Planned Parenthood Defends "I Had an Abortion" Shirts Despite Backlash

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 30, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood Defends "I Had an Abortion" Shirts Despite Backlash

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 30, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Criticism from pro-life groups, women who have had abortions, and even from their own local affiliates hasn’t stopped the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from selling t-shirts with the slogan, "I Had an Abortion."

In a statement responding to the national outrage, PPFA president Glora Feldt, says, "The shirt is not a cavalier statement, but a way to challenge the silence and shame around an experience many women have shared, however difficult that decision may have been."

Feldt blames pro-life groups for making it necessary to sell the t-shirt.

"One in three American women will have an abortion before the age of 45, and anti-choice extremists are doing everything they can to turn that choice into a scarlet letter, and ultimately to criminalize this option," Feldt explains.

"In that effort, some anti-choice activists have publicly disclosed that they had an abortion, only to cast this option in shame," Feldt added.

But Feldt comments are offensive to many women who have had abortions, suffered from extreme physical and emotional consequences, and regret their decision.

At age 18, Pennsylvania resident Karen Bodle learned she was pregnant from her first sexual encounter and had an abortion when she felt she had no other options.

The abortion experience left Karen depressed and confused and plagued her ability to develop a relationship because she was continually haunted by her experience.

"I want America to know that abortion hurts women. Women are created to love and nurture their children, not have them ripped from their wombs and thrown away," Bodle says.

"I did not want more women to go through the intense pain and suffering that I had experienced," Bodle added.

In defending the shirts, Feldt also said, "Women who have abortions are the same women who have children, and they make both of those decisions with thought and heart and moral deliberation."

However, according to a report by the Illinois-based Elliot Institute, which researches the effects of abortion, an estimated 30 to 60 percent of the women who have abortions feel as if they are being pressured to do so.

In fact, eight out of every ten post-abortive women say they would have given birth, if there had been someone around to support their decision, according to the research institution.

"When I told him (the father of the child) he was furious and insisted that the child be aborted as soon as possible," said Cynthia Greenwood, a woman quoted in an Eliot Institute report on the subject of coerced abortions.

"I did not want to kill this baby, but my co-dependence and addiction to this man won out. I finally made an appointment with the abortion clinic," Greenwood said.

Another woman, Jane Crawford, told the research group, "My mother arranged my abortion. She didn’t like my boyfriend and wanted to protect my ‘reputation’ … our pastor had assured her that having an abortion was fine. No one helped me."

Related web sites:
The Elliot Institute report "Forced Abortions in America" can be downloaded from