Friday, September 23, 2011

"Amy" attack on CPCs is indictment of prochoice thought

The Time I Tried To Get An Abortion From A Crisis Pregnancy Center

I'm going to deconstruct this as I encounter comment-worthy bits. I recommend reading the entire thing. It's the story of "Amy," and how the mean old right to lifers made her feel so bad about exercising her right to have her three-month fetus pureed at an abortion facility.
I was sure all the men in suits in the lobby knew what I was doing. .... Still, I took a deep breath and pushed the button that would take me to the floor where I would have an abortion. Or so I thought.
Note the guilt and shame here long before she steps through the pregnancy center door. She already knew she was doing something she should feel guilty for, should be ashamed of. But instead of listening to her conscience, she went ahead.
I'd always been pro-choice, but I'd also always said I'd never get an abortion myself.
I'll have to credit Ashli McCall for describing this attitude -- one that used to be her own -- so vividly:
Abortion was good enough for all the uncaring faceless women of the world, but not for me, and not for anyone I cared about. ..... Abortion was just a solution for people who, outside of my own little world of acquaintances, existed to me as much as individuals that pass by in cars on the interstate.
Let's get back to Amy, shall we:
Still, once I was actually pregnant, I was pretty sure from the beginning what I would do.
Note that she doesn't "explore her options." She doesn't bring any information into the mix. Is this how rational adults make important life decisions?
And I felt better knowing that I could take a couple of pills and stop being pregnant that way....
Note the naive perception of chemical abortion as just taking a couple of pills and not being pregnant any more. Didn't she even follow AntithiestAngie's Twitter abortion?

We'll move on to something vital:
First she handed me some pamphlets. I opened one and it was a graphic illustration of an abortion, a cutaway of a fetus being pulled apart. I snapped it closed, saying to myself, that's not what I'm doing. A medication abortion, what I wanted to have, wouldn't look like that.
Interesting. She doesn't want her fetus to look like a gory mess when the abortionist is done with it. It's very important to remember this for later: Amy herself did not want what the pamphlet depicted.

Amy has a very uneasy relationship with reality. No, let me rephrase that. Amy finds reality, as seen on ultrasound, far too painful to contemplate:
"It looks like you're about three and a half months pregnant," the older woman announced cheerfully.

Then she turned the monitor to me. I have so many little brothers and sisters. I was with my mother the first time she heard my younger siblings heartbeat. There was a heartbeat now, too.

By that point, I was crying hysterically.

Where is the strong, confident woman of prochoice mythology? The reality becomes even clearer as the ultrasound proceeds:

I clutched my hand to my stomach and in the sonogram screen, an arm lifted. I took my arm away and the arm went back down. "Put your hand back up!" the older woman said. I did, and the tiny hand went up again. That's the moment that I can't get out of my head, to this day.

The pregnancy center also offers reassurance:

After a few minutes, she left the room and a girl about my age returned, an intern from Utah. For what felt like about an hour, she told me why I should have the baby, and how her sister had had an unplanned pregnancy and had the baby, and how much they all loved it. She was so young and so honest. I told her everything. I was still crying.

And the final insult:

The older woman returned and printed out the sonogram. "I want you to keep this and take it with you everywhere," she instructed. She told me to make a follow up appointment with my boyfriend, but I just ran out.
Amy was totally freaked out by being treated like a human being, like somebody important, with relationships and a capacity to be a good mother. She ran in terror from genuine concern. That's sad. And it reminds me of the line from an Alan Parsons Project song: "People that I've never seen are kind to me. Is it any wonder I'm confused?"

Moving right along:

Back at my boyfriend's apartment, I was crying too much to explain what happened, so I just showed him the sonogram. It didn't take long for him to realize that I'd been at a crisis pregnancy center and not Planned Parenthood at all. ....

He was furious.... He took the sonogram from me, and said he'd take care of it. I never saw it again, though a few months later I remember looking in one of his drawers and seeing something that looked like it could be it, upside down. But I didn't turn it over.
There's so much interesting here. Why is the boyfriend furious? Because they made her cry (by being kind, gentle, and informative with her), or because they were mucking up his plans to just flush the baby out of their lives? It's also interesting that he evidently didn't throw the ultrasound away, and that when she found it, she didn't throw it away either. Why did they find it easier to throw away the real baby than to trash a mere photograph?
For me, the real anger didn't come until later when I actually went through with the abortion. I'm not saying it's ever easy for anyone, but all I could think about that day was the sonogram and that hand. There were tears streaming down my face when I was going under. I remember the anesthesiologist telling me, "Don't worry, it won't hurt," and I remember thinking, That's not what I'm crying about.
Why the anger? Why was she angry with the people who were kind, honest, forthright, and trying to treat her like a complete human being with real needs and capabilities? Why was she not angry with the people never even cared enough to find out why she was crying?
For me, there was a difference between being sure what I wanted and being sure how I felt about it. I knew that I did not want to have a child right then.
This strikes me as very simplistic thinking.

First of all, was she really that sure what she wanted? You can think that you want something, right up until you get a vital piece of information that changes your mind. You want to marry Joe, right up until you find out he's been cheating on you. You want to buy that beautiful house, until you find out that it has severe dry rot. You want an abortion, right up until you find out _____. Fill in the blank. Eighty percent of abortion-minded women who go to pregnancy centers change their minds. For 80% of women who walk into places like Amy went to, the blank gets filled in. They get the one piece of information that makes them realize that they don't want abortions after all. Amy didn't go back for her follow-up, so we (and she) will never know what might have filled that blank in.

Second, isn't how you feel afterward relevant to the choice? After all, it's not pregnancy per se that sends women to abortion clinics. Lots of them go to a lot of trouble and expense to achieve pregnancy. It's how you feel about the pregnancy, not the pregnancy itself, that you're seeking to treat with an abortion. If you feel worse afterward, then the treatment was a miserable failure. It's winning a battle but losing the war. Yeah, you're not pregnant any more, but you're more distraught over the dead baby than you ever would have been over the live one.

Third, and most importantly, not wanting to have a child right now is not the same as wanting the child you just saw on the ultrasound to die a violent death that you bought and paid for. I think a lot of what Amy hates the CPC for is that they showed her the difference. She wanted to believe that she could avoid giving birth to a child without the child in question being killed. But once she was pregnant, that was the only way to avoid birth. By killing the existing child, a very specific child, the child waving its little hand on the ultrasound screen.

Amy engages in some more ill-considered thought:
If you think you want an abortion, you probably shouldn't be having a kid anyway.
Actually, no. It might be comforting for her to tell herself this, but it's demonstrably not the case. This is one of the abortion lobby's most dirty little secrets -- that if you reassure the woman and give her some time to get over the shock, she'll totally reject abortion and welcome her new baby. (This one piece of information alone is enough to virtually collapse the entire house of prochoice cards.)

Amy speaks again:
And if you know you want an abortion, someone misrepresenting themselves shouldn't make it harder on you.
Who, Amy, misrepresents themselves? The prolifers, who provide exactly what they say they do, or the abortion facilities that feed you comfortable lies until they have your money, and then lose all interest in you?

As for the accusation that reality will "make it harder on you" -- I find that interesting. Amy's visit to the CPC started with her looking away from a brochure that showed an "after" picture of an abortion. It ended with her learning that she could not get what she wanted -- to just take a pill and not be pregnant any more. To reach the goal of not having a baby right now without killing the waving baby on the ultrasound screen.
It's taken me the two years since then not to break down every time I think about it. Now, I read about states trying to force women to look at the sonogram and I want to talk about it. But first I want to go back to that building and put a sign that says, "Here's the right floor. Here's the wrong one."
Amy, your abortion doesn't hurt because some prolifers showed you an ultrasound. It hurts because you signed on the dotted line and turned the waving baby into a bloody mess. What the CPC did was try to offer you a way to avoid doing that. You chose to run like hell and try to run back into comfortable ignorance. And you're trying to choose ignorance on behalf of other women, simply because you think that ignorance would have made it less painful for you to kill your baby.

Amy, the fact that it hurts shows that you're not the monster you seem to somehow wish you were -- the kind of woman who could kill her own child and feel nothing but relief.

The clincher is tacked on at the end by the editors:
Amy's ordeal was in New York City
The "ordeal" was being treated with respect, kindness, and honesty by a CPC, when what Amy actually wanted was to be patronized, processed, and lied to by Planned Parenthood. Well, Amy, be careful what you wish for. In your case, you got it. And then you blame somebody else for the fact that it hurt.

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