There's A Reason No One Is Asking Town Hall Dot Com For Abortion Advice
This weekend, Slate's Dear Prudence column ran a letter from a woman considering terminating a pregnancy she initially wanted and has since decided she doesn't want. The woman was wondering if she should terminate her pregnancy and tell her husband she miscarried. A complicated situation for sure!
I am happily married, financially stable, and a mom of a beautiful, feral toddler. On a drunken night I convinced myself that I did, in fact, want a sibling for my toddler—quite the 180 from my staunch stance of being "one and done!" I'm now 10 weeks pregnant with my second child and plagued with nausea, vomiting, and most of all regret. Should I terminate this pregnancy and tell all (including my husband) that I miscarried? He, his parents, and my parents are all excited about baby No. 2. I, however, am completely disappointed in myself for having a lapse in judgment and thinking I would be OK with getting pregnant again. — Thinking About Termination
If she had asked me, I would question whether or not she wanted to be in a relationship with someone to whom she couldn't say, "Hey, I thought I wanted to have a baby and now I don't, so I'm gonna go have an abortion" in the first place. I know I wouldn't! If she told him and he couldn't deal, then he can either figure out how to deal or he can leave.
But she didn't ask me, she asked Danny Lavery, the current Dear Prudence, who told her that not wanting to be a parent was a "wholly sufficient" reason to have an abortion, which it is! He also suggested that "Thinking About Termination" should consider telling her husband if she thinks he'd be supportive and finding someone else to confide in if that would not be the case, noting that it can be isolating to keep that kind of a secret in a marriage. Which is similar but certainly more gentle and thoughtful.
You know who she also didn't ask? Katie Yoder of Town Hall dot com. Perhaps that was because Katie Yoder is a very big forced birth enthusiast who seems to think abortion is illegal, and that everyone agrees abortion is the worst and acts very very surprised when that turns out not to be true. Yoder previously claimed to "break" a story about how Martha Plimpton had the gall to not be ashamed of her abortions, while publicly talking about her abortions at an event literally called #ShoutYourAbortion. So this confusion is not new to her.
Yoder is mad that Lavery addressed the woman's actual question, assuming that she was able to decide for herself whether or not abortion was the right choice for her, instead of ignoring everything she was actually asking about and telling her that she should just have the baby instead.
In other words, the huge decision here centered on raising a child. Not ending a human life.
It's understandable that the pregnant mother, "Thinking about Termination," is scared and embarrassed. The fault rests on Lavery for never once suggesting that there are other options.
Surely the woman is too stupid to know about these "other options"! Why do these people always think we've never heard of adoption? We've heard of adoption! Everyone has heard of adoption!
So Yoder then pretends that the woman had written to her instead, and explains to her that she is a "superwoman" who can totally have another kid, but also an idiot who is too stupid to know what adoption is, or to know that there is "support" for her to have the baby if she wants it. Which she knows, because she's already had a kid once before.
Here's what someone should tell her: It's normal to be scared. It's normal to be terrified about the unexpected – especially if it's something as life-changing as a baby. It sounds like you're going through a challenging time, both physically and mentally. But know that you are strong. That you are not alone. That you are loved. That abortion is not your only option. That it's worth considering keeping your baby – whom you already refer to as your "second child" – because you have that superwoman ability.
Yes, you can.
Your family – assuming that they love you – will want to help you through what you're feeling right now. Give your husband, who you say you're happily married to, the chance to be there for you.
You have options. There's adoption. There's support – free support – that pregnancy centers across the country offer, from counseling to medical supplies. There are doctors who can help with your vomiting and nausea. There's professional help you can seek out to talk through your feelings and experience. And know that, while you have regret now, abortion can carry a permanent regret of its own.
You – a woman of inherent dignity and worth – can do this.
It's not that she can't, it's that she doesn't want to. And it's clear that this is where Yoder's outrage lies. The column, after all, is titled "Slate Columnist: 'I Don't Want to Be a Parent' is Fine Reason For Abortion." Which it is.
Abortion is legal, there is nothing wrong with having one, and a fetus is not a human being. That is it, end of freaking story. This woman shouldn't have to be a "superwoman" and having an abortion doesn't take away from her dignity or worth. If she doesn't want to have a baby, she shouldn't have a baby.
99 percent of those who choose to have an abortion do not regret it. As much as Katie Yoder might know that she does not want to have an abortion, others know that they don't want to be pregnant and they don't want to have a baby.
Moreover, no one has an obligation to talk anyone else out of having an abortion just because Katie Yoder personally thinks abortions are bad.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse