This week’s New York Magazine cover story features 26 individual stories from women who have made the choice to have an abortion, and in some instances chose to continue their pregnancies.
Meaghan Winter writes:
But for all the regulations and protests, despite “safe, legal, and rare” and “abortion is murder,” abortion is part of our everyday experience. Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended; about half of those—1.2 million—will end in abortion each year.
And yet abortion is something we tend to be more comfortable discussing as an abstraction; the feelings it provokes are too complicated to face in all their particularities. Which is perhaps why, even in doggedly liberal parts of the country, very few people talk openly about the experience, leaving the reality of abortion, and the emotions that accompany it, a silent witness in our political discourse. Even now, four decades after Roe, some of the women we spoke with would talk only if we didn’t print their real names.
Not only do we get a window into the circumstances that these women faced when seeking abortions – wealthy and poor, educated and striving, young and old, and ethnically diverse backgrounds — these portraits provide us with a powerful perspective that goes beyond the bravado and impassioned speeches of anti-choicers and doublespeak and gnarled logic of GOP lawmakers. Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood attempted to reframe the never ending national debate surrounding abortion with its Not In Her shoes campaign. The campaign’s launch was supported by polling that reflected a complex electorate–one that recognized that the individual circumstances that would lead someone to choose abortion are personal. In March, we re-published a piece by poet and activist Sonya Renee Taylor about her abortion.
What each of these stories reveals about the decision to have abortion is something many of us on the pro-choice side understands: it’s complicated and it’s personal. Taylor’s writes, “Telling my truth is a salutation to that beautiful and likely brutal life I did not chose. It is me walking into the sun of the one I did. I made the wisest choice I knew to make, period. I must say that aloud. When I do I loosen a shackle of shame, for myself and for some other woman who made a similar choice.”
Those on the anti-choice side make gross presumptions about the set of events that lead people to choose abortion. These 26 women shared their very personal decision with a public that seeks to shame and silence them. You should read every single story.
Syreeta McFadden contains multitudes, searches for the perfect line break, and wears the white hat.