May 17, 2019

Alabama’s Abortion Ban: the 33 Words that made me feel something other than Anger.


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Author’s note: some well-deserved strong language ahead!


There are a million things I could say and want to say about Alabama’s abortion ban and the recent bans that have been passed or proposed in Ohio, Indiana, and Georgia.

All of those things include the words fuck or shit or goddamn or assholes, along with many unkind thoughts about old white men, misogyny, racism, classism, and the utter hate for women that is so blatant in this country.

And then there are the heartbroken, desperate words I have about rape and incest and bodily autonomy and motherhood and freedom of choice.

I’ve spent the past few days in a rage. How the actual fuck are we still debating this issue? If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one. Simple. If you’re so worried about life, step up and care for the children who are in foster care, forced to live in poverty, without access to proper health care or education—the ones who are alive and barely surviving right now.

And why do men assume they have any right to politicize and regulate women’s bodies? If you will never have to face the prospect of deciding whether you should have an abortion—for any reason—you need to take a seat in the back, close your mouth, and open your ears. You might learn something.

I’ve seen these same sentiments echoed in articles and on Instagram and Facebook. Women are sharing their abortion stories and once again, as we usually do, baring our souls in the hopes that we’ll finally prove our humanity to folks who seem intent on wanting to ignore it, or outright deny it. And while I’m comforted to know that there are people who get it and who are fighting the good fight, I couldn’t shake my anger.

Then a poem by Nayyirah Waheed from her 2013 book, Salt, came up in my endless scrolling.

It took my anger and pushed it one inch to the left to make room for an emotion I wasn’t expecting: a tiny bit of compassion.



My anger serves a purpose: it motivates me to keep fighting, to keep speaking out, to keep donating and supporting and believing that all our hard work will pay off.

But my compassion does something even better. It keeps me from turning into the type of person who treats others as less than human. It keeps me from becoming like the 25 men who voted to punish women for simply being women.


Bonus post:


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These are the 25 men who just voted for the most restrictive abortion ban in America, notice anything? ? More at the link in bio.

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author: Nicole Cameron

Image: @elephantjournal/Instagram

Image: Twitter

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alphacat May 23, 2019 2:28pm

As a nurse, 25 years ER, 2 years same day surgery, I cared for many women who were either terminating a pregnancy or having complications after. I can say honestly that not one woman could say they could tell my stance on the issue. It’s not my place to judge. That helps no one. It isn’t my job or anyone else’s. And judgement is not ever helpful.

smetro May 21, 2019 2:18am

Have heard arguments on both sides, and, though there is in the new Alabama law a provision for the woman’s health, none for incest or rape, am somewhat ambiguous for the latter-does the baby (and that is what we all are, both before and for sometime after birth) why does that BABY deserve the death penalty? Shouldn’t it be the rapist/child rapist/family abuser? Quite a few people, now living, grown, with lives of their own, have said they are the product of rape (or incest) but – are very, very GLAD their mothers put aside their own feelings on the matter and bore them through the birth process anyway. I believe innocent life deserves a chance, and that NO rapist/child molestor should get off so easy!

Hilda Carroll May 19, 2019 4:53am

It can be soooo hard to find compassion amidst anger. Thank you for the reminder – applicable all day every day.

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Nicole Cameron

Nicole Cameron is a lover of words: the simple ones, the powerful ones, the made-up ones, and those of the four-letter variety. She’s also a fan of N.Y. style cheese pizza, trolling the internet for inspiration, and singing loudly in the shower. Her purest, most-functional relationship to date is with her chocolate lab, Leopold. A native New Yorker, who calls Maryland home, Nicole is a late-comer to the travel bug and plans to visit “all the places.” She spends her days trying to live a fun, mindful life, in part through her role as an editor for Elephant Journal, where she feels lucky to connect with others while hanging out on her couch in yoga pants. Oh, and chocolate—she likes that too. Want more words? Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.