In 1996, President Bill Clinton stated that “abortion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare.” The far left has since changed its tone with a campaign to normalize and de-stigmatize abortions.
The new website Notalone.us, founded by Emily Letts, the woman known for posting a video of her abortion on YouTube, aims to reassure that abortion is common and not shameful by allowing women to share their stories.
“The pregnancy wasn’t real to me, it was a problem that needed to be fixed. It wasn’t a baby that I was giving up on, it was a mistake that I was repairing, it was our future that I was being protective of, it was our baby that I would plan for someday and care for from the moment of conception that I was thinking of,” reads one testimonial. “Had I not had the procedure, I wouldn’t be where I am now: a law student, living my dream and sharing my story. None of this would be possible without my abortion,” reads another.
The critically acclaimed abortion comedy Obvious Child attempts to address the abortion issue with humor. The main character’s best friend exclaims, “You are going to kill it out there!” before the procedure. Because what’s funnier than an abortion joke, right?
Even though Salon.com praises Emily Letts’ work and NPR calls Obvious Child a “momentous film of small, embarrassing truths,” there is a reason Notalone.us will never catch on, Obvious Child is a box office flop, and public opinion on abortion is moving more and more towards the pro-life side of the spectrum. No matter how much the far left tries to sterilize abortions, most women know the truth. Abortions hurt—mentally, physically, and spiritually.
In a New York Times column titled “I Couldn’t Turn My Abortion into Art” Lisa Selin Davis tells a very different story than the stories featured on Notalone.us. First she describes finding out she was pregnant:
And then, a few months later, I rolled out of bed at an unreasonably early hour and vomited.
This didn’t seem as big a problem to me as it might have for other young women. This was the mid-1990s. Reared on protest marches, I had a NOW poster affixed to my bedroom wall. I was an unwavering believer in the fierce rhetoric of pro-choice. And now: a poster child.
In addition, in college I had essentially majored in experimental feminist video. I could make art out of anything.
After discussing the surprising harshness of her abortion procedure, she concludes:
I wish that someone had alerted me to the harshness of the experience, acknowledged the layers of regret that built and fell away as the months and years passed. I want my daughters to have the option of safe and legal abortion, of course. I just don’t want them to have to use it.
Sometimes stigmas and shame serve a purpose. Cultural norms often hold truths that have been passed down socially in inarticulate forms. Thomas Sowell describes this in A Conflict of Visions:
Knowledge is thus the social experience of the many as embodied in behavior, sentiments, and habits, rather than the specially articulated reason of the few.
When feminists try to change public opinion, they are robbing women of the cultural knowledge of the shame and pain of an abortion. Often, women who get abortions are just as victimized as the unborn child. They are victims of leaders who tell them that abortions are as quick and painless as other types of surgeries.
Luckily, pro-choice leaders won’t get very far with this. The pro-life side has both science and human intuition on its side.