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View Diary: Death by Illegal Abortion, a Texas First But Not Last (34 comments)

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  •  who was I "protecting"? (5+ / 0-)

    To this day I don't know why I did not reveal to my parents my legal safe (very early - if that would have made any difference) abortion, in my late 20s, in the 70s, when I was single and still in college.

    I was raised in a small town, not quite the bible belt, where church participation was very important for ones social and occupational status. Although, my childhood mainstream protestant church was one of the very first, in US, to publically announce support of "women's right to choose" my family was very involved in the church, my father was a long time Elder, on the board for as long as I can remember, and leader of the main, men's bible class, a well know and respected leader in the community and my parents were known, far and near, and loved as the most "Christian," generous, and loving people one would ever want to know, my father, from the time I could remember, taught me to question all religious authority, especially the "writings by men" contained in the whole of the Christian Bible. My mother referred to him as an "eyebrow raiser" when it came to religious discussions as he openly questioned much of the bible as it pertained to contemporary living. One just couldn't find a more liberally religious environment in which to grow and thrive, especially in a small town. It was not until many years into my adulthood, by which time I had become an atheist, after much study and thought, I became aware of the "hellfire and damnation" that is so much a part of religious teachings in many religions and denominations. I was never subjected to that growing up and did not even know it existed. Jesus's teachings were the "doctrine" of my religious upbringing.

    Yet, I was strongly influenced by imagined or real "The Stigma."

    So where did my "need" to keep the information about my own safe, legal, abortion, when I was a fully independent adult, and by then an openly professed atheist, well known by my family, come from? Why did I feel the need to keep from my family my activities in abortion rights?

    I suspect that most of the imagined and real stigma, for me personally, came from societal influences and not my religious upbringing. I suspect, also, in growing up in an environment where others' opinions of you, mainly about religion and "morals," could determine ones status in a community, had a major influence on me. I have "rebelled" openly, questioned, resisted, protested enough, throughout my life, to experience the results of social stigma, in most communities in which I've lived, even when overt threats to religious beliefs were not the main issues; at least not on the surface.

    So why did I not trust my parents to support or even approve my decision to have an abortion so many years after I was an independent adult? Perhaps that was not the main reason I never told them. Did I think it would have cause conflict for them? On reflection perhaps that was a major reason. I'm not quite sure. At any rate I don't think I "hurt" them by not telling them, but rather I did not, back then, trust what I know now, that my parents would have dealt with the information as the loving and rational people they always were.

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