Distasteful is too mild a word for Fusion writer Kristen V. Brown’s article about her abortion experience.
It is hard to imagine that many Americans would feel comfortable with Brown’s description of her abortion as a “totally joyful experience.” Published Tuesday, Brown’s article is accompanied by a moving banner of smiley faces and party-themed icons.
Her abortion story, however, is much more tragic than her headline or choice of imagery suggests. She told her story in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court challenge of a pro-life Texas law, which has been credited with saving more than 10,000 babies’ lives.
Brown said she became pregnant not long after she finished grad school. She said she had moved to a new area to start a newspaper fellowship and met a guy through the online dating site OkCupid. Brown said she was not serious about the guy because he seemed ready to settle down and she wasn’t. But one night, after drinking too much, they had sex. Brown said the guy refused to wear a condom, but she was “too out of it to effectively protest when he declined.”
“The next day, I made an appointment for an STD test, blocked his number, unfriended him on Facebook, and sincerely hoped to never see him again,” Brown wrote.
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Getting pregnant was one of the darkest points in my life. I was broke from quitting my job, going back to school, and then accepting a low-paying fellowship. I was alone and living in a brand new city that I hated. When I did get an abortion, just a few weeks into my pregnancy, I had to ask a coworker I barely knew to fulfill the requirement of staying by my side for the brutal hours after I took my abortion pill.
… In the days leading up to my appointment at Planned Parenthood, where I would be given a prescription for the abortion pill, I would wake up in the middle of the night, my pajamas soaked in sweat from nightmares that somehow the abortion didn’t take, leaving me stuck with a baby I didn’t want and couldn’t afford, linked forever to some guy I’d met on OkCupid who refused to use a rubber. This fear was only exacerbated when, one night while trying to binge-watch my troubles away, I saw an episode of Private Practice about a woman who thought she’d gotten an abortion and later found out that the doctor had botched it. I envisioned having to quit my fellowship and move home to California, since there was no way I could handle a baby in my current situation. I worried that my life was over. The pregnancy itself made me physically ill, and the worrying only made me sicker.
But once I got an abortion, suddenly, everything was fine again.
After her abortion, Brown said she felt powerful, optimistic and “awesome.” She said she felt a sense of freedom that she was her only responsibility. What she didn’t add was her freedom came at the price of her unborn baby’s life.
Certainly, for some women, the decision to get an abortion is difficult and going through with it can be equally traumatic. For me, though, it was neither. I never wavered in my decision and I have not once regretted it since.
The right to make that decision—to take control of my body and my life—allowed me to pursue the life I wanted, and to become the person that I wanted to be.
I wouldn’t call that dark or painful. Actually, I think I would call it a joy.
She may feel joy, but her child never will.
It’s hard to know exactly how to respond to such brash admissions as Brown’s. Mother Teresa probably said it best in her remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994: “By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. … Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
Even if abortion brings temporary “joy” and “freedom” to a few women like Brown, these emotions do not justify the killing of an innocent human life.