How Not to Talk to Someone Who had an Abortion

It isn’t always easy to talk to someone who has had an abortion, but it is important to realise that your opinions need to be left at the door. The conversation should be about the person who has had the abortion and how they feel. Some people are happy and others are sad; people face a wide range of emotions when they get an abortion and you need to be there for them no matter what emotion they are going through.

Since it isn’t easy to find the right words I thought I would share an article by Kassi Underwood published on the website Exhale a pro-voice abortion support center created by and for women.  The article gives advice on eight things you should not say to someone who has just had an abortion. Not only does it tell you what not to say but it explains why you should not say it and what you should say instead. Hopefully this article and Exhale’s website will help you talk to someone who has had an abortion.

Here is the list of eight things not to say to someone who has had an abortion:

(To see the full article go here.)

1. But weren’t you unstable before the abortion?

We’re smart people. We are fully aware of the lives we’ve led. If our state of mind beforehand seems relevant, then we will discuss it in our own time. We came to you because we would like to talk about how we feel right now.

What to say: I’m glad you came to talk to me about this.

2. That was years ago, dollface. Isn’t it time to move on?

We know exactly how much time has elapsed. If we could have moved on already, we would have. Some people see their abortion as the loss of their identity, or their child, or their chance. While it is important to make no assumptions about why someone is having feelings around their abortion, you can tell us you know how normal we are for feeling the way we do. We are completely acceptable as-is.

What to say: I know this happened years ago, and it’s okay if you’re still really, really sad.

3. All this sadness makes you sound like you’re against abortion.

Our emotions may have nothing to do with our opinion about abortion. I know women who have marched on Washington for their right to choose while privately regretting their own decisions. I know women who believe very deeply that abortion is wrong while feeling that abortion was the right decision for them. Our personal stories do not always reflect our political beliefs. When we come to you, please do not match our emotions to a political narrative.

What to say: There’s no right or wrong way to feel.

4. You weren’t ready for a baby.

This tells us that we are inferior, irresponsible, and immature, which is simply not true. We made the most mature, responsible decisions we could at the time. Some of us feel proud of the independence we gained from all the footwork this decision required. If we tell you we didn’t have access to the resources we needed, feel with us. Remember a time when you didn’t have what you needed. Acknowledge that we are worthy of having everything we need. All of us.

What to say: Sounds like you know what’s best for you.

5. Well, I support your right to choose.

This one sounds like support, but it ends the conversation. It may be a positive assessment, but it’s a judgment nonetheless. What we need is space to connect with you. If we would like to know your political views, please trust us to ask you. If we don’t ask, then perhaps we don’t need to know.

What to say: Take your time — I’m listening.

6. I don’t support what you did, but I’m here to support you.

It can be difficult to feel unconditionally loved and supported by someone who condemns what you did. You don’t have to support what we did, but when you are supporting us, please leave your opinions and expectations at the door. Then come in, listen to what we are saying, and try to put yourself in our shoes.

What to say: I’m here to support you.

7. No — it was actually a baby/child/fetus/embryo/zygote/clump of cells.

Many of us have done the research. We know the terminology. Sometimes it takes nerve to use the word we like best. Please don’t correct us. Instead, use our terminology when you talk to us.

What to say: You’re allowed to call it a fetus or a baby — it was yours and you can call it whatever you want.

8. But are you really happy now?

Some of us really are very happy right after the procedure for reasons so vast and diverse that I could write about them for pages. Even if we’re not happy right afterward, many of us become happy in our own time. If we tell you that we’re happy, we may have done a lot of work to reach this extraordinary place. Please celebrate with us. Do a little dance. Hip-bump. Yay.

What to say: I’m glad you feel relieved and rejuvenated.


The Pro-Voice Project: A Documentary

The Pro-Voice Project: A Documentary is “a film about the human stories and shades of gray hidden in our black and white abortion debate”. I believe this is an important project. It is a way to get out of the politics and controversy of abortion debates and just tell it as it is, without any interference. It is important for women to tell their stories. Story telling has always been an important way of healing and communication in women’s issues and movements throughout history. One of the best ways you can learn about something and truly understand it is when you hear true personal stories.

These women are very brave; not everyone would want to talk about abortion, especially not in a documentary. I think they are doing an amazing thing by creating this film. This film will be very helpful, and teach a lot of people the real facts about women who get an abortion.

But, the film is not done being made. Although parts of the it have been filmed already, there is still more that needs to be done. They plain on going to Texas and New Jersey and will need funding to get there. The funding will be used to afford filming, among other things. Making movies isn’t cheap and this is an important movie that needs to be made.

If you would like to help please check out there Kickstarter page. There is also a lot more information and a great video about the film on the page, if you just want more information on it.

I really hope they reach there goal and the film can be made:

Move Forward

This is a video from a youtube channel called ReproductiveRight100 that is dedicated to reproductive rights in the United States. This video is trying to hold President Obama accountable to his words. President Obama said he believes in reproductive rights but with the amount of laws being created in the USA to roll back reproductive rights it can be hard to see how Obama is standing up for women’s rights.

No More Drastic Measures

Women around the world have always found a way to try to control their reproduction. They will use any means they can to do this, even if it means risking their lives. I belive that education and accessibility are key to stopping this. Women either do not have reproductive rights or are un-knowledgeable on their rights. Not only do women need complete freedom and control when it comes to their reproduction but they also need education.

As you can see in the following news clip from ABC’s Channel 7 and their discussion with National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), knowledge is key to safety. The women being discussed in the this video are using drugs that are not made for abortions in order to induce a miscarriage. This is taking place in the USA where abortion is legal in some states.

This video is from 2009 and sadly I would say that these problems still exist. We all remember images of coat hangers during protests in Canada and the USA during R v Morgentaler and Roe v Wade. These images are still part of todays society. If abortion is not accessible women will use drugs, alcohol, being punched in the stomach, and even coat hangers to stop pregnancy. If women are to be safe and healthy they need reproductive rights.

If women are given access to reproductive technology and are educated on their reproductive rights they will no longer have to resort to these drastic measures. Women will always try to get abortion whether they are inaccessible and illegal, or legal, free and accessible. If women (and men) are properly educated and given the rights they deserve abortions will decrease. If women know they can have birth control, how to use it, and especially if it is free then there will be less unwanted pregnancies to be terminated. If abortion is accessible and free then women will no longer have to go to these drastic measures.

Sex Selective Abortion

I found this at the Trent University campus. I was, and am, a little appalled by it. The facts just aren’t true. If you look at the citations they have facts for China but nothing reliable for Canada. I don’t think that you should get an abortion because of the gender of your fetus but I fear that any laws against this will only spread.
I worry that if any legislation is made on abortion it will just grow until choice is ultimately removed.
What are your thoughts on legislation against sex selective abortion?