How many times have you heard pro-choice people expressing this sentiment? I hear it on Twitter, on blogs, in real life.. It's a troublesome statement. Abortion is a naughty word. No one, even among the pro-choice community, is supposed to portray abortion as a good thing. We're supposed to hate abortion. We're supposed to think that it's terrible. We advocate for abortion to become safe, legal, and "rare". The anti-choicers have succeeded in scaring us away from the word "abortion". The question is this: Why have we let them?
We must be careful with our words, because words are powerful. Words can hurt people, and words can silence people. Do not say "no one wants an abortion", which is a potentially silencing statement for women who do want their abortions, when you mean to say "no one wants an unwanted pregnancy". Don't say "I'm not pro-abortion", when you do in fact support abortion, among many other choices. Being pro-abortion is a small part of the larger picture. You can't be pro-choice without being pro-abortion, along with being pro-pregnancy, pro-adoption, pro-parenting, etc. Let's quit with the "safe, legal, and 'rare'" sentiment. When it's safe and legal, and when we have comprehensive sex education, we will have as many abortions as we need.
Anti-choicers have shamed us into avoiding the a-word. It's time to reclaim the word. It's time to make it our own again. In order to remove the stigma attached to having an abortion, we have to first remove the stigma attached to the word in our own statements. It's time to accept that abortion isn't terrible. Abortion is a blessing.
“Let’s be very clear about this: when a woman finds herself pregnant due to violence and chooses an abortion, it is the violence that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.
When a woman finds that the fetus she is carrying has anomalies incompatible with life, that it will not live and that she requires an abortion — often a late-term abortion — to protect her life, her health, or her fertility, it is the shattering of her hopes and dreams for that pregnancy that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.
When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.
And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion — there is not a tragedy in sight — only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.
These are the two things I want you, please, to remember — abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.”
–Rev. Katherine Ragsdale