Activists Seek to “Reconceptualize” the Stigma of Abortion

Opinion   |   Luis Zaffirini   |   Aug 11, 2011   |   10:29AM   |   Washington, DC

I read recently that a team of researchers was beginning a study that seeks to reduce the stigmatization of abortion in society. Not surprisingly, the research team is being represented by the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider (over 332,000 annually).

This upcoming study follows on the heels of a journal article published by a group of six academics which included an employee of the Guttmacher Institute. The article was titled “Abortion Stigma: A Reconceptualization of Constituents, Causes, and Consequences.”  The entire article is available on the Guttmacher Institute website. (

The researchers noted five reasons abortion is stigmatized including the fact that scientific advances have “challenged previous constructions of boundaries between fetus and infant.” What most disturbs me about this “research” is that its aim is specifically to counter growing scientific evidence of the humanity of the unborn child.

The article further cites laws protecting these unborn human lives as another source of “stigma.” Increased ubiquity of fetal imagery–not just at the doctor’s office but in our homes in the form of ultrasound photos attached on refrigerators and shown on smart phones–has visually exposed society to human life at some of its earliest stages. It should seem undeniable, and yet this pro-abortion article argues that we should ignore the facts, ignore the evidence, and ignore human rights so that more abortions can be performed.

Also disturbing is the misconceptions the researchers have about right-to-life proponents: that we stigmatize crisis pregnancies and women who have had abortions. Pro-life people are the largest safety net—in many cases, the only safety net–supporting women with untimely pregnancies in the country. And yet pro-abortion forces continually assail the work crisis pregnancy centers do.

It is a sad fact that abortion is so prevalent in our society, and many of us know a woman whose life has been affected by abortion. They are friends, relatives, and colleagues of ours. We also know them because so many of them are active in the right-to-life movement. Again, pro-lifers react with compassion, not the aggression of abortion’s defenders.

The bottom line is that this “stigma” nonsense is just an example of the same old tired arguments reiterated for a new generation. The difference is this time there is more and more hard scientific evidence on the side of life.