being aggressive shows that you don’t know how to have conversations civilly. Congratulations. You win.

    May 11 at 10:50pm

  • Patrick Lynne you’d suffocate on that joyride, heard that shits tight

    May 11 at 10:55pm 

  • Tasha Oh that makes me want to tell you to SHUT THE FUCK UP even more!!! I always said I didn’t want children. I was selfish too…I wanted to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. With a child you CAN’T… and I accept that! So while you WERE ABLE to get pregnant some women are out there wanting so badly to have a child and can’t. To me you having that abortion makes you no better than this hot mess!!! No I would not be so aggressive had you not been so ignorant to this post. This is SASHA’S fb…she can post whatever the fuck she wants. If you DON’T like it then fuckin there’s a delete or hide stories from this person option. But you chose to be ignorant and you’re right and everybody else is wrong! Go fuckin kick rocks you selfish bitch! Some woman could have made a great life for that baby you murdered!!!!!

    May 11 at 11:02pm

  • Sara sasha exploiting as in benefiting from lynne? exploit comes from outcome of an action, having advantage, achievement. her achievement here is her voice she can not have that? ego of preg lady is at stake you suggest? true turnaround/healing for anyone causing suffering to themselves and thereby those around them is usually a good slap in the ego the way true self likes it. in this parking lot sasha is participating in her life and those around her. no different than you are here so kudos all. it is an endangered art in a mechanically law abiding sleepwalking world.

    May 11 at 11:03pm 

  • Lynne Dearest Tasha, For your information, I was going to kill myself. If you’d like to read more about that story, it’s here: http://abortionchat.org/why-chat/. It’s why I’m in Maine now, and why I’m a mental health professional. Because you know nothing about my circumstances, or who I was at that time, or the fact that the guy who got me pregnant had left me for my sister, and they are now engaged, or any other portions of that time, the fun thing is, I don’t care what you think. I didn’t murder my “baby”. I kept myself alive.

May 11 at 11:06pm

  • Patrick I feel like “kill myself” and “I’m a mental health professional” shouldn’t be in the same sentence. One of my closest friends was able to commit suicide in a facility due to inadequate mental health “professionals”

    May 11 at 11:09pm

  • Sara if mental health is not holistic it is insanity

    May 11 at 11:10pm 

  • Lynne Truly, I am sorry for your loss, Patrick.

    May 11 at 11:10pm

  • Heather I’m a social worker, and have suffered with different stuff, too. It can actually be really good to carry that understanding of suffering into your work; it can make you much more compassionate and understanding of others. But that is a whole different conversation!

    May 11 at 11:13pm 

  • Tasha Just so YOU know NOT that it’s ANY of your business. I was assaulted in the military in 2007. I suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia! The whole time I was pregnant I was not able to take any medications for those conditions!! So please feel free to throw yourself a pity party. My opinion of you has not changed! What you went through doesn’t compare to what I endured and still endure! But let me tell you despite all those things…I’m a damn good mom!!! #SorryNotSorry

    May 11 at 11:21pm

  • Sasha ignorant…you keep using this word…i do not think it means what you think it means…

    May 11 at 11:24pm

  • Tasha Did I use it incorrectly?

    May 11 at 11:26pm 

  • Patrick I think she’s talking to Lynne

    May 11 at 11:28pm 

  • Tasha Ohhhh I figured it was me bc I used it a lot!

    May 11 at 11:30pm · Like

  • Tasha  And Patrick I’m sorry for your loss  I was not liking that part of your comment

    May 11 at 11:32pm 

  • Tasha No Jeremy I quit long before I looked like that! And nobody took my picture. I hid it bc I was ashamed, but it was the vice I had at that moment to help with not being able to medically treat my “disabilities.” I’m not proud, but I won’t do it again if I have another child. I lucked out with my child…she was born healthy and is healthy and thriving!

    I believe after I left the conversation that they continued for awhile about things of non-importance. What are your thoughts on this dialog? Was my acquaintance right in taking a picture and posting it on social media without permission? Who had strong points of view? Why?

What Does AbortionChat Do?

Almost a year ago, I took up the idea of protesting Crisis Pregnancy Centers because, well, they scare me. I’ve heard stories of women being shamed as they come to utilize their “Free Pregnancy Tests” and stories about women who at the abortion clinic, didn’t want one, so a good doctor reached out to a near CPC who stated, “Well, what do you want me to do about it?”

So last year I gathered friends and we car pooled to a Crisis Pregnancy Center. We held signs saying, “We support choice!” and “Come talk to us!” among others. We talked about abortion, -my- abortion. We talked about laws, and old men shaming women at clinics. But we talked in an environment which made us comfortable, and we used the time to spread awareness with each other.

This week, a friend confided in me that she had an abortion this summer. One of the very friends who’d protested Crisis Pregnancy Centers with me. This was her message:

Hey Lynne! I just wanted to say thank you. I had an abortion this summer and the whole time I was terrified, there were men shaming me on the way in but I remembered all the things we had talked about. You had a bigger impact than you can imagine

If you find yourself coming to AbortionChat and wondering what we do, THIS is your answer. We’re not here to cause more confrontation, hatred or fear. We’re here to offer support, no matter the decision. We’re here to spread information, clarify mis-information, and allow you, whoever you are, to make your own decisions about your body, your health, your relationship, and your family.

 

In other news, we will be taking a small hiatus this month to focus on panel proposals, conferences, and things of the like. Our chats will continue, and we’ll be open to submissions, but the blog will restart in May. Thank you for your patience.

Men and Abortion

I have a lot of conversations with people on their feelings of abortion. Even at the ProLife rally we’d attended, there was a pamphlet asking about men and abortion. Yet, many people don’t go back and ask, “How did YOU feel when your significant other had an abortion?”

I think this is an important piece of the story. Where was your partner? How did he react to the pregnancy? For many men, they become just as shaken up as their partner who is pregnant.

I’ve met men who called their girlfriend a murderer after she’d had an abortion. I’ve met men who held their girlfriend’s hand in the waiting room and escorted them out. I’ve known men who’ve bailed on their partner. I’ve known men who supported the pregnancy and are now proud fathers. I’ve also known men who find out in the aftermath that their significant other was pregnant and sought an abortion. His response? “I wasn’t mad or upset that she’d had an abortion. I was upset by the fact that I wasn’t involved. I wasn’t allowed to support her. I wasn’t involved in the decision. I would have wanted to be.” This happened to this man not once, but twice.

Here at AbortionChat, we encourage healthy conversations. We encourage having a Pregnancy Plan and being prepared for if your test turns positive. We also encourage you to sit down with your partner and ask, “What are WE doing to do if WE get pregnant?”

After you do that, let us know. We want to share your story here.

Abortion in High School, An Interview

I had an interview with high school student, “A”, today. Her friend obtained an abortion last summer. Here is “A”‘s side of the story:

Something to always keep in mind
Q: How old are you?
A: 17.
Q: How old was your friend when she sought an abortion?
A: At the time she was 16.
Q: Did she tell you she was pregnant, or that she had an abortion?
A: She didn’t tell me she was pregnant, she just told me through the summer that she was having a really rough time and she couldn’t wait to see me. When I finally saw her, she told me all about it.
Q: How did she tell you?
A: We were having a heart to heart, we were talking about summer. She got a little quiet, not really shy, but she said she had something to tell me. Then she told me not to judge her. Then she told me. It was shocking to me.
Q: What was your reaction?
A: I was shocked. I was kind of heartbroken for her because she told me she’d had a terrible summer, and I thought it couldn’t have been that bad. I was just like, really surprised that something like that could happen to one of my best friends in the whole wide world.
Q: How did she handle her abortion?
A: It happened in the summer, so she had a lot of time to think about it. She went to her mom’s and told her mom. She had a therapist for a little bit. She tried her best to contain her emotions, it was one of those decisions she didn’t make for herself. She was sad. Really, really, sad. I feel like she handled it like any other person would. She was generally upset about it. She was drugged by her significant other at the time, but she insisted it wasn’t rape, and then she got pregnant. She knew she had sex, but she didn’t remember it. She thought they used a condom, but they didn’t.
Q: Did she tell her parents?
A: She told her mom first, and then her dad. Her mom insisted abortion was the only option.
Q: Did she tell her significant other?
A: Yes, and he like too many males out there just kind of fled from it. They couldn’t press charges because she didn’t say it was rape. The age of consent is 16, I think he was either 19 or 20.
Q: Why did she decide to have an abortion?
A: Because she knew she was way too young to be a mother, she wasn’t ready, it was either this baby for the rest of her life, or she goes and tries to live a teenage life. She really just wanted to be a normal teenager. She knew if she had the baby it wouldn’t happen. She was scared, she knew the significant other wasn’t going to stick around. It was one of those “I’m going to hurt this child if I have it. If I have it, it won’t have a good life.”
Q: Do you feel like she was pressured into her decision?
A: No. Not at all. She was not going to have this kid. She wants to have kids when she’s old enough and ready, but at that time she just wasn’t.
Q: Do you support her decision?
A: I definitely support her decision because I know it’s the best for her right now, even if she gets sad about it. I know she thinks about it every day, but I think it’s best for her. If she’d gone through with having a child, she wouldn’t have been happy.
Q: Did any member of the school district know about her abortion? Do you think they should have?
A: Yes, a few of her teachers knew about it. I think her mom sent an email. Definitely her counselors knew about it. I think some people should have known in case she broke down in class so there was someone to go to. It’s not one of those easy quick fixes. It’s been over a year since her abortion, and we’ve had countless conversations about it. She just needs to be supported.
Q: What were the hardships surrounding your friend and her abortion?
A: Oh, man. Seeing little kids, and interacting with small children. She told me a story, one of her teachers
Photo Credit:
Allie Rosnato

has a kid with curly blond hair and blue eyes, and she thought her child could have looked like that and asked, “What kind of monster am I?” Her relationship with her mother was definitely tested. She really liked this guy, but she pushed him away because he was the cause of all this.

Q: What do you feel were the important aspects of supporting your friend?
A: Texting, that was an important thing. Communication, talking to her, asking her how she felt today. I think the most important thing was having her be able to talk about it. A lot of the time people try to sweep it under the rug, I think it’s something that needs to be talked about because it did happen. She told me she doesn’t talk about it with her mom, and I think I was that person she went to to talk about it and her feelings.
Q: Is she okay now?
A: Yes, I mean, there’s going to be that one little part that will always, always see a kid and feel that guilt, and that pain, and that sorrow, but I know for a fact she’s going to be okay. I know when she has kids someday and she’ll know she made the right decision because she’ll give that child the life it deserves.
Q: What is your sexual education curriculum like at your school?
A: Um…well…we have a freshmen year health course, but it’s not really that technical.
Q: Do you feel like this is sufficient?
A: Not at all. I mean, I honestly think we should have this course our junior or senior year. I feel like only 2% is sexually active freshmen year and as you get older it’s more relevant in your life. Freshmen year it’s kind of a joke, and you don’t really care about what’s going on. Freshmen are immature and you can’t take it seriously. When you’re older, it’ll matter to you.
Q: Do you know how to operate a condom?
A: Yes.
Q: Are you a virgin? If no, when did you lose your virginity?
A: No, and April 2013.
Q: What would you do if you were to get pregnant now?
A: Um, well, I’d probably do the same thing as my friend just because I have the same opinions as she does.
Q: Have you told your partner this?
A: Yes, and they agree.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I think that people need to be smarter. If you don’t want kids, do everything in your power to not. Use a condom. Get birth control. Use Plan B if you need to. It’s fun to have fun, but I can’t stress it enough: BE SAFE.
Also, Relationships take two people, and when it ends up one sided, things go wrong. It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself in to.

The Importance of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Kellie Maliborski

Wow, what on earth am I doing here? I don’t write serious stuff, I write about funny news articles and conversations I have with my megalomaniac cat. Heavy stuff like abortion really isn’t up my alley, but when I found out about the AbortionChat blog and its purpose, I just couldn’t pass it up. After all, I may not do serious, but I definitely do opinionated!

So I’m sure you’re all wondering, what is Kellie’s opinion? Is she pro-life? Is she pro-choice? Is she a combination of the two? Does she believe that babies come from cabbage patches? Well, the answer to those very good questions is … I haven’t the foggiest.

I know that if I were to fall pregnant I’d probably start to think in terms of “baby” right away rather than embryo or foetus. I’ve always known that abortion wouldn’t be an option for me. It’s not a moral choice or a hard argued philosophy, it’s just the way I’ve always been. If I found out I was pregnant, I doubt the idea of abortion would even enter my mind as a solution, assuming I believed a solution was necessary.

So I know that I wouldn’t ever want to have an abortion personally, although I do admit that my resolve gets a little fuzzy when you bring things like congenital defects or rape into the picture. But do I think that other women should feel the same way as me and make the same decisions? No. Do I claim to know what they SHOULD feel and do? Absolutely not!


Photo Credit:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3649/3656231
392_d283b049c1_o.jpg

Yep, it’s a simple as that, kids. If you’ve come here looking for the final word on whether abortion is right or wrong, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’m no more qualified to tell you than than I am to perform open heart surgery … and believe me, with my diet coke habit and perpetually shaky hands, you do NOT want me performing open heart surgery!

But here’s one thing I do know.

I can have thoughts, I can have ideas, but until I’ve actually been in every single situation those other women have been in, lived through everything they have, and have experienced all of their thoughts and feelings, I have absolutely no right to go marching around stating unequivocally that I know what they should or should not do.

I have the right to pass judgement on exactly one person … me. I get to decide what’s right for me, what I feel is moral or immoral, and how I’m going to action those decisions. I do NOT, however, get to do any of that for anyone else. Not until I gain the magic power of knowing exactly what they have been through.

Until I know how it feels to be raped by someone I trusted, or to find out that a birth defect means my baby wouldn’t live beyond his first birthday, or to know that I’m barely making it through the day taking care of myself and have no hope whatsoever of taking care of someone else too, I don’t get a vote.

I know it’s a messy subject, and it’d be lovely to believe that someone has the absolute answer to give us that will take away all the moral angsting, but that’s just not going to happen. I have zero answers, and as much other people might rattle on about how they do, I find it hard to believe that they have either.

But here’s a little bit of advice from your Auntie Kellie. Unless you’ve suddenly developed magical psychic powers, don’t presume to know what another woman has gone through or what she’s basing her decisions on. Whatever those decisions, be they to abort or not to abort, they were probably the hardest ones she ever had to make.

She’s got more than enough going on without having to deal with a guilt trip too.


Kellie shares her duplex, which she lovingly refers to as “The Fibro Shack”, with a cat bent on world domination, a cockatiel suffering from senile dementia, and a grumpy possum who, until recently, lived under the bathtub.  Now he lives in the tree in the back yard … don’t ask, it’s a long story.

You can find Kellie at her blog Delightfully Ludicrous 

Why I Value Life by Laura Karr

My heart breaks when I hear stories of abortions. It breaks for the precious life that was ended before it ever was given a chance to behold the wonders of this Earth. It breaks for the mother who, through whatever circumstances she must have endured – whether painful or selfish, has chosen to end a life. It breaks for a world whose heart has become so hardened that it feels nothing when it hears these stories.

The 3 “Plus Signs” that changed my life

When I was in high school, I was a very judgmental person. It was not until I grew much older and wiser that I realized that I have no justification for judging others – as I myself am far from perfect. I remember a conversation I had with my best friend one day on the way to a track meet. We were sitting in the back of the bus having our normal conversations about life, boys, running – all the things that were important to us then – when she told me how she read that if you were to get pregnant, you could make yourself abort the baby by using a coat hanger. I was appalled by this suggestion and I told her, in my most judgmental and vindictive voice, that I could never forgive her if she had an abortion. Today, I am still a little horrified. I am horrified that a woman would ever have to feel so desperate that she would risk her very life to end a pregnancy in such a dangerous way. Most of all, though, I am ashamed and discouraged by the arrogance and foolishness that led me to believe that forgiveness was mine to give or withhold.

Today, I believe myself to be a very open-minded and inquisitive individual. When I say I have an open mind, understand this: My mind is not easily changed. Rather, it is like a room with wide open doors. The doors are left open so that ideas can flow into them freely, easily heard and seriously considered. The doors remain open so that ideas that pass serious inspection may remain but ideas that do not carry their own weight with the tests I put them up against can be rejected. When I say that I am open minded, I am not saying that I am easily swayed, but instead, that I am willing to hear the stories, thoughts, ideas, and beliefs of others and give them serious consideration. Because of this, I have, over the past few years, been privileged to be part of many educational conversations with friends and family who pose clear opposition to my own beliefs.

In one such conversation, I was told that until I could imagine a situation in which I

A love letter filled with grace, love and peace – where I gather wisdom

would choose to have an abortion, I could never understand why another woman might. At this moment in time, I cannot imagine a situation where that would be my choice. That being said: I have never been raped. I have never been a victim of incest. I have never been alone and pregnant – scared, depressed, anxious and without anybody to turn to. I have never been carrying a child with a congenital disease that might cause them to die in the womb or, possibly even worse yet, after living a short but very painful life outside the womb. I have never been faced with the possibility of my own death if I were to proceed with a pregnancy, whether through physical complications or emotional ones. I have never faced anything but joyful anticipation of the precious life I was carrying. I do not know what makes a woman choose an abortion. I do not know the pain she may feel before and/or after her decision. I do not know anything about her or her choice. I cannot judge her for the decision she will make.

I value life – all life. I value the life of every woman who has ever stared at that powerful piece of plastic that can change the whole world with a simple plus sign. I value her life whether she has stared at it with joy or with fear, dread, or anger. She is no less important than the child that she is carrying. She is also no more important than the child she is carrying. I value the unborn child.

After carrying three precious lives into this world, I can honestly say that I believe that what is inside a pregnant woman is not a simple “lump of cells,” but a child. Some may say that I am biased in my opinion because I allowed those cells to form into the precious children I hold in my arms. They may be right – but more likely, they are wrong. Each of my children has proven to be very different – both since their birth and during their development before birth. One child would roll, one would kick, and the first one hardly did much of anything at all unless I prompted her by pushing on one side or the other of my belly. They haven’t changed much since then. My son is a wild child – kicking, climbing, and tackling life however he sees fit. My second daughter can hardly sit still, wallowing around the room – on the couch, off the couch, on the chair, back to the floor – whenever we sit down to watch a movie. But my first child – she could sit for what seems like forever just observing clouds or flowers. From long before they took their first breath on their own, I knew them. They were somebody then, and they are somebody now.

I have spent much time thinking about a situation where I might choose an abortion – and I can only come up with one. That one situation is this: I would have to give up faith in my God. This is not because I believe that if I chose an abortion He would turn His back on me. No, it is quite the opposite. In fact, were I to ever choose an abortion, it would have to be because I turned my back on Him. In my faith, I believe that there is nothing too big for my God to handle and there is nothing set in stone that He cannot change. I value life, because my God values life – all life. He values our lives so much that He would die for us, and forgive us for everything we have done. When I said it is not my place to judge or to forgive, that is because I have finally learned that I cannot even touch the extent to which God loves Life. There are those who would claim that they are acting in the name of God when they attack abortion clinics. They are liars. Every life is valuable.

As to the fight for “Women’s Rights” – I do not know what the solution is. I want to live in a world without abortions, but I do not want to live in a world where, out of desperation, women are dying from botched attempts at abortions in their own homes or illegal, back-alley clinics. I do not know what will solve this problem.

Raising our children to scream, “Murderer” in the faces of those who would support abortions will not solve this problem. Maybe the best way to find a solution would be to stop all of the screaming, to sit down as women and start supporting each other. We should be helping each other through the difficult times – through the fears, the anxieties. We should be listening to each other’s stories with open minds. I have been told before, “if you don’t support abortions, then just don’t get one.” While that seems like a valid point, think of it like this: If people had stood by with that same mentality during the years of slavery, there never would have been the abolition. You would not stand by and watch an infant be brutalized, so if you are asking “pro-lifers” to back off and do nothing about abortion – because we believe with all our hearts that a “fetus” is a child – you are asking us to do just that. Often, though, I do not agree with the approaches taken by those who oppose abortion. We become so focused on the life of that child, that we forget how precious the life of its mother is as well. We must find a way to support each other so that abortion, while still a choice (because whether it is legal or illegal, it has always been and always will be an option) is the last option that a woman would ever need to consider.

Laura Karr is the mother of three amazing children. She is an aspiring poet with dreams of writing a novel but has taken a brief hiatus in order to write silly songs and crazy bedtime stories. She considers this to be a time of research as she re-examines life through the eyes of a child, but with the complex understanding of an adult.

She intends to spend the next few years of her life remembering her dreams and working towards them, but putting most of her focus on raising brilliant and loving children who will make a positive impact on their world.

What It’s Like to be ‘Late’ by Jennifer Martin

Photo Credit:
Lynn(e) Schmidt

Sometimes I don’t do the dishes for weeks. I work three days a week to support my never ending car problems. I go without the essentials at times; toilet paper, laundry detergent, dish towels, etc. And occasionally I find myself living off ramen noodles when I run completely out of money. Like most people my age, I have a hard time taking care of myself. My habits are partly to blame, the economy is mostly to blame. My simple life of barely getting by had taken an unplanned turn when I realized I might be feeding my ramen noodles to someone else, someone inside me.

When I realized I was late, I didn’t think much of it.The thought of getting pregnant terrifies me, and truth be told, babies scare me. I avoid them for the most part. I’m not ready at this point in life, to care for another person other than myself. When I hear a baby cry, I try to be as far away from it as possible. When I see a little kid throw a tantrum, I give them candy and toys so they’ll stop making noise. When I see they’re crying, I quickly busy myself to avoid the situation. So, when I realized I was late, these thoughts of my experiments with small children did run through my mind, and I was queasy.

After the sixth or seventh day of the absence of my period, I found myself checking for it frequently. I would be walking through Wal-Mart and see babies around every corner and feel the need to make a quick run to the bathroom to check if I had started. Every little pain I had in my stomach, I’d assume that my period had come at last and run to check in the nearest bathroom, only to be disappointed. I was so desperate for some kind of answer, I broke down a bought a pregnancy test. 

Photo Credit:
Lynn(e) Schmidt

Though they both came back negative, I still wasn’t starting my period. I started to come to the conclusion I was pregnant. Some people would suggest having the child and putting it up for adoption but, honestly, I don’t think this is not an option for me. I’m skinny and my body isn’t set up for the caring of a baby. I don’t eat healthy whatsoever and being pregnant wouldn’t suddenly make money appear for nutritious foods. I searched online to check where the nearest abortion center was located and watched videos of exactly what the procedure was for an abortion.

My friends and boyfriend were supportive of my decision to get an abortion. They understood, like so many people wouldn’t, that I wasn’t ready to support another life other than my own. One of my friends even said she’d hold my hand during my appointment.

Then one day, while I was at work, I felt a sharp pain in my side. I knew this was it. I went to the bathroom and was overjoyed to see what I saw. I was glad not only because I wasn’t pregnant but because I wasn’t in need of an abortion. 
An abortion isn’t something that you look forward to getting done to you. It’s a step that happens when other contraceptive don’t work. It’s something that gets done when a mistake happens, and/or you’re not strong enough to bear a child. Even though abortion is the choice I would have made, I’m glad I didn’t have to. I’m grateful to have open-minded friends and family who would have supported me through my decisions. Not everyone has people like that around them and are forced into a path they’re not ready to take.


Jennifer Martin is a nineteen year old retail associate in Maine. Her friends call her Genevieve, but she’s not sure why. She enjoys pina coladas and occasionally getting caught in the rain. Reading and recycling are little hobbies of hers. 
Jennifer has a cat named Blue who she rescued from a near-death experience (involving a bald eagle and a dirty sock). 
She tries to be open-minded and looks forward to meeting different people because she enjoys talking about anything and everything!