I very rarely rewrite blogs. Just sit down and start typing and what comes out…. comes out.
Women have been sharing their stories of how they terminated their pregnancies following Alabama’s vote for an almost blanket ban or abortion. In reaction to this the actress Busy Phillips is asking social media users to use the #youknowme and speak out about their abortions. Thousands of women are using the hashtag and telling their stories around abortion.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. Not the fact that they are telling their stories….. the fact that we have to keep baring our souls to try and change the law and stigma around abortions.
The image of the 25 male Politician’s who sat together and collectively approved Alabama’s ban on termination beyond six weeks is deeply disturbing. Here is a fact, a 100% truth, not one of them has ever had an abortion. I say that with a sarcastic tone, but I do mean it. Because we are saying that more pro-choice men should speak and they don’t, yet 25 men get to decided what thousands of women can do with her body. How can that be OK?
Yesterday a good friend of mine posted her thoughts and feelings around abortion and the oppressive laws and attitudes around this. She also spoke out briefly about her abortion. I was so proud of her as I know that it is something that had such an impact on her life. I texted her and said, “This had got me so mad that I am going to blog about this tomorrow”.
I sat in front of my computer and I typed and typed. 4 hours yesterday I was in front of my laptop.
My friend and many others have been posting that it should not be left to the women to speak up about the right we have as women to have an abortion. Reading this article by the Guardian “It shouldn’t be left to women to fight alone for abortion rights” it is clear to see that men are not speaking out on the same level as women.
But why would they.
Men can say they are pro-choice. There are men that have been personally affected by abortion in many ways. But at the end of the day it’s women who have to go through the physical and emotional experience of an abortion. What I am saying is, men should speak up….of course…but we as women have no choice but to speak up and say that this is our bodies and our choices. If the men speak or not, women will still need abortions. Need. Not always want. There are times that they are needed. There are women who go through abortions and it does not have a massive impact on them and there are others where the scars run deep. What ever the circumstances, its still the women’s choice what she does.
And its not just Alabama. Women in Northern Ireland can face life in jail if they have an abortion and those who help them also risking prison. Do you know that Women in Northern Ireland still have no access to legal abortion care? So, if you were raped and fell pregnant you would be forced to carry that child. Forced to give birth to child that you never wanted or planned for. Imagine the life of a child being born into such circumstance. Bringing a child into this world is often done the wrong way. So many children are neglected by parents, hurt, abused. I watch children suffer the aftermath of shit parenting…a lack of love and warmth. The trauma of pregnancy and birth when you want the baby is overwhelming. To have to go through that when you don’t want to…that’s not OK. What about the child being born into an environment where the mother is being forced to give birth…is that OK?
So, people, pretty much all women, keep fighting for this law to be changed. So that women can have control over their own bodies. Our fight would be a lot easier if men stood with us as well. If men stood up and spoke out with us. Not for us. With us.
My first “real” experience of abortion was when I was 14. My friend, who was also 14, already had a baby who was about 8 months old and she found out she was pregnant again. There was no real discussion around it, and she was very matter of fact that she could not have another baby. We had a brief drunken conversation about it, and she said that she couldn’t do it again. Have a baby. Be tied down. Have no sleep.
So, on the day she went off bold as brass to have her abortion and I didn’t see her until 3 days later. I knocked her door to see if she was coming out. She came to the door and only opened it a crack. She looked ill. She looked like she had been crying. I asked if she was coming out and she snapped and said no and slammed the door. She came back out in the local area a week or so later and carried on like nothing happened. But she was different after that. I can’t tell you how…she was just a different person. People said nasty things about her. Our peers and adults in the local community. I always remember this bloke who worked in the bakers who we all knew giving her a dirty look as we walked past and saying something about her being no good …referring to the abortion.
She was 14 and already had a baby. Having an abortion was the right thing for her.
And since then there have been many women and girls that have crossed my path that have had abortions. There have been many men involved too. All with different reasons.
Can’t afford to raise a child. Have no support network. Know that they are not ready. They don’t want to have a child.
The 14-year-old girl I just spoke about, is it OK that she had an abortion…because she was 14 and this was her second pregnancy. Because it was non- consensual sex. Because she was a child? Do all those things make it “OK” rather than a 25-year-old women who knows that she would not be able to give a child a good life?
I have seen 14-year-old girls do a better job at parenting than 31-year-old mothers. I have seen pregnancy take place that have changed people lives. Saved them even. I have also seen pregnancy and births that have ruined people. That’s have caused mental health issues for everyone involved. Including the child.
The fact is, once a someone decided that they don’t want the pregnancy or can’t continue with it…. It is nothing to do with anyone else. My personal opinion.
So…me and my 4 hours at the computer. I wrote down all the details of why and how I had an abortion. I have never really spoke about it for many reasons. I have only spoke about it briefly with two people and have never talked about it in details. Putting it all on paper yesterday was…. A mixture of feelings. This is the part where I put it all out there.
The way it happened
My fear of him
The doctor appointments
The scan picture I was given and still have to this day
The day of the abortion
Staggering out of the clinic in pain…. both physically and mentally.
As people know, I write in detail about much of my life in the hope it will change things. But not this time. I respect the women that are doing it. But also feel angry that we are almost having our hand forced to try and give a voice to the women of this world. Many women are reliving the trauma by writing it down. Or maybe that’s just me.
Proud that women are speaking out…. angry that we have to #youknowme