I may be losing it a little (Brigitte! Come back!) but I can’t remember whether I posted this article I wrote for The Interim. It’s a bit of a review of that Australian book I so appreciated called Giving Sorrow Words:
Each woman is unique but two ideas unify the voices. The first is the myth that abortion is a neutral or easy choice. The second is that abortion is actually a choice.
So many women felt cheated because they could never have envisioned the aftermath. Stories are punctuated by comments like “I’ll never be forgiven for what I did.” Jasmine, from Melbourne, recounts her nightmares: “I dreamt I was covered in blood that would not wash off.” Marguerite, who describes herself as non-religious, writes “for many months after termination, I woke during the night to hear my baby screaming.” For her, the grief was “palpable” and “permeates waking and sleeping hours.”
The second myth is that abortion is a choice at all. Many women awaited their abortion appointment with dread. Justine called her long distance boyfriend on regular intervals, desperate for him to change his mind. He didn’t – until the after the abortion was done. She literally wandered hospital halls prior to her abortion searching for someone who would help her keep the child. Finding only a doctor who confirmed her worst fears that her boyfriend truly wasn’t interested, she went ahead. For Anne, her mother oversaw the unwanted abortion, coming afterwards with presents “like I’d had my tonsils out.” In another, the father, “stands over me while I ring to make the appointment.” Barbara also begged her husband to change his mind, “but all he did was hiss ‘get rid of it.'” While being wheeled to the operating room she plaintively asks: “won’t anyone save me?”
We can’t forget these stories, knowing that they are all too common and also knowing that young women out there are not hearing these voices.by