An anonymous writer in Salon hopes to keep other women in the dark so that they, too, can experience firsthand how much abortion sucks.
My abortion, their political ploy:
Last month, while President Obama quietly signed an executive order reaffirming that no federal funds can be used for abortion, I was alone in bed, waking from a fitful, 18-hour sleep, if you can even call it that. There were dried and fresh tears on my face. I was wearing a Maxi-pad that felt like a diaper and was spotted with blood. My breasts were swollen, painful to the touch. The sharp cramps in my uterus were crippling and unrelenting. I was nauseated, dry-heaving despite an empty stomach, nearly incapable of taking the medication and antibiotics necessary to quell the pain and stave off infection.
The day before, on Tuesday, March 23, I had an abortion.
After sniping at Barack Obama for not making federal funding available to pay for more women to suffer what she'd just endured, she started sniping at others lower on the totem pole:
Not long ago, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced that April was "Abortion Recovery" month. Abortion recovery: What the hell does he know about that?
Enough to know, evidently, that you don't always just bounce back.
She describes her situation -- 34 years old, always having wanted a child, a doting aunt, and pregnant via comfort sex with an ex-lover.
It just wasn't the right time, she viscerally decided:
I'd recently been on a hefty dose of pregnancy-unfriendly antibiotics and had taken a series of pain meds for my back. I'd been drinking too much and smoking cigarettes. Although both had magically lost their appeal a few days before I received "the news," the damage had been done.
Yup. One of those "fetal indications" abortions the Alan Guttmacher Institute counted. She was afraid that these things had possibly damaged the baby. Never mind checking with a doctor to find out if the baby was healthy. She was afraid that it wasn't. Good enough for an informed choice by a "prochoice" woman.
She also had some nasty morning sickness. Ah! A "maternal indications" abortion as well! Her doctor was treating her. Was this going to clear up? Who knows? Who cares? She was in a swirling eddy of emotions and just mostly hid.
She was also worried about parenting alone, even though the child's father offered to move in and co-parent. She didn't think his reasons for setting up a family with her were good enough.
She was pissed off that the state of Texas required her to know beforehand what she was going to kill:
"The lungs are beginning to form. Brain activity can be recorded. Eyes are present, but no eyelids yet. The heart is more developed and is beating. Early reflexes develop. The hands and feet have fingers and toes, but may still be webbed. The length is less than one quarter-inch."
Ignorance, she feels, is definitely bliss when you're already decided on an abortion. It's so much easier if you can pretend that there's not a human being in there that you're planning to kill. It's much easier if you can pretend it's just amorphous tissue.
Then the intake nurse performed a vaginal sonogram. She was sympathetic and nurturing, assuring me that, if I wanted, I would have kids one day, when it was the right time. She didn't make me look at the sonogram image, though I forced myself to glance up at the photos during my pre-procedure mandated counseling session. It was heartbreaking. Still is. I was five weeks and five days pregnant.
How can she reassure a 34-year-old woman of that? How many women in their mid-30s and later find out, to their dismay and anguish, that they frittered away their reproductive years and can no longer have children? But hey, let's pretend. It's easier that way.
Even with the drugs and the gas the pain was agonizing. My friend stayed with me, holding my hand and wiping away my tears. Then the nurse dressed me and helped me up and into the recovery room. My blood pressure was low. The nurse in the room gave me water, prescriptions and a list of dos and don'ts -- do take your meds, don't exercise, lift anything more than 15 pounds, use tampons, have sex, take baths until your follow-up appointment. She sat me in a comfortable chair, gave me a heating pad and kept asking me where my pain was on a scale of 1 to 10. First a 7, then a 5, then a 3, then she let me go. I was too bleary, too sad to respond to the women accosting me in the parking lot. I wouldn't even wish this predicament on them.
But she wants federal funding of it so that other women can go through it.
Then it was Wednesday. I woke up feeling damaged, empty, scared, guilty and in pain. The terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" were emanating from the TV screen. They sounded reductive, glaringly inadequate. The word "abortion," fraught with shame and accusation, was being bandied about for pieces of political theater. The words "baby killer" were omnipresent, too. Although I didn't feel like a baby killer, like I'd killed my baby, I did feel partially dead.
But she had killed what she referred to as a baby. Without feeling like a baby killer.
Now, weeks into my recovery process -- I’m still bleeding, cramping, underweight, emotional, grappling with my need for children and a partner with whom to raise them -- I see my experience grossly manipulated by Pawlenty, a man who doesn’t, can’t, know how I feel.
A man who listened to other suffering women and responded to them with sympathy and compassion. What is he supposed to to? We all know -- he's supposed to join the ranks of the "supportive" "prochoicers" who leave women to suffer their anguish alone and pretend it's not real, that abortion is a pure relief.
She's basically claiming that abortion is such a wretched, miserable thing that the best thing to do is sponsor more of it, while keeping women as much in the dark as possible about how wretched and miserable it is. So that they, like her, can go into it blindly, thinking that it's like hitting a "reset" button and going back to before you were pregnant.
Misery loves company.