She Travels Around the Country to Tell the Stories of Women Who Aborted Their Babies

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 26, 2016   |   8:21PM   |   Washington, DC

Women on both sides of the abortion issue have been eager to make their voices heard as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a major abortion case out of Texas.

Stories from women who have had abortions, especially pro-abortion women, have pervaded the media in the months leading up to the case, scheduled to be heard March 2. The pro-life Texas law is responsible for closing abortion clinics that could not guarantee they could protect the health of Texas women. The law has been credited with saving the lives of more than 10,000 unborn children.

One woman in particular, 36-year-old Melissa Madera, began a campaign to encourage women to tell their abortion stories and share them online via podcast for a project called the Abortion Diary. Madera traveled across the country to meet more than 150 women and record their stories for the project, according to the Washington Post. So, far Madera has published podcasts of 125 women sharing their abortion stories in their own words, according to the report.

The mission of her project is “the intersection of self-expression, healing, and the art of story-sharing and story-listening. We are dedicated to creating a space for people to share stories they haven’t been able to share and listen to stories they haven’t been able to hear.”

Madera herself clearly supports abortion, but she said she tried to allow women with a range of experiences and opinions about abortion to share their stories – without political influence.

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Madera said the Abortion Diary honors “the experiences of people who are totally fine with [abortion], with people who are not and people in the middle.”

Madera said she wanted to give women the opportunity to share stories of grief, relief and “every emotion in between” because sharing personal stories can lead to healing. Many of the Abortion Diary stories appear to be by pro-abortion women like herself, but some also appear to be from pro-life women.

As an example, the news report highlighted the story of Marie, who had several abortions between 1983 and 2002, and “came through Bible study to believe that what she had done was wrong and that abortion would be the wrong choice for other women.”

Other women shared letters written to their unborn babies as part of their stories, according to the report.

Another woman, Karen, who is in her mid-50s, shared the pain and shame she experienced from abortion:

The shame of those experiences in my teen years created in me this belief that if [my husband] were to find out that he would — he would leave me. And in fact, that’s a guiding thought in my mind all my life about every relationship.

… And so to me that, that’s the hardest part of my experience. The silence. Not talking to anybody. Not knowing that other people have been through a similar situation. Feeling like I was the only terrible person.

The report does not indicate Karen’s position on the abortion issue as a whole, though.

Madera also had an abortion when she was young. Sadly, Madera told the newspaper that her abortion opened up new opportunities for her to go to college and have a successful career as a doula. She did not mention how she denied her unborn child those same opportunities.

According to the report:

Her own abortion was a long time ago. She didn’t doubt her decision, but she describes in her recording how it left her with a hunger for other women’s stories.

… It happened that first summer after graduating from high school. She was 17 — the same age Madera’s mother was when she became pregnant with her — and she had a boyfriend. Her parents, immigrants from the Dominican Republic, made sure his visits were strictly chaperoned.

But one afternoon when the Yankees were playing, her parents and siblings headed off to the stadium, leaving the two of them alone in their Washington Heights apartment. And while the ballgame played on the TV in the background, Madera and her boyfriend had sex. The first of several times.

Her mother noticed the ­changes, but at the time they didn’t speak about them. Madera’s aunt escorted her to the clinic where she took the pregnancy test and brought her back the next day for the procedure. Her aunt cared for Madera in her apartment, where she sat on the bed and ate a bowl of Lipton noodle soup.

Though Madera admitted that her abortion was painful, she said she does not regret it.

“Even though I felt a lot of negative feelings about the abortion experience, I don’t regret it at all. Like there’s not one bone in my body that regrets that, you know, the abortion,” she said. “The sharing is really powerful. Like the power of sharing is something I had never thought about before.”

The project appears to be Madera’s attempt to present a balanced perspective of women’s abortion experiences from all sides of the debate. It’s disappointing however, that the Abortion Diary website links to only pro-abortion groups on its resource page. Links to other women’s abortion stories include the pro-abortion 1 in 3 Campaign but not the pro-life Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Post-abortion healing programs from a pro-life perspective Rachel’s Vineyard are not mentioned, but several pro-abortion programs are.

Madera made an attempt to be unbiased in her story telling. Unfortunately, her pro-abortion agenda shows by failing to give hurting post-abortive women the full range of resources available to them.