Self-induced abortions and the myth of female empowerment

By Dave Andrusko

A scene from Dry Land (Alastair Muir)

A scene from Dry Land (Alastair Muir)

Elsewhere today, NRLC director of education Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon brilliantly critiques and dissembles a “study” cranked out by a gaggle of pro-abortion academics.

“Knowledge, opinion and experience related to abortion self-induction in Texas” doesn’t say what the newspaper headlines and lead paragraphs scream: that since passage of Texas’ H.B. 2 in 2013 , self-induced abortions have soared into the hundreds of thousands. But I don’t think you’d be far off if you concluded that was the message that they wanted distributed near and far.

But note: the zanier the pro-abortionist, the more likely she is to celebrate, not bemoan, self-induced abortions. It’s part of their ideology of female “empowerment.”

We’ve written about this myth previously. In light of Dr. O’Bannon’s analysis, I’d like to revisit and update what we said then.

Anyone who follows National Right to Life News Today knows that we keep close tabs on the occupants (and their numbers, alas, are growing) of the loonier precincts of pro-abortion advocacy. Even if you wanted to, you cannot, you simple cannot, write fast enough. By the time you finish a post, they’ve taken their extremistism a few miles further into outer space.

Sharing Information About Self-Inducing Abortions Made Me Feel Empowered” says Andrea Grimes, writing at Rhrealitycheck.org. You knew someone would try to one-up that celebratory post.

A month later we were told to visit Carafem and you can obliterate your baby amidst all the creature comforts of a trip to the spa!

But back to Grimes.

DIY [Do it Yourself] abortion is, on the one hand, portrayed as a defensive move–a much-needed alternative, once Texas had passed H.B. 2 which required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and abortion clinics to meet the standards required of Ambulatory Surgical Centers.

However, on the other hand, there is a brighter side to DIY (or self-induced) abortions, from the perspective of women like Grimes. Sure, those bad old patriarchs may have put a crimp in their traditional killing options, but that has just led to more creative ways to obliterate that troublesome collection of cells and in the process enhance feminist solidarity.

With a nod and a wink, Grimes explains to her readers that she is just passing on information. And what is she telling people?

What I do tell people is that the World Health Organization has publicly made available information that explains how a pregnant person might induce an abortion using misoprostol, a drug with a variety of other medical uses, including treating ulcers in humans and arthritis in dogs.

And since in Texas, she writes, “assisting someone in obtaining an illegal abortion is a felony,” Grimes is merely [nod, nod, wink, wink] “shar[ing] those WHO protocols—again, totally, publicly available information—with people who want to learn them.”

But, she assures her readers, that doesn’t mean “pregnant people” [yes, “pregnant people”] can’t attempt to self-abort using that “totally, publicly available information.”

However, besides giving high-fives to chemically aborting unborn babies, what this particular article is most concerned with (as the title suggests) is “empowerment” — empowerment and female bonding as they role-play aborting imaginary children.

It just doesn’t get any better, right? Well, actually yes (from their point of view). You could videotape your abortion and put the remaining minutes of your baby’s life on YouTube. Cool!

Better yet, they could re-enact what thousands of feminists did in November 1983 in Barcelona, Spain. As Rai Rojas, NRLC’s director of Latino Outreach, wrote,

They were gathered there to conference on how to best change and repeal Spain’s protective abortion laws.

At the height of the convention, two young pregnant women were taken into a conference room and aborted. At the next day’s general assembly the leading feminists of the day held up two bloody glass jars containing the remains of two aborted children.

Thunderous applause led to cheers and screams of delight as the two dead babies were displayed high above the heads of the speakers – their trophies. Some who were there reported that the room shook from the stomping of feet and the chants that followed.

Grimes, reminiscing, doubtless would conclude, How good is that?

What makes the whole Grimes piece so appealing to her audience is how she spruces up this female-huddling by invoking a kind of inverted Martha Stewart setting:

I bought the good boxed wine last fall when I invited my friends over to my place to learn the World Health Organization’s protocols for inducing safe abortion with misoprostol. Hell, I even broke out my special glasses from Pier One. Somebody brought fancy cheese. As we curled up on my living room’s puffy white sectional and started discussing our bodies, we could have passed for one of those yogurt commercials where people are always talking in stilted euphemisms about bowel irregularity. Instead, we were chatting about self-induced abortions.

Good wine, good cheese, good conversation about dead babies.

A final thought.

The celebration of abortion–whether dressed up in empowerment language or not–is something that is really, really unsettling. I could not help thinking of the comments “late-term” abortion specialist Warren Hern made to a late 70s meeting of the Association of Planned Parenthood physicians.

He talked about dismemberment abortion and the toll it could take on the personnel who participated.

In an article that appeared in Advances in Planned Parenthood (Vol. XV. No.1), Hern wrote about some of those who were assisting with the “procedure” who “are having strong personal reservations about participating in an operation which they view as destructive and violent.”

Hern continued

Some part of our cultural and perhaps even biological heritage recoils at a destructive operation on a form that is similar to our own, even though we know that the act has a positive effect for a living person. No one who has not performed this procedure can know what it is like or what it means; but having performed it, we are bewildered by the possibilities of interpretation. …We have reached a point in this particular technology where there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator. It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like electric current. It is the crucible of a raging controversy, the confrontation of a modern existential dilemma. The more we seem to solve the problem, the more intractable it becomes.

“Existential dilemma”? Please.

Perhaps Hern and Grimes can exchange notes–over good wine and good cheese.

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