An ambivalent post-abortion woman and her “little ghost”

By Sarah Terzo

A woman who had an abortion told a pro-choice writer:

“There was no doubt, when I became pregnant, that life was right there, in my womb. Left undisturbed, that blob of cells and tissue would have grown into a baby. The process was beginning, and I chose to end it……I was totally unprepared for my mounting ambivalence as the time for the abortion came closer, an ambivalence that turned into grief and guilt for a period after the abortion was over. The little ghost haunted me for about six months before it disappeared, and after it was gone, I even missed it a bit. But as my children grow and take up more and more of my time and energy, I realize emphatically that the addition of another child for me would have been negative rather than positive.”

Linda Bird Francke, The Ambivalence of Abortion (New York: Random House, 1978), quoted in Family Circle, January 27, 1978, p.57.

At the end of the quote, she rationalizes her abortion, and implies that she is now content with her decision. But she nevertheless knows she took a life, and this knowledge will no doubt haunt her in the future. The “little ghost’ may return.

Also, when she says “blob of cells and tissue” she is underestimating her child’s development. At the time of her abortion, surgical abortions were not done before 7 weeks and abortions by pill were not available, meaning her baby looked like this:

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