The Observer—Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford
Publication date: November 3, 2006
By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge
Director, Respect Life Office
“I’ve never stopped being grateful that I was able to have an abortion in my early twenties. It was the first time I took responsibility for my own life.” Those words, by aging radical feminist and founder of Ms. Magazine, Gloria Steinem, were prominently displayed in the Fall 2006 issue of the magazine. Also included were the words of 27-year-old Tyffine Jones, who said, “I would never have graduated high school, then college, if I hadn’t had an abortion. It changed my life.” Those were the only published comments from women who had signed on for the recent “We Had Abortions” campaign sponsored by Ms.
Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation (the publisher of Ms.) is making another attempt to get women to go public with the fact that they had guilt-free abortions. In 1972, Ms. announced that they were following the lead of “343 prominent French women” (who in 1971 had declared they had abortions) by publishing the names of “53 well-known U.S. women” who procured illegal abortions.
The use of the words “well-known” and “prominent” to describe women who—as Ms. claims—are not ashamed of their abortions is very telling. It is just one more attempt to change the way society views abortion. The not so subtle implication is: if well-known and prominent women see abortion as a positive choice, why should you poor, ordinary women think there’s something wrong with it.
Katherine Spillar, executive editor of Ms., told the Associate Press “more than 5,000 women have signed the [current] petition” although “the magazine had room for only 1,016 names.” The other 3,984 are supposedly on its website, although they were nowhere to be found. I did find a request for signers and others who support “choice” to “make a contribution so Ms. can promote the petition and provide needed funds to fight abortion bans …”
Yes, radical feminists are definitely in the business of fighting any restriction on abortion. But equally important to their efforts to keep unrestricted abortion legal is their frenetic effort at achieving total societal acceptance of abortion. They refuse to acknowledge that women suffer emotionally after abortion.
By pursuing women who have had abortions to sign the petition, they are seeking affirmation for women who are suffering in silence that they made the “right” decision when they chose abortion. The goal is to get women to think, “Gee, if these women are okay with their abortions, I should be “okay with mine.” However, pretending that abortion is a positive choice does not help women who are suffering its aftermath.
Immediately after the abortion, many women do feel relieved because their perceived “crisis” is over. With the passage of time, however, many suffer with grief and regret when they realize that the abortion did, indeed, destroy the life of their baby. They come to the understand that abortion was not a good decision even though it may have appeared initially to solve their “problems.”
Abortion advocates fear the truth that abortion is wrong and hurts women. It is not a good choice. But, if they were to admit that, how could they continue justifying it? They have to keep pretending.
Although Ms. and other abortion apologists refuse to recognize their legitimacy, thousands of women are coming forward to tell their stories of regret and suffering after abortion. These women are not just signing a petition. They are telling their stories of regret publicly and then offering other women the path to hope and healing. But Ms. wants nothing to do with them. They, like so many pro-abortion organizations, offer no help to women who are suffering—their only interest is in keeping abortion legal and making it socially acceptable.
The Catholic Church, on the other hand, is truly concerned about women who have had abortions. Women who seek help from the Church will find hope, forgiveness, and healing. The same cannot be said for the Ms. crowd.