In a book by a pro-choice author who collected postabortion testimonies from a number of women, a postabortive woman named Nora told her story. Nora was strongly pro-choice and anti-Catholic and couldn’t understand her feelings of guilt after her abortion.
From the author:
When Nora had an unplanned pregnancy 8 months ago, her scorn for Catholicism played into her decision. She recalls, “All those films I was shown in Catholic school – those were a big part of my having an abortion, because I was rejecting them.” Nora found those pro-life ideas “bogus,” “wrong,” and “based on nothing.”
She took more than scorn into account when she decided to end her pregnancy; as she was still an undergraduate and valued her education highly, her choice was automatic. She viewed her upcoming abortion simply as a legal right she could exercise and expected to feel nothing. Instead, in the weeks afterword, pain and confusion rolled over her in waves.
When I was really freaking out, I couldn’t even formulate my opinion on it. It was just this feeling of horribleness and you can’t even put everything together and see what you’re really thinking. It’s pure emotional rottenness….I’d wake up in the middle of the night and I’d be crying. I felt really empty inside.…
I thought I was going to go nuts at one point…
I sound like a Catholic here, thinking that this child was real and natural and that I ended his life. I’m disturbed at the process.
From the author:
Nora was shocked that her feelings showed up with a pro-life undertone. She recalls thinking “This is so trite that I’m having this.” She explains, “I was so disgusted with myself for having the feeling that I killed something. I was really surprised that I would have that kind of conservative attitude.” Rejecting Catholicism but still feeling terrible after her abortion presented a conflict. Nora says, “I felt bad for feeling grief, because I thought I was succumbing to that garbage.”
The pro-choice author who collected this story tries to pass off Nora’s guilt as just hormones:
Because Nora’s strong reaction occurred in the weeks after her abortion, her feelings were probably linked to the hormonal shifts a body goes through when pregnancy ends. The drop in hormone levels may have colored her moods with a painful and frightening intensity.
But even she acknowledges that this argument is weak:
This does not tell the full story, however. Neither societal censure nor hormones determine the content of our concerns. To attribute most postabortion reactions to those causes is politically useful, but emotionally too simple.
Eve Kushner Experiencing Abortion: A Weaving of Women’s Words (Binghamton, New York: The Haworth Press, 1997) 7 – 9Share on Facebook