Met a lovely 60-something woman last week and we ended up on the issue of woman’s rights on a global scale. I could never have planned to get on such a topic with someone I’d only just met. But there we were, talking, over tea, about the self-oppressive mindsets of women in other countries. Did it ever remind me of this article and this post!
I dared: North American women share in this phenomenon. We are plagued with an awful oppressive social mentality here.
She: What do you mean?
I: Well, unless a couple is actively trying to have a baby, any woman getting pregnant in this country is forced to consider having an abortion.
She (sincerely): A woman can’t be forced to have an abortion. It’s up to her! That’s what we fought for! Who forces her to have an abortion? (Perhaps she thought I’d finger the government for snatching girls out of their beds in the middle of the night to perform abortions on them.)
I: Usually, her mate. Many times, a parent. But it’s to be expected. We, the women of North America, expect to have to make that choice. All too many of us are pressured into having an abortion.
There was obviously far more to this conversation than that. What I learned? Women of that generation watched as their fellow women fought and picketed for easier access to abortion. It was a fight women were fighting passionately and finally won. It was women of the baby boom generation getting their big victory. It seemed to rank alongside victories of the suffragettes at the turn of last century. There’s a feeling of pride in that. There’s sense of camaraderie in that.
The hype is louder than the stories of women coerced into abortion. And coercion can be subtle. If a woman is scared her mate will leave her unless she has an abortion, she’s being coerced. If a woman is made to feel guilty, as though she’s choosing an unborn baby over the man she’s currently with, she’s being coerced. And it’s a silent suffering.
We as women in this country can’t admit to being forced into having an abortion. Abortion is supposed to be about a woman’s choice, and we are all supposed to be strong and independent. Admitting we were coerced is admitting weakness.
And if we went ahead with the pregnancy, we sure can’t tell our story: that’s the new baby’s father or grandparent. Sure makes for awkward family dinners, knowing daddy once wished you’d never be born.
I had dinner with the same lovely lady a few days later. She took me aside and said, pointing to her noggin, “you sure had my wheels turning for hours the other night.”
There’s a conversation to be had. We need to talk about abortion.by