A question I recently put in the FAQs, which has been asked by several snide antis, is “well, if you’re so proud of getting abortions, why do you only use first names?” Instead of firing off a snarky “get your own site if you don’t like it,” I gave it some thought. Around this time, I had participated in a panel at the University of Richmond law school about the damage the Bush administration had done to the ideals of Roe vs. Wade. The panel consisted of the current president of the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood, who’s a lawyer and a long-time lobbyist; the head of the Virginia branch of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (a great group, another link I need to get on the site); her daughter, who works for VLPP as kind of a volunteer administrator … and me, feeling horribly undereducated and out of place. I was the last one to speak, and I spent the time hastily scribbling on my notes, trying to recall statistics and cases that the others seemed to reference with ease, positive that I was going to crash like a ValuJet and look like an idiot.
But when it was my turn to speak, I found myself speaking of the site, the stories, the e-mails I get, the people I’ve met, and my own experiences. Normally I loathe public speaking, being terminally self-conscious, but it just flowed and the audience responded. At the reception after the panel, I was surrounded by people thanking me for coming. One law student said to me that I had given the abortion issue a human face.
So why only the first names? Maybe in the hope that an anti-choicer will look at the list of names … and see their daughter’s name, their wife’s, girlfriend’s or sister’s and maybe think “what if it happened to her?”
The summer after INS went online, a Canadian visitor sent me an link to an amazing article called The Only Moral Abortion Is My Abortion. I have told so many people about this article that I’ve lost count, because it so perfectly illustrates the hypocrisy displayed by anti-choicers when it comes to facing the choice of abortion themselves. They will scream and wail about the murdered babies and immoral women, but if it happens to them they’re demanding an abortion right now!. Once they get the abortion, many of them take up right where they left off, because … well, it’s different when it’s your own, you know. I have personally witnessed clinic protestors who brought in their daughters and girlfriends wanting an abortion for them one week–and right back out front with their signs the next.
Too many people on both sides argue about abortion in the abstract–but it’s those of us who have actually had them and have gone on with our lives who need to be talking. Not the drama queens who blame their abortions for their damaged lives because it’s the only acceptable scapegoat they can find, but us. The wives, the mothers, the girlfriends, the sisters, the co-workers, the friends. It’s said that forty percent of American women have had abortions. That’s a whole hell of a lot of women. How many of them are talking (not counting our SNM friends)? Not even one percent, I’d bet. If we could get one percent talking, it would be enough to get attention, to let it be known that abortion is just a choice among many. Remember, it’s the other side that demands that we feel a wrench. We need to show that’s not always the case.