A Response To "Why Is Abortion Becoming Celebrated?"

Today I came across an Odyssey article titled “Why Is Abortion Becoming Celebrated?”, in which the author discusses the recently overturned abortion access law in Texas and, in her own words, the “truly sickening” “celebratory posts” about it. The abortion debate is extremely complicated and highly emotional, and I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind on either side of it. However, in her article the author has asked several specific questions that I feel I can answer. I hope to shed some light on the pro-choice reaction to this ruling and how the Odyssey piece is misconstruing this so-called “celebration”. For the sake of responding directly to the Odyssey’s article, I will be using cis-normative language to simplify my answers by referring to people who can get pregnant as “women”. It is extremely important to recognize that people who do not identify as women can also experience pregnancy, and that not all people who do identify as women can.

The article first asks: “Why do people find the right to stop life from happening as something to be celebrated?”

 I’ll begin to answer this question by first saying this: “pro-life” is not a meaningful label for the anti-choice movement, because the pro-choice movement is also pro-life. In fact, anyone who does not literally want life on Earth to end is pro-life, because life is not limited to what happens inside of a womb.

 This misleading label implies that the pro-choice movement is “anti-life” and “pro-abortions”, which it is not. The pro-choice movement, as stated directly in its name, is in support of a woman’s right to choose. No one is celebrating abortions or performing them on a whim. Abortions are not something to be taken lightly, and no one – especially not the pro-choice movement – is saying that. The fact is that if you are against a woman’s right to choose an abortion, you are anti-choice.  If you are in favor of a woman’s right to choose an abortion, you are pro-choice. Those are the two sides of this debate, period. Language is important.

 With that being clarified, no one is celebrating the Texas ruling as “the right to end life.” Instead, pro-choice advocates are relieved that, in a state where a woman’s right to control her body has been obstructed for decades, unjustifiable and impossible constraints on medical facilities have been rejected as law. As stated by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her concurrence on the ruling, "When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety.” The ruling in Texas does not make abortions easier to get (either physically or emotionally), it simply stops a constitutional right from being further eroded. In case anyone is unclear about what the law specifically aimed to do, you can read more about it in this summary by The New York Times.

 Suggesting that anyone is “celebrating” “the right to end life” is not only inaccurate concerning the overruled law, but also disturbingly misinformed as to what the entire abortion debate is. As Justice Ginsburg observed, the Texas law would have led to more unauthorized and unregulated procedures that would harm and possibly kill Texas women. So, even if the goal of the law were really about “the right to end life”, wouldn’t the life of the women involved be a concern too?

The article then goes on to ask: “Whether you believe what is inside the mother is considered life or not, how could the topic of abortion possibly be something that is acclaimed? You might be thinking that it's all about [sic] woman's rights and them being given the choice. However, this is not a positive choice for anyone to make.”

 Have you ever heard of a woman joyously parading to an abortion clinic? Of course not. Abortion is not a thoughtless choice a woman makes for fun. The very fact that the controversy over abortions has been nonstop since the 1960’s speaks to their profound impact on people’s lives.  Abortions are never “acclaimed” or “celebrated”; in reality, the vast majority of women who receive them in our society are scrutinized, shamed and harassed because of their choice. This serious medical procedure is something that permanently sewn into the life of any woman who has one, regardless of whether the decision was right for her or not. Only the woman who has that procedure can determine the positive or negative effect of it. It is a choice no one wants to make, but it is a crucial one. And, whether you are pro-choice or anti-choice, The Supreme Court has once again confirmed that it is a legal procedure that women have a right to access.  

The article then poses the question: “What a traumatizing and horrific decision for someone to make, and people are actually turning that horrific decision into a celebration?”

 I don’t feel the need to reiterate the fact that the Texas ruling is not a celebration of abortion at all, but if you would like me to, please re-read the first four paragraphs of this piece.

 That being said, I would like to break this question down a bit more to fully answer it. No one can speak for a woman who has had an abortion. Only she can determine the way the procedure impacted her life and it is ignorant to suggest otherwise. We have all heard stories of women who regret their abortions, but the experience of one is not the experience of all – which the author admits when she says “[sic] while this is not true for every women, this just goes to show how tragic this event can be.”

However, unless you have had a “traumatizing” abortion experience yourself, it cannot be broadly defined as such.  It is undoubtedly a serious experience for anyone to go through, but it is a respective and individual one.

The article, following a quoted tweet from Cosmopolitan stating “Texas women are having more babies since Planned Parenthood was defunded. L” comes to an end with this question: “Why are people upset that women are choosing to have babies? I would like people such as Cosmopolitan to just provide a reason as to why deciding to have a child is a negative issue.”

 The key word here is “choosing”. No one is upset that women are choosing to have babies; they are upset because that choice is being threatened on a daily basis. The entire point is that choice. The overruling of the Texas abortion access law stopped a substantial blockage of a constitutional right, and the dismissal of this violation of rights is being celebrated.

 As for “[providing] a reason as to why deciding to have a child is a negative issue” once again: key word, “deciding”. If a woman decides to have a child, then, obviously, she will carry the pregnancy to term. If she decides to have a child and give it up for adoption, then that is her choice as well. If she decides to terminate a pregnancy, it is her right to do so, even if you do not agree with her decision.

 The abortion controversy is not coming to an end any time soon, and the grey areas between anti-choice and pro-choice are difficult to navigate. It will always be a highly charged debate, with mistakes made on both sides. Extremely distasteful and insensitive jokes will be made (I’m talking about you, The Daily Show), and logical fallacies (such as “pro-life”) will be tossed around carelessly. In the meantime, the best we can do is to educate ourselves fully so we can communicate honestly and effectively with one another.

But, to answer to original question: “Why Is Abortion Becoming Celebrated?”

 It’s not.