Professor Wants More Women to Brag About Having Abortions

Opinion   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 9, 2017   |   3:30PM   |   Washington, DC

Carol Sanger works as a law professor at Columbia University, but she also is an abortion activist who gives interviews, writes books and teaches classes about the controversial topic.

Sanger’s views on abortion are pretty outside the mainstream. She openly opposes laws prohibiting sex-selection abortions that target baby girls, and has spoken out against laws that ensure women have the opportunity to see their unborn babies on an ultrasound and bills to prevent the sales of aborted babies’ body parts.

This week, The Intercept published an interview with Sanger (not related to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger) about her new book. The interview focused around women telling their positive abortion stories.

Sanger began reasonably enough by stating that there are many reasons why more women do not share their abortion stories.

“It’s your body; it’s sex; it’s reproduction; it’s a medical treatment,” she said. “Those are all things that people like to keep private.”

However, she argued that women should feel free to talk about their abortions just as they talk about any other medical procedure. The problem is that pro-lifers make them feel ashamed to.

“If we say something’s private, that’s OK,” Sanger said. “But when it gets pushed into secrecy to be a shaming mechanism by all these laws that tell you that what you are doing is wrong, and would then try to persuade you out of it, that’s what changes the decision.”

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Sanger said she wants abortions to be “normalized.”

“Can we just regard this as a parenting decision and not murder?” she asked.

She gave this example:

“So my suggestion is just that people could start talking about abortion when it’s appropriate, within their families. For a long time women never talked about their miscarriages because it was shameful, it meant that you weren’t a woman, you couldn’t deliver the pregnancy. It had that social stigma attached to it. Women felt extremely isolated and over time began to talk about it and found great comfort knowing that actually they’re not the only ones on their floor at work who had this experience. So I think that is a good analogy — to have something that slowly creeps out, and it requires bravery.”

The problem is that an abortion is not a miscarriage or a basic medical procedure. A miscarriage is the natural loss of an unborn baby, by no fault of its mother; an abortion is the intentional destruction of an unborn baby’s life. These are huge differences, but Sanger apparently would rather women not think of things this way.

Nor does she want women to be informed about basic medical facts, such as the development of her unborn child. To her, informed consent laws that help ensure women are fully informed about potential risks, fetal development and alternatives to abortion are manipulative and shaming. A woman who sees her unborn child on an ultrasound screen could feel ashamed of wanting an abortion and change her mind.

Abortion activists do not like to mention what happens to some women who are not informed before they have an abortion. Sometimes, these women are traumatized later in life when they learn that their aborted baby was not just a blob of tissue, as the abortion clinic claimed; their unborn child had a heartbeat, brain waves, and tiny fingers and toes.

Here’s more from the interview:

In “About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America,” Sanger makes a compelling case for how a private matter — choosing to have an abortion — has been so politicized and stigmatized that it has been transformed into something that women feel they must keep secret, lest they set themselves up for public shaming. …

When you consider that there are nearly 1 million abortions provided each year, for a rate of nearly 15 out of 1,000 women of reproductive age, it’s clear there are millions of women who could effectively advocate for rational reproductive healthcare policy if they felt safe to do so.

This is a big assumption on writer Jordan Smith’s part. In it is the underlying assumption that most women who have had abortions want them to be legal and easily available.

The problem is that abortion activists ignore the huge number of women who had bad experiences with abortion and now regret them. They ignore the many, many women who say they were pressured or coerced to abort their unborn child. They ignore the women who have been lied to, pressured and even sexually abused by abortion clinic staff.

These women’s stories do not fit Smith’s or Sanger’s narrative that abortion is good and necessary for women.

The facts do not fit with abortion activists’ narrative either. An abortion is not just like any other medical procedure; it kills a unique, living human entity. Public polling on the morality and legalization of abortion indicate that most Americans sense this to be true. More Americans say abortion is “morally wrong” than “morally acceptable,” and most want abortions to be illegal or limited to a few, rare circumstances.

Abortion will never be normal, no matter how hard abortion activists try to make it so.