*disclaimer: i realize the points i make are highly subjective, are not intended to be blanket statements or to appear as if I have some final authority on the subject. I do have a particular take and first hand experience and feel passionately. I understand others may disagree.

I’m really sick of people debating whether or not abortion is emotionally traumatic in an effort to legitimize or delegitimize the practice. First of all, let’s face it, it’s going to be different for different people. Circumstances will vary, emotional levels of individuals vary, etc. On the one hand we have people saying its not emotionally traumatic unless a woman is forced against her will to an abortion, regrets it later (which “doesn’t” happen “very often”), or it is painful; otherwise she is emotionally fine. On the other hand we have people saying it’s incredibly debilitating to women and scars them for life.

Enough is fucking enough.

First, as women we are raised to believe our sole duty in life is to have children, to procreate and save the species.  To have something growing inside you, even if it was unplanned or unwanted, you FEEL this duty being fulfilled. To terminate is to reject what society has taught you from the time you were 2 years old and carrying around a baby doll playing mommy and house. Period. Especially for those of us raised in a christian or catholic environment. Whether or not a woman knows she shouldn’t have a child, weighs the pros and cons, consults with friends, family, and ultimately makes the well thought out and hard decision to terminate, you feel the weight of the decision. I’m not sure how that can NOT be emotionally traumatic, personally.

Second, just because you don’t regret something doesn’t mean it isn’t traumatic for you. Also, I believe it is perfectly natural to go through periods of regret, to temporarily lose sight of why you terminated, to question yourself. If someone is 100% staunchly decided that they made the absolute right choice and never looks back, I personally might be inclined believe that the individual isn’t being completely honest with themselves. We are complex creatures, after all.

Third, if a woman is getting an abortion, she probably got pregnant under unintended circumstances, and that in and of itself can be traumatizing. To this day I have periodic spaz attacks where i just “know” another freak accident happened. Too much money has been spent on pregnancy tests that weren’t needed except to calm my illogical fear of pregnancy.

On the other hand, women are capable of making the right choices for themselves.  Women shouldn’t be scared into keeping a baby because some expert said they will be scarred for life.  In fact I’m sick of people saying we should ban abortion BECAUSE of the traumatic effects in an order to “protect” women.  What women should be made aware of is that yes, there will be periods where you may feel guilt, shame, sorrow; yes, you may mourn the loss. But in the end, you know what you did was best. It’s not like choosing to terminate is a decision most women take lightly (yes i realize there are probably exceptions to the rule).

I’m just sick of people who haven’t gone through the process talking about what it’s like, what’s best for women, etc. Enough is fucking enough! If you want the truth go to the source. Maybe if we didn’t shame women around this, if we could break the silence, more truth could come out and light would be shed onto the realities surrounding abortion. Maybe then we wouldn’t have to feel alone when surrounded by our sisters who might understand. It’s hard to find another woman to talk about these things to, even though statistically so many of us have gone though it.

You want to “protect” women? Give us easily available contraceptives, 100% comprehensive and honest sex ed to MEN and WOMEN. Come up with male contraceptives that won’t fry their balls with radiation. Come up with better female contraceptive that doesn’t flood our bodies with unnatural hormones or cause increased rates of depression.

ps: I can protect my own self, thank you.

You want to tell people abortion isn’t traumatic? Talk to the real experts, the ones who have been through it.

And god dammit just stop talking in either/ors and blanket statements. Life is much more complicated than that.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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