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If you support a woman's right to choose then don't call yourself "pro-life" because you are not. You are pro-choice. You should call yourselves pro-choice.

Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion, it simply means you think the choice should be left to the woman. Period.

Stop using their misleading rhetoric.

You're either pro-choice or anti-choice. PICK A SIDE. If you aren't on mine, then you can kiss my ass because I'm never going to stop demanding my right to choose and I'm certainly not going to let anyone take that right away from my future children.

And no, I'm not going to apologize for being angry. I'm tired of people saying we shouldn't be angry. If someone told you they wanted to make your medical decisions for you, you'd be angry too. If people had terrorized you when you went to an abortion clinic, you'd be angry too.

A few weeks ago I wrote a Top Comments diary about my Great Aunt Catherine. She died this year.

I've written a few comments here at DKos about my Great Aunt Catherine. When I was fairly young I learned that she nearly died in her early twenties, during the Great Depression. She got married when she was 18, in 1929. Her husband told her that if she got pregnant, he would divorce her and leave her destitute. I'm sure you see where this is going. There was no legal birth control at that time, and her husband certainly wasn't going to use condoms, so she was left with a choice - a drastic one. She could either eliminate the pregnancy or end up a young divorced woman with little education and no one to help her.

Abortion was not legal. She didn't believe she had anyone who she could turn to, so she got out the coat hanger and did it herself. She got lead poisoning and nearly hemmoraged to death. Her sister, who was a nurse, saved her life and nursed her back to health. Her husband divorced her. She was never able to have children and she never remarried.

Chances are, someone you know had a similar experience to the one my Great Aunt Catherine had. In a diary written several years ago here on DKos (almost 4 years now), I left my first comment about my abortion:

Abortion isn't horrible

I had an abortion when I was 19. I was pregnant because of a rape. Speaking frankly, abortion saved MY life. I'll tell you what was horrible though...
Judgement of others.
Protesters trying to prevent me from going into the clinic.
The thought that not only had I been raped, but that the bastard had poisoned me with a fetus.
Fear that I had an STD.
Fear that the clinic would be bombed.
Fear that I would be shot at while I was walking in or out of the clinic.
The couselor at the clinic trying to talk me out of my decision by telling me that I was "too emotional" to see what I was doing.

It has been 8 years since I got an abortion and I have NEVER EVER regretted my actions. I firmly believe that I never will. What I do regret is going out on a date with someone I thought was a nice guy.

No other woman should have to feel those things, and I will fight until the day I die, shit, I would lay down and die today if it would ensure that no woman ever had to worry or feel the way I once did.

The day I had my abortion, I was driven to the clinic by my college roommate. We went to a clinic outside of St. Louis. There were perhaps 100 protestors there with their signs - yelling "murderer" and trying to plead with various people not to go into the clinic. I walked in with my head held high. I was not ashamed then and I'm not ashamed now.

The diary I was commenting in was a very moving one by stormcoming, Abortion is about autonomy. Autonomy is a core value. I remember this diary clearly almost 4 years later - that's how much it stuck with me. She includes this statistic from a Kaiser Foundation study back in 2002. Obviously the numbers will be different now, but I wasn't able to find an updated number:

"It is estimated that 43 percent of women in the U.S. will have an abortion by age 45 and that more than 30 million have had an abortion since the procedure was legalized in 1973 (based on 1992 rates.)" Link.

You can also see here that important statistic, that only 1% of abortions take place after 21 weeks of pregnancy. Dr. Tiller would have provided many of those late term abortions.

Update: h/t to ItsSimpleSimon for this comment which contains this link to the CDC and provides some updated numbers which show that the percentage of abortions taking place after 21 weeks is 1.3%.

From 1992 (when detailed data regarding early abortions were first collected) through 2005, the percentage of abortions performed at <6 weeks' gestation has increased. A small percentage of abortions occurred at>15 weeks' gestation (3.7% at 16--20 weeks and 1.3% at >21 weeks).

Here are some choice quotes:

But further, to label abortion "horrible" is to also label those who provide, assist with, or seek, participate in, or experience abortion as "horrible". PEOPLE are those targeted within, but hidden by the language of 'this form of medical care is horrible'. As people who are part of that form of medical care are inseparable from and essential parts of that action.

Rather than adding to the stigmatization and isolation of those who relate to abortion, instead realize WHO you're talking about.

These same women and people are all around you every day, yet relegated to invisibility. To support women who have had abortions is to support perhaps your mother, your sister, your friend, or your wife, and yes, to support women who read daily Kos. Do not assume they'd have told you, not in this climate, where they are being labeled 'horrible' by proxy. Where to have had an abortion is to be equated to a murderess.


Abortion is not some 'dirty' word. Abortion is an autonomist word. It translates to 'maintaining the fundamental ability to own and control our own lives'.

Today, Setrak wrote a diary, In Defense Of Pro-Life Kossacks - there is no such thing. I can't make that statement strongly enough. "Pro-life" is meaningless rhetoric.

You are either pro-choice or anti-choice. You either want to put women and doctors in jail for having abortions and providing them, or you don't. You either want abortion to be safe and legal, or you don't. You either want contraceptives and sex education to be available to people or you do not.

Those who are against contraceptives and sex education are not "pro-life" they are anti-choice. Those who want to go back to the time in American history when women died from illegal and unsafe abortions are not "pro-life" they are anti-choice (and they are pro-death). Those who want to put women and doctors in jail for having abortions or providing them are not "pro-life" they are anti-choice.

You can be pro-choice and personally believe that abortion is wrong. But if that's what you believe - that you would never personally make the decision to have an abortion, but you believe everyone should be able to choose - then you are pro-choice. Call it that. Claim it. It's something to be proud of.


Lurkersince03 indicated that this comment was more inclusive and should have been part of the diary, so I thought I'd add it:

And that's the fact -

When you get down to it, to some degree, nearly everyone is pro-choice.

That is how we should be framing it. That is how we win. That's how we get comprehensive sex ed and greater access to contraceptives. That's how we drastically reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and drastically reduce the need for abortions.

I believe we should make contraception and condoms available for everyone. These contraceptives should be covered by all insurance. They should be handed out for free to those who cannot afford them. I believe every person has the right to comprehensive sex education that is based in science. I believe that the number of abortions in this country would decrease if sex education and contraceptives were available to all people. But ultimately, I believe in the right to choose. I will fight for that right to be legal until the day I die because I don't ever want to hear another story of a woman or a girl who had to go through what my Great Aunt Catherine went through, and I don't ever want my future children and nieces to tell me that they went to a clinic to have an abortion, get medical care, or to volunteer and came face to face with protesters who called them names like, "murderer".

Their rhetoric helps THEM. It doesn't cause fewer abortions. It causes terrorism. This rhetoric provides them with the excuse for "justifiable murder". Terrorist Alert:They may be your neighbor, a diary currently on the rec list by Deoliver47, provides multiple examples. These are people who claim "pro-life" as a label. If I was anti-choice, I certainly wouldn't want to name myself in any category with these terrorists.

I had an abortion. I'm not a murderer. I'm never going to apologize for it. I'm not ashamed of it. Right wing terrorists can call me names and make threats until the day I die and I will never feel remorse or shame for having an abortion. No woman should.

Originally posted to Elise on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:10 AM PDT.

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