This article was written in response to Chaya Himelfarb’s opinion piece “No shame: ‘Roe v. Wade,’” published on April 3.
By Emma Colton
In Chaya Himelfarb’s article “No shame: Roe v. Wade,” she leaves holes in her argument that abortion should be a celebrated example of women having control of their bodies and health.
In her article, Himelfarb took the liberty of saying that there are probably more women who feel “relief” and “joy” after having an abortion, than women who feel “sorrow” post-abortion.
Right off the bat, I call foul on her argument. As an example, there are too many women (some of whom were even proud second wave feminists back in the day of Roe v. Wade) at the yearly pro-life demonstration “March for Life” carrying signs that read “I regret my abortion.” These are outspoken women who proudly voice their pro-life views and regrets on their abortions.
Coincidentally, one of the most notably outspoken pro-life women is Norma McCorvey, otherwise known as Jane Roe, the plaintiff in the landmark Roe v. Wade case. Though McCorvey herself never had an abortion, for many years she was a staunch pro-choice advocate and even worked in abortion clinics. In recent years, however, McCorvey has personally become haunted by the thought of so many deaths due to abortion and has become a strong pro-lifer.
According to the CDC, there is an abortion in America every 30 seconds, and there have been more than 55 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. As a result, there are too many real-life women who can attest that their abortion was a mistake. Though there are women who will forever defend their choice to have an abortion, it is unfounded for Himelfarb to say that there are probably more women who feel emotions of conviction after having an abortion, than women who eventually (or immediately) feel emotions of sorrow. There are too many women with firsthand abortion experiences that can prove Himelfarb’s assumption on post-abortion emotion false.
Which leads me to my next point: Why would any woman feel shame or regret after having an abortion if it is just a personal medical procedure?
Allow me to play devil’s advocate. If abortion is just a common medical procedure, women shouldn’t feel guilt about having an abortion. I didn’t feel guilt when I had my appendix taken out.
Also, if pregnancy isn’t in a woman’s immediate playbook, the decision of having an abortion shouldn’t be a complicated issue. If a woman has given consideration to the idea of having a child and personally decides that it isn’t the apt time for motherhood, abortion is the logical choice. Her body, her choice. After all it’s just a trip to the doctor. Right?
If this pro-choice ideology was flawless, the idea of regret should not be an issue. But as Himelfarb pointed out in her article, the decision to have an abortion is a “multifaceted decision that comes with a wide range of accompanying emotions, including sorrow.”
The decision to have an abortion is difficult and complicated because abortion is the ending of another life. Without the life of the baby, abortion would, in fact, be like any other medical procedure, but that baby’s life makes all the difference. There is sorrow because the woman feels remorse after ending the life of her child.
Thus, abortion is not a one body, one person decision; it involves another being. The children are the silent victims, marginalized by the constant drumbeat of words like “my body, my choice.” Just because the child is unable to defend him or herself does not mean that they are could-have-been beings who can be swept under the rug by a visit to a doctor’s office. They are children. Though they are silent, their voices for freedom can be heard from their deaths and the sorrow some of the mothers feel.