Thursday, March 04, 2010

Why is abortion still stigmatized?

Sarah Kliff has a piece in Newsweek on attempts to de-stigmatize abortion.
Changing the stereotypes that come with abortion, and the stigma they engender, is not necessarily impossible. But it requires a larger, more complex discussion. A few sporadic stories are insufficient in representing how widespread abortion really is, the fact that 45 million women in the United States share the experience. "[Jackson] is very brave, and we need 10,000 more of her," says Peg Johnston, chair of the Abortion Care Network. "I very much think that, although it's a private experience, we really need more people who are make it public." More women speaking, says Johnston, would break down the stereotypes we associate with abortion today. Secondly, those discussions must be honest and recognize abortion as a complex experience that, as Ludlow says, "sometimes hurts," rather than a clear-cut policy issue. "I understand it's not an easy place to acknowledge the complexity," says Johnston, "but it's where we need to go." She hopes for a day when pro-choice bumper stickers with quick quips are a thing of the past. She already has a slogan dreamed up in their place that could be slapped onto notebooks and laptops. ABORTION, it would say, TOO COMPLEX FOR A BUMPER STICKER.
The problem with admitting that abortion “sometimes hurt” is the obvious question of “Why does abortion hurt some women?” If abortion doesn’t kill an innocent human being then why can it be so emotional hurtful?

One of the main problems with efforts to de-stigmatize abortion is that proponents of de-stigmatization don't really understand (or can't accept) the reason why abortion is so stigmatized.

Abortion isn't stigmatized because people think only "bad women" get abortions or that most women aren't open about their abortion experiences.

Abortion is stigmatized because it's a procedure which intentionally kills an innocent human being. No number of women sharing their abortion experiences is going to change that reality. People who really recognize the reality of abortion aren't suddenly going to change their opinion on abortion simply because more women talk about abortion. Abortion is an atrocity regardless of how many women get them and are willing to talk about them.


  1. I completely agree. Great points.

  2. 1. People know it's a cop out.

    2. People know it's killing a baby.

    3. People know that real doctors don't do abortions.

  3. I see bumper stickers:
    “Why does abortion hurt some women?”
    "Real doctors don't do abortions."