In a collection of women’s abortion stories “Redeeming Grief: Abortion and Its Pain,” a woman named Jacinta wrote about being pressured by her partner into an unwanted abortion that left her in her “own private hell.”
She recalled that when she told the father of her baby that she was pregnant, he was “cold and uncaring.” Jacinta explained:
He just told me it’s not a baby and it’s just a bunch of cells and that I’m going to have to get rid of it before it was too late. My heart and mind just were so torn, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to have an abortion! It was his idea, and I felt that I couldn’t have this baby when he didn’t want it.
Emotionally dependent on her partner, Jacinta didn’t think she could continue the pregnancy:
He told me that I would destroy his life by keeping this baby. He made me feel so guilty that I felt I had no other alternative but to abort my precious baby…. I was consumed with my partner and making him happy, his happiness at the expense of my sanity and self-respect.
At one point, Jacinta promised her baby she wouldn’t give in to her partner’s wishes. She said, “I held my belly and told my precious baby it will be okay. I won’t let anything happen to you. I love you.” But just two days later, she said she broke that promise. Her partner continued to pressure her and she could no longer take it. “The baby,” she said, “was the innocent victim in all of this.”
Her partner was afraid that if she told abortion workers she didn’t want the abortion, they would refuse to commit it. So, he ordered her to lie when she got to the abortion facility. However, the abortion workers were so eager for her to abort that Jacinta realized nothing she could’ve said, even that she didn’t want the abortion, would have mattered. “[M]y partner told me to lie about everything so they wouldn’t suspect I completely disagreed with having the abortion or they may not allow me to have it,” she explained. “The way I was treated I could’ve said anything and they still would’ve booked me in for the abortion. I did as I was asked and lied to the counselor … I saw no way of changing the situation.”
Jacinta wrote her testimony seven years after her abortion. She has suffered extreme grief, shame, and “emotional breakdowns.” She explained:
The pain and despair I felt for the past seven years has been my own private hell. I didn’t realize that my behavior for those past seven years was due to the suppression of the pain and guilt I felt … In fact, the pain and shame I felt has now been suppressed for seven years and it has been so strong it resulted in me having three breakdowns, a lost relationship, lost career… The hardest thing for me to accept for seven years was that I couldn’t and didn’t fight for my baby.
Jacinta’s abortion wasn’t empowering, nor was it freely chosen. Her story shows that the pro-choice narrative that abortion always liberates and empowers women is a lie and abortion trauma is very real.
Source: Anne R Lastman Redeeming Grief: Abortion and Its Pain (Balwyn, Vic: Australia: Gracewing, 2013) 208 – 209
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