Abortion and Love
Love and abortion are intimately, intensely intertwined, even if stigma can make it hard to see.
Love for pregnant people
One of out 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion before they reach age 45. Stigma stifles people from sharing their stories, but whether we know everything about our friends and family, chances are that everybody loves someone who had an abortion.
An act of love – for one’s self and one’s family
60% of people having abortion already have children. Like all parents, they are always considering the impact on their family when they decide to have an abortion. As a doctor who provides abortions for people from all walks of life, and for many different reasons, I also see folks making gut-wrenching decisions to end their (very wanted) pregnancies because fetal abnormalities make this the most humane thing to do.
Abortion is also a healthy act of self-love. Traditional (misogynistic) views of motherhood emphasize the profound self-sacrifice that a woman should “naturally” want to perform on behalf of her children. While the impulse to self-sacrifice is a noble and laudable quality in a parent, not everyone needs to choose to be a parent. Moreover, even for those who do choose to parent, absolute and total self-sacrifice is healthy for neither the parent or the children. As a doctor who cares for pregnant women and delivers babies, I can attest that pregnancy is a journey full of risk–physical and emotional–that can result in extreme harm and that no person should feel guilted or shamed into embarking on. Self-love isn’t selfish– it’s respecting yourself enough to seek what you need to be the person you’re supposed to be.
For a fantastic overview Abortion and Love:
The Nation | Katha Pollitt | June 7, 2018
This short piece breaks down the how love is at the root of the right to autonomy, about solidarity with a pregnant person, and even how provision of abortion is about love, too. “At bottom, abortion is about a woman’s individual freedom, her (cold word) autonomy–her right, you might say, to love herself.“
For a a guide to self-care before, during and after abortion:
The Doula Project
A doula is “a person trained to give free, compassionate care and physical, emotional, and informational support across the spectrum of pregnancy.” This site has a 48-page electronic magazine (‘zine) that has been helpful to many going through the abortion process.
For a poem about Abortion Love:
in Brevity | Amie Whittemore | January 17, 2020
For a book review of Katha Pollitt’s full argument:
Time | Manning | October 16, 2014
Full book can be purchased here: (Katha Pollitt | Picador publishing | 2015)
This must-read book lays out this concept in greater detail, but if you want to go deeper before committing to the full book, check out this book review!
For a story about love for others who have had abortions, by Uma Thurman:
Washington Post Opinion | Uma Thurman | September 21, 2021
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