Women need not write extended soul-searching posts

The idea that more women who have experienced abortion should speak out was brought up in the Q & A portion of the panel. (Which was excellent, by the way.) The idea was that if more women (and men who have supported women through abortions) recounted their experiences, it would personalize the issue and put a human face on it. A sort of "if you're telling me i'm going to hell for having an abortion, listen to my story and say it to my face" mindset. The issue with that, though, is that privacy, and the right to it, is an integral part of reproductive choice. Many women, for various reasons, choose to maintain their privacy rather than become the public face of abortion.

Just my two cents, filling you in on a little bit of the latter portions of the panel. Again, I can't say enough good things about WAM! in general and Amanda's panel in particular. It was the first one of the weekend, and set the tone for me perfectly.

I don't think that has to be the takeaway message if that's not how a woman feels. She could also say, "I'm writing about this because it's a politically charged topic, but for me, it's not that big a deal."

But on the panel, a lot of people who know better than me-Aimee on the panel, and some audience members, to be exact-offered that it's actually better to talk about women's mixed feelings. Basically, get ahead of the stereotype that we think abortion is sunshine and roses. No one wants to get an abortion in the same way no one wants to get a divorce. By talking about the pain as well as relief and all other feelings, we can contextualize it as being the same as divorce-unpleasant, but necessary.

I don't mean this to sound crass, though it may come off that way: the visual effect of pictures of stillborn fetuses being passed off as aborted fetuses has a huge effect on a person's immediate emotional response when confronted with abortion. There are dozens of websites devoted to showcasing pictures of ripped apart fetuses. It's disgusting. I would like to see this visual imagery countered with imagery of what happens to women when they've had a medically unsafe, illegal abortion and pictures of what women looked like when they were in septic wards in hospitals, pre-Roe. I don't think a lot of people know what the consequences are for women's health if abortion is criminalized; of course, there will always be people who think that if it abortion is illegal and a woman seeks one, she deserves whatever torture or death sentence she receives from it, but I do believe a lot of people would be swayed to acknowledge that it could be a girl or woman they love, bleeding to death or with any number of serious physical problems due to a botched or unsafe abortion.