War on Women’s Rights Continues. We Need Your Voice.

Via Stephanie Vessely
on Aug 4, 2013
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It’s vital that we share our stories and begin to shift the debate from talking abstractly to talking about real people.

This week the war on women’s rights showed no signs of slowing down. North Carolina’s governor signed a restrictive abortion bill into law, effectively closing the state’s remaining abortion clinic, while in Texas, Democrat Eddie Lucio filed a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to take a three-hour course on adoption first.

Meanwhile, senate Republicans Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rob Portman are working on a federal ban to abortion at 20 weeks, as activists admittedly acknowledge it as the first step toward their ultimate goal of banning abortion completely.

We seem to be talking about abortion more and more lately, but our talking points are still focused on the black or white, pro-life or pro-choice arena. What’s missing from these debates are the stories and voices of those who have faced this decision and those who have had abortions.

One of the blogs I regularly follow The Dish, by Andrew Sullivan, has run a series in the last couple of years entitled “It’s So Personal.” The series features readers’ stories about their experiences facing late-term abortion. The stories are heartbreaking and reveal the layers and complications of facing this decision.

One Dish reader shared a story this week about his experience with abortion when he and his wife faced the complications of a monoamniotic twin pregnancy. In the end, they decided not to abort, but he said this about having to choose:

“We felt—and we still feel—that this is a fundamentally personal decision, and we were shocked at the politicization of this medical issue, when of course nobody else can tell you what is right for your family. It is a decision that has the potential to fundamentally alter the entire course of your life, and until you are personally faced with something like this, there is no way to know how you are going to react or what the right course of action will be.”

It’s an important point to remember in this debate—ultimately, none of us can say absolutely what is or isn’t right for another person.

Sullivan also posted reader thoughts on the new documentary, After Tiller, which is about late-term abortion providers in America. One reader expressed support for talking about the issue:

“Until we hear the stories behind life-and-death decisions, we base our judgments on abstracts and absolutes, missing the human part of the equation. We need these points of view.”

This commenter is right. We won’t be able to truly change anything until we start our conversations from a viewpoint that recognizes the men and women involved as people.

In part, this Dish series is what inspired me to first ask for your stories in July and it’s why I’m asking for more now.

It’s vital that we share our stories and begin to shift the debate from talking abstractly to talking about real people. Those who have gone through the experience and those who have faced the choice can shed some light and help us change the conversation. It’s easy to say what someone should or shouldn’t do when we are talking in abstracts, but it’s not when we realize, as Sullivan notes, “it’s so personal.”

If you’ve had an abortion or faced having to make a choice, I’d like to hear about the experience. You can share as much or as little as you’d like. Also, feel free to be creative, and step outside the writing medium.

The stories will be compiled and shared with the community (anonymously, if preferred).

If you choose to share, know that it will be done in confidence and with the utmost care. You can send your submissions to [email protected] by August 15th, 2013.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

{Photo: via Sterling Ely}


About Stephanie Vessely

Stephanie Vessely lives in Denver, Colorado and is somewhere in the middle of a lifelong love affair with words. She feels a little out of place a lot of the time and thinks writing about herself in third person is awkward. She is regularly saved by yoga and is searching for Truth. These are a few places she’s found it: the swaying of tree branches, the ocean, the laughter of her niece and nephew and her own heart, when she can be still enough to hear it. She’s an aspiring vegan who loves travel, hates small talk and hopes to help save the animals. Someday, she’ll learn how to tap dance. In the meantime, she keeps scribbled secret notebooks and knows everything is as it should be, even if she has a hard time remembering it. Follow her on Facebook or visit her website.


4 Responses to “War on Women’s Rights Continues. We Need Your Voice.”

  1. Mgt says:

    Isn't abortion deliberately taking the life of another unique human being ? I think it is totally anti woman.

  2. Dana Lundin says:

    What a great article Stephanie, I will be sharing this. It is so vital that we understand what is really going on here with the extreme right acting to restrict women's reproductive choices and self determination. The historical record shows that in times of economic and ecological stress women and others are scapegoated, vilified and rejected. In the face of fear, the desire for power and control to assuage the anxiety over the unknown asserts itself. It is crucial that we resolve this conflict on the deeper psychological level. May Wisdom attend us in these potent times.

  3. Johnny says:

    An embryo is not a human being. It is a collection of cells that over a nine month period can multiply and develop to a point where, if all goes well, it may end up being born at which time it will become a human being. However, forcing a teenage girl who has been raped to carry a pregnancy that is the result of that rape to term, so that she may never be able to escape the psychological torture of being forced to bear the child of the man who raped her, now THAT would be anti-woman. Forcing a woman who may be unemployed, perhaps even homeless, who has no desire or resources to have or support a child, who may have become pregnant due to contraception failure to carry that pregnancy to term, now THAT would be anti-woman. Forcing a woman to have a baby because it goes against somebody else's religion, if the woman who wants to have the abortion practices a different religion, THAT would be anti-woman. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of individual circumstances that might cause someone to choose to abort a pregnancy, even if that choice may be heartbreaking, because the alternative may be even more heartbreaking. That is the point of this article. Unless you are walking in the shoes of the woman, or couple, that is faced with this choice, who is anyone to judge that choice. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

  4. Tara says:

    Very good article. I will definitely be looking into The Dish. I do believe that there is not a one size fits all solution to Abortion. There are medical situations in which the baby may not be diagnosed until after 20 weeks with fatal illness… these are rare, but do happen. I don't think "abortion on demand" is a healthy option for our society and is generally used as a "quick fix" to a long-term problem for the mother getting the abortion. I think women are lied to about how easy abortion is and not educated on the after effects…. I am in agreement with the politician who is considering adoption education. There are so many couples who cannot have children. Why abort if your child can live and go to a loving home? Although giving your child up for adoption will be difficult, so is abortion… Abortion is forever!! Abortion takes innocent life, isn't loving, and psychologically damages the mother/father/ siblings no matter what the gestational age of the baby is at the time he/she was aborted. It's a fact and there are many post-abortive stories from women to back this up. Women are wired to nurture and create. All politicians are part of the elite and most interested in staying power. The "war on women" is nothing more than a political agenda.