But most pro-choicers I've met, by far the majority, have been distressed, saddened, and deeply ambivalent about abortion. I recall the black woman at an Oregon college who, the week before my visit, had organized a NARAL rally. Yet during our question period she confessed that she wasn't really in favor of abortion, even thought that it was generally a bad thing, but necessary because 'If I got pregnant, nobody would adopt my baby.' This is not only false - babies of every color are adopted quickly - it is sad, and reveals the loneliness and fear of abandonment that lies behind many abortions. 'Nobody wants my baby' has echoes of 'Nobody wants me.'
Other messages we feed women to sell them abortions is "You're so bad, a baby would be better off dead than living with you as a mother."
The prevalence of this pro-choice ambivalence may be best illustrated by the travels of an analogy I wrote a few years ago: 'There is tremendous sadness, loneliness in the cry, "A woman's right to choose." No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.'
I was surprised that this line was widely quoted, but more surprised at where it appeared: Ellen Goodman's column, the Pro-Choice Network Newsletter, boxed 'Quote of the Week'on the front of Planned Parenthood's Public Affairs Action Letter. The only explanation is that I'd stumbled on a suppressed truth; when brought to light, these tend to explode. The truth, which our pro-choice friends know too well, is this: abortion hurts.
And if even most prochoice people realize this, why are we still doing it? And why are women settling for it?