Saturday, May 12, 2007

In which Our Young Hero learned the true meaning of the personal being the political.

When Andrew Sullivan linked to "The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion" last week, about pro-life women who make exceptions for themselves to have abortions, because only their situations are unique (in their minds), it reminded me of when Bryan called me out on my own hypocrisy several years ago.

I hope he doesn't mind my telling this story, and it probably meant much less to him than to me, but it's stuck pretty indelibly in my mind. We were riding in his car somewhere, when somehow we got to talking about abortion. I made the off-hand comment that you hear from liars and cowards everywhere, that, you know, abortion is fine for other people, and I think it should be legal, but I would never opt for one in my own personal situation. Bryan became visibly agitated and told me that he hated when people said that because (and I'm paraphrasing here; correct me, Bryan, if I'm misquoting you in any way) it implies a judgement, and the idea that there are "certain types of people" who get abortions, and by saying that, you're saying that you're not one of "those types." Furthermore, he told me, the majority of people that came into his clinic to get abortions said that they never thought they would be coming in there. So in other words, almost everybody says they're not the "abortion type." Until they are.

I guess in my feeble little brain at the time, that was a lot to chew on, but it made me confront my own hypocrisy and judgemental nature, and exposed me as a total liar, because of course if I were in a heterosexual relationship, I would keep abortion open as an option. Lucky for me (and perhaps in my defense) one reason why I so ignorantly felt that way is because I've never had to seriously consider that. Because, you know, I don't sleep with girls.

But if I were ever to get a man pregnant, I definitely wouldn't want him to get an abortion.


bryan h. said...

Did I get agitated? I'm sorry. I just meant (I think) to say that nobody plans on having an abortion, or of being "one of those people," just like no one plans on getting into a car accident or being laid off from work; they happen in spite of your plans to not be one of those people. And in the case of heterosexuals and abortion, somewhere between 1-in-4 and 1-in-3 of them are going to have to reconcile becoming "one of them."

Anyway, I just wanted to add that, so it sounded less like i was yelling at you.

The Fire Next Time said...

I never thought you were yelling at me, nor did I think you were necessarily agitated at me in particular, but just at that pervasive attitude. And it's fine; it would have annoyed me too, and it would irritate me now.

But you took pains to gently instruct me as to why that opinion was so f'ed up. Which I appreciated.

broadwaybabe said...

your blog = me smiling:) thanx

Stacy said...

I disagree. I think it's okay to say I think it should be legal even though I don't want one ever. That's true for me. I've been there and I know that's the case.
If I were raped, I'd take the morning after pill, is that abortion? Nope.

The truth is I do have some judgments about abortion. I do. I know people who have had multiple abortions, I know people who always considered an abortion an option. I think that's excessive and I don't like it or think it's good for anyone to pretend it's an easy thing. Abortions should be rare and safe and always, always legal.