About These Abortion Stories

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Where the stories come from

This site contains accounts which women have written about their own abortion experiences.

I used to run another abortion-related Web site. We often received e-mails from women who simply wanted to talk about their personal stories. After seeing many such stories go by, I wondered if such stories might be of interest to others, to give an idea of what the "abortion experience" is really like. So I very cautiously asked one woman for permission to post her story. I say "cautiously", because I didn't want in any way to embarrass or take advantage of these women. But I also felt that they had something important to say.

When we posted that first story, we also posted an article soliciting other first-hand stories. All of the remaining stories in the collection came in response to that article.

Why they're so one-sided

We often receive e-mails taking us to task for only posting "bad experience" stories. Why don't we give the collection some balance by also posting stories talking about positive abortion experiences?

The answer is simple: We have very few positive stories to post. As of this writing -- 23 April 2002 -- we have received forty-three stories from women who regret their decision to abort. We have received three stories from women who express satisfaction with their decision to abort. Until September 2001, we had none. (We had one other pro-abortion story posted for a while, but the writer later asked us to remove it, saying she had changed her mind about sharing her story, and we regretfully complied.)

Frankly, I'm glad that we got some positive-experience stories in: It helps us to rebut the criticism that we are biased and only post stories that conform to our agenda.

Why we don't respond to the pro-abortion stories

This brings up an opposite issue: When we posted the pro-abortion stories, we were tempted to include rebuttals: to point out flaws in the logic, elements of the story that are unlikely or at least uncommon, etc. But we have decided not to do that, primarily because we believe this would discourage other women with pro-abortion stories from submitting them, and we want to be as balanced as possible. There are plenty of other places on this web site where we give our opinions and analysis: in this section, we live up to the title, and let aborted women speak in their own words.

What these stories prove

These stories certainly show an overwhelmingly negative picture of abortion. None of these women saw abortion as a liberating experience. Few expressed satisfaction that they lived in a country where their right to abortion was guaranteed by the courts. Rather, almost all saw it as a gut-wrenching experience, either a terrible mistake, or something they were pressured or forced into. Fredericka Matthews-Greene once wrote that, "Women 'choose' abortion in the same sense that an animal caught in a trap 'chooses' to gnaw its own leg off."

Let us hasten to concede that the fact that the stories here are mostly negative does not "prove" that every woman who has an abortion has such a negative experience. This is not a scientific survey, but a collection of anecdotes. We have made no effort to find the "typical" abortion story; we have simply accepted whatever was sent to us. It is possible that women who have positive experiences are less likely to want to talk about them. More likely, it may be that women who are happy with a decision to abort do not tend to visit the Pregnant Pause web site.

It would be leaping to conclusions to suppose that because these stories are so negative, that therefore all or almost all abortion experiences are negative. But the fact that so many women have voluntarily shared their stories, and that almost all are negative, must surely tell us that there are many, many unpleasant experiences out there.

In any case, the stories themselves are far more eloquent than anything further I could say on the subject.

How they are edited

We do only minimal editing on stories submitted. We will fix spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. We make some adjustments for style, like changing a word in all capitals to italics, or adding paragraph breaks. We have had a few occasions where we did more serious editing. For example, one woman sent us a story and then sent us another e-mail with additional information, and we merged the two together. But for the most part, the stories you see are, indeed, the woman's own words.

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Posted 12 Sep 2000. Revised 23 Apr 2002.

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