Open Letter to the Woman Walking Into the Abortion Clinic
I was one of the women outside the abortion clinic you were walking into last Saturday. Although you took the literature I offered, you walked by quickly with your head down, and you shook it when I asked if you wanted to talk. I would like to say now what I would have said then, and to let you know why I was there.
I was not there to trespass on private property. I was not there to harass you or intimidate you. I was not there to block the entrance to the facility so that you could not obtain an abortion. I was not there to judge, to ridicule, or to condemn you.
I was there because I know exactly how you feel. I know the fear, the panic, the anxiety of an unplanned pregnancy. I know the excruciatingly painful and agonizing decision of abortion. I know the pressure, the silence, the secrecy.
I remember the desperation. I remember hating what I was about to do, but feeling like there was no other choice. I remember signing consent forms that I never read. I remember hearing "procedure," "termination," "cash only." I remember sobbing in my boyfriend's arms. I remember the guilt, the depression, the anger, the denial. I remember the nightmares: I remember my brokenness of spirit and the loss of myself.
I was there the other day to let you know that you are not alone. To ask if you know about all of your options, all of your choices.
To see if you are aware that there are places that can offer you free financial and medical assistance, housing, career guidance, prenatal care, maternity clothes, baby clothes, parenting classes, and adoption counseling.
To ask if you are aware of what is happening inside your body - to see if you are educated on the topic of scientific embryonic and fetal development.
To find out if you are truly consenting to this abortion or if you are being pressured and coerced by your boyfriend, your parents, your peers.
To convince you that you deserve more than violence and destruction as a solution to your problems.
I was also there for you if, like the vast majority, you went through with the abortion. I was there to let you know that there is hope - and healing - and self-forgiveness. And even if society doesn't validate your pain, it is still real. I was there full of understanding and compassion and love, but most of all, with sorrow - because I saw myself in you.
Reprinted from The American Feminist, Summer, 1994
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