Regret an abortion? You don’t have to be silent

Written by Denae Pellerin from University of Saskatchewan Students for Life

This post original appeared in their student newspaper, The Sheaf. Go to this link and show your support for Denae by responding to the poll at the bottom of the article!

In the midst of the “Shout Your Abortion” campaign, more attention is being drawn to women who don’t regret having an abortion. However, women should be free to talk about abortion, regardless of how they feel about it.

The hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion has recently been trending in response to a motion by the United States Congress to defund Planned Parenthood for one year in order to perform a thorough investigation of its services.

The bill was proposed due to ethical concerns raised in reaction to undercover footage, collected and released by the Centre for Medical Progress, showing Planned Parenthood directors and executives bargaining over the organs and bodies of aborted human fetuses.

“Shout Your Abortion” began with the intent of letting women speak about their relief and happiness in choosing abortion, while simultaneously supporting and defending Planned Parenthood, the United States’ largest abortion provider.

There is plenty of controversy surrounding the allegations against Planned Parenthood as well as the overall moral topic of abortion. However, in the middle of all the political activism and shouting, I cannot help but think of women who do not want to shout their abortions — women who regret their abortions.

The Sexual Health Centre in Saskatoon, previously Planned Parenthood Saskatoon, claims that abortion is less invasive than having one’s tonsils removed — so why would women be upset?

Even if the numbers are small, there are still women who experience pain, regret and guilt due to having had an abortion. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, we can all agree that a woman who regrets her abortion should not have to suffer in silence.

Her experience and feelings are real and they are not a mistake. Just as choosing an abortion can be complicated, the feelings after an abortion can be complicated as well. All women should be invited to speak about their abortion experience without fear.

Women in Canada already have begun to take initiatives to offer freedom to those suffering in silence after an abortion. Beginning in November of 2002, the Silent No More Awareness campaign began in the United States and has since spread to many other countries, including Canada.

Organized by women who have had abortions, they share their stories of confusion, relief, happiness and pain in an effort to reach out to those involved in abortions and in need of healing and empowerment. Their presence alone tells us it is okay to regret an abortion and that there is help.

Containing a wealth of resources, Silent No More is able to direct women to places near to them where they can receive assistance. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, approximately 38,350 abortions were experienced by women under the age of 29 in 2010.

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Students and NCLN staff with members of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign who publicly shared their abortion testimonies at UBC.

Many of our classmates have likely had personal experiences with abortions and should be granted the freedom to share or hold various opinions and stories. University is a time in our lives when we are encouraged to explore all sides of an issue and determine for ourselves what we will do.

However, as debates go on, we must not forget the people behind these issues. When only one idea or message is accepted on campus, we risk hurting those who do not conform to that idea. It’s important that women who regret their abortions are given the opportunity to be listened to without fear of being judged or labeled negatively.

Every woman is important and must be respected, whether or not her emotions promote a particular political stance. If you or a loved one is in need of care, do not hesitate to ask for help. You do not have to be silent — but you also don’t have to shout.

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