• Tue, Mar 13 2012

I’m Glad I Wrote About My Abortion

This is me years after my abortion. Do I look like I have any regrets?

I knew when I wrote the original post about not regretting my abortion I’d get some negative responses. I also knew that most of the regular readers of The Gloss (I fucking love you guys, by the way), would see my point of view, and many would have my back on the topic.

When I told my mother that this was the topic I was going to tackle, she suggested I change my name. She listed off several reasons for this and started at the top with the Westboro Baptist Church, and amazingly she remembered a whole slew of specific abortion clinics that I had been attacked and doctors who performed abortions who had been murdered in the name of protecting a woman’s right to choose.

My reason for not changing my name or hiding behind a pseudonym was simple: I’m not ashamed of my decision. I honestly felt that to write about such a topic as though I were someone else would not only be insulting to myself and a part of my life that made me who I am today, but also insulting to every woman out there who may have found comfort or solidarity in my story. I felt I owed it to myself, and more importantly, every reader, (even the haters), to reveal that this is who I am. I’m not going to hide my identity. I want you to know my name, and I want you to put a face to that name. Cloaking myself in a shroud of secrecy would have had less impact, and frankly, it’s just not my style.

As the days went on and comment after comment came in, I tried to resist the urge to read them. But I couldn’t help myself. This topic, this freedom, this choice is so important to me that I was compelled to read the comments to see how other people felt — so I did. I read every single one of them.

When the hateful ones came in, I counted to 100 (10 wasn’t enough) then wrote back to those that struck me as the most offensive and ludicrous.  Remember the commenter who made some statement about putting a “fertilized egg between a man and a woman” in a dog’s womb as some sort of justification as to why abortion is wrong, right? I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one.

There was also the commenter who suggested that those who have sex other than to make babies should have their wombs removed. I cringed to think of all the orgasms I would have missed, then figured I’d go masturbate – at least that wouldn’t involve sex and I’d have a few minutes of relief from all this hoopla.

While I would categorize the percentage of  nasty comments — and please keep in mind that my original post in no way knocked the anti-choice group– as hateful, I would not call them hurtful. Were they infuriating? Yes. Did I cry? Absolutely. But I cried not because of what was being thrown at me, but because I was so fucking frustrated that this attitude existed at all.

And the comments did not stop at The Gloss. I had mistakenly left my personal gmail address on my website (I have since temporarily removed it), so the hits kept coming there, and to Twitter. An extremely right-wing, Christian, pro-life group wrote a piece on the post which provoked some particularly outraged reactions. The first comment? “She should be put to death.” That doesn’t make much sense from a group who calls themselves “pro-life,” does it?

Although I had received a handful of emails, some thanking me, and others just linking to articles and YouTube videos because they lacked either the education or appropriate vocabulary to convey their sentiments, there were a few that seemed outrageous.

The winning email, which is below, came right before bed last night. Again, remember this is coming from someone who calls themselves “pro-life,” named Stephen:

You will be eternally separated from your dead child and your dog when you burn in hell. Its the only thing that makes me able to smile despite your murderous injustice. Your selfishness is disgusting as are you. Your writing is bland and useless. I hope you are dead soon, as dead as the precious baby you slaughtered.

Really? Now that’s not very nice! And you’re smiling at the thought of me burning? Did you not take your “happy” pills today, Stephen? And how do we know that my baby, had I kept it, would have been “precious?” If it was anything like me, it would have been a pain in the ass.

My own blog was also inundated with similar comments that both wished me dead and said I should be jailed for being a murderer. It’s actually amazing the level of hate that comes from pro-life/anti-choice zealots; I’ve yet to meet to a pro-choice person who wishes death on a stranger because of their difference in opinion.

However, I do want to make some clarifications on particular points that stuck out in my original post:

1. The Rh negative factor. When I was informed of my Rh negative status, I was sitting in my underwear, on a doctor’s table about to get an abortion. The details of that moment are extremely fuzzy, and I knew I wouldn’t properly get the biological facts about it correctly. So to all of those who accused me of “spreading false info” and lies, please note that I did link to a site in the original post so a professional could explain it in a way I could not. Also this new knowledge had zero bearing on my decision that day. [tagbox tag="abortion"]

2. Having been called a “barfly” by one commenter and my lifestyle questioned by others, my response is this: If you’ve never walked across the Williamsburg Bridge with a flask of whiskey at 3am on a Tuesday and seen the gorgeous Manhattan skyline, you’re missing out. I also don’t feel I need to defend my vices or habits. My drinking, partying and dancing all night (then or now) — no matter what my age — does not affect you, so quit concerning yourself with it. My liver, my choice.

3. I am not sorry for my decision. I feel like I can’t say this enough. Although I didn’t read all of the comments on the right-wing, Christian, pro-life site as they were, for lack of a better word, “insane,” I did notice in the few I did read that I’m “not at peace,” nor will I ever be “complete or happy.” Wrong again. Although I suffer from depression — another essay I’ll write eventually for The Gloss so we can get some more hate comments going — I have suffered with it since I was kid. My ups and downs have nothing to do with my abortion, because as I said it rarely crosses my mind. And when I say rarely, it’s more like never — despite this weekend’s chaos.

4. Child-bearing is a necessary contribution (Really!?!) As one commenter mentioned, having not kept my baby and the possibility that I may never even have a baby will result in me not giving a “true contribution to society.” Are you sure about that? Although on a small scale, I think the original post on this subject matter alone was a contribution in itself.

5. And lastly, another theme with the pro-lifers is that I’m “selfish,” “self-absorbed,” and they “feel bad for me.” Don’t. It’s a waste of your time to do so; nor do I want you to pray for me (as some said you were going to), so you can take me off your list tonight, too. If being selfish means terminating a pregnancy because I wasn’t financially and emotionally ready, then yes, I am selfish. If being self-absorbed means wanting to wait to bring a child into the world under the right circumstances so that neither myself or my baby will ever have to struggle or depend on government assistance, then yes, I’m self-absorbed. If wanting to live my life for myself makes me a fucking heathen “witch” (as one commenter called me), then paint my skin green, give me a wart on my nose and an archenemy named Glinda the Good Witch. “I’ll get you, my pretty! And your little dog, too!”

As I stated in my original piece, my abortion was the best decision of my life. My second best decision of my life, or at least one of them, was writing a post about it for The Gloss. My post got people talking and thinking. It had readers reaching out to support me, condemn me and suggesting we force dogs to have human babies. People were angry, people might have even been chucking pillows at the wall, or throwing rocks at glass houses, but no matter which way you felt, you felt something. As a writer, that is what I want to do. I want you to think, scream into your computer screen and maybe even knock your stapler onto the floor out of fury or disgust.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m extremely candid in my essays for The Gloss and I believe in living my life that way. I don’t believe in sugarcoating; I believe in exposing a vein or two even if only one person benefits from it. And that, my friends, is where I close my case on the matter.

Share This Post:
  • Kirsty

    “It’s actually amazing the level of hate that comes from pro-life/anti-choice zealots; I’ve yet to meet to a pro-choice person who wishes death on a stranger because of their difference in opinion.”

    I always think this! I personally loved your original essay; it was honest and summed up the sentiments of many women, myself included. You only get one life and you sure as hell shouldn’t be living it for anyone else.

  • Ms. Pants

    Regarding #4–the selfish thing: The biggest carbon footprint anyone can make on this earth is made through procreation. If you look at it that way, those of us who don’t have kids are the ones saving the earth. WHO’S SELFISH NOW?!

    I guess I’ll never contribute anything to society. I had a life-saving hysterectomy last summer due to cancer. How selfish of me, to be pro-my-own-life.

  • G

    While I don’t agree with abortion, I also don’t agree with putting down anyone as a person for their views and resorting to ad hominem attacks. I think the biggest problem with dialogue today is people’s inability to actually listen to other people when they disagree with their views. The hateful responses you got to your post make me sad not only because of their content, but because they perpetuate an image I’d rather not be identified with. It’s a sad day when people can’t voice their views without being disrepsectful or lumped with those who are.

    • Audrey

      Your comment makes me so happy. Even though you disagree with the article, you know how to act like a decent, educated, respectful adult. Congratulations on being a good person! That seems quite rare these days.

  • francesca

    love it. more people need to write with the honesty you wrote.

  • K

    I kept up with the comments section (I’m not the same ‘K’ who was commenting though) and was sad to see the complete lack of empathy from some of the commenters. I’m not sure how that behavior is socially acceptable. Having empathy doesn’t mean being nice to just your neighbors and fellow church-goers (basically people who are just like you). I thought they knew that.
    I’m not sure what’s being said in Church nowadays but I’m glad my parents took it upon themselves to teach me ‘Christian’ – or maybe just ‘basic’ – values. Empathy, self-awareness and reflection were biggies at my house. Not homophobia, misogyny, conformity, etc.
    I just hope you know that ‘we’ are not all like that and I fully supported this article and the preceding one!

    • K

      Just to clarify in advance because I don’t think it was clear: I myself know the difference between true empathy and “just being nice”. Hope that was obvious.

  • sara

    I followed the comments as well, I just couldn’t look away. It upset me because I thought the screeching pro-lifers (not the respectful pro-lifers) were batshit crazy, not because anything they said had a personal impact on me. More like I’m scared that there are such damaged people floating around, with so much hate to spew.

    I was a commenter also, posting that I had a similar experience/shared view point as you.

    I actually completely understand how people would get incredibly upset and passionate about abortion; if they believe that a embryo or very early fetus is equal to a person. However, I personally don’t believe that. I do think that if someone wants their baby, they of course have the right to get emotionally attached at and early stage, and to fully grieve what would have been if they have a unfortunate loss. I would never dismiss somebody for that, though really they are mourning what WOULD have been, not what was.

    I don’t think I did anything wrong by having an abortion at age nineteen, (10 years ago) and it’s likely I won’t change my mind at this point. In fact, I really only get more pro-choice as I age.

    Anyway–I’m glad you were strong enough to endure the onslaught of hate, and it really IS important that you shared.

    • Brent

      Thou shalt not kill. It is such a simple concept. When you deny to others what you enjoy yourself it is so hypocritical. What’s worse is bragging about it like is a medal.

  • sjones

    nice article. i had an abortion in my twenties, nine months after my second child was born and nine years before my third child was born. it was the right decision then. thank goodness it was legal. you have a lot of guts and i applaud you for speaking about such a controversial topic. “haters gonna hate.” ~ mahatma ghandi (because, of course, everything you read on the interwebs is true.)

  • Kate

    Thanks for posting and for standing up to a very hateful, loud minority. We need more people to be as up front and candid as you have been to provide a little sanity to the pro-choice vs. anti-choice battle. I had an abortion too (while engaged to my now-husband, although the circumstances don’t really matter at all) and it was one of the best decisions of my life. I choose to spend my money and time helping out worthwhile projects in my community, including tutoring, assisting the local recycling center, and fighting destructive mining operations. If I had had a child when I wasn’t ready, I would have never been able to do these things that bring meaning to my life and good to my community. Don’t let a wacky group of shrill, smug, and (most likely) hypocritical people sway your thinking!

  • Fabel

    “…but because I was so fucking frustrated that this attitude existed at all”

    Yess

  • Katrina

    You are so amazing! I wish I knew you in real life. – I think I left that part out of my comment on your original post.
    One day I will be brave like you and share my story publicly too. Until then, I vote – regularly.

  • Lyndsay

    Your honesty is so refreshing. Thank you for reminding women that there is no shame in taking advantage of our options to choose the paths of our lives!

  • LCT

    I was totally bummed, because I had typed a whole response to your original post, but then it disappeared when I went to post it, and I had to get back to work and I was too lazy to type it back out again. :P

    It was really refreshing and informative to read your post. Although I don’t necessarily agree on your “fetal viewpoint,” as it were, it was really nice to hear an honest and thoughtful account of what a woman goes through. You did a great job, and we all appreciate it. Thanks for being open with your readers; I know it at least helped me to have a deeper understanding of the issue, and to be more sensitive when discussing it. It truly is so much more complicated than many extremists make it: it’s a deeply personal situation and choice, and people using the issue for political posing need to treat it with respect and grace.

    So good on you for being gutsy!

  • Love and Prayers

    I am sorry that you are receiving hate mail. I heard about your article just yesterday from a pro-life site. I have been praying for you, your child and your family. Today I read your articles. I am glad that you named your baby, for the child is eternal. The little one (who’s name comes from an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story) has not ceased to exist and is enjoying (eternal) life with your faithfully departed friends and relatives.

  • Kai

    wait, how did a lesbian looking woman like you ever end up with semen inside her?

    • Amanda Chatel

      Now we’re trying to make lesbian an insulting term? Obviously that’s what you’re trying to suggest, isn’t it? Besides a homophobe and pro-lifer, are you racist too?

    • Kai

      nope, 100% pro-choice here. I guess I was just surprised that a man could get it up for someone who is so obviously a dyke in denial.

    • Melanie

      So basically you’re one of those people who just hates women? Classy.

      But you’re obviously a homophobe. I think the last time I heard the word “dyke” was when my friends and I were dumb enough to drive through the south and when we rejected some rednecks in Georgia, we were called dykes.

      Educated people don’t use such a word… so what does that say about you?

    • Sam

      She got laid by behaving in the exact opposite manner of you; that is, she’s poised, intelligent, and uses capitalization. Additionally, what does a “lesbian looking woman” mean? OH GOD CURLY HAIR, SHE MUST BE GAY. As a half-gay lady myself, I can tell you that the goddamned millions of us all look differently from one another, so kindly stop being a moron.

  • Magda

    I am glad you shared you’re story, too. Haters gon’ hate, boo.

    • Magda

      *** your*** Your story, not You’re. I’m embarrassed.

  • Em

    I haven’t read the comments from your original post, and the first one I saw here kind of put me off trying. Frankly, I respect the fact that you DID read them: it must have sucked.

    So, since apparently so many people wrote insane/disgusting/horrifying things to you, I thought I’d join the group that’s congratulating you on writing something so frank and personal. And you’re totally right, if it helps someone who’s going through the same thing (and it will), you win.

    I don’t understand why “pro-life” advocates almost always confuse “pro-choice” with “pro-abortion,” nor do I understand why a movement dedicated to “precious babies” ["If it was anything like me, it would have been a pain in the ass." LOL] is so consistently violent and hateful. Finally, why act as though people who choose to have an abortion somehow get off on it? Like, “Oh my gosh, this is going to be the most fun ever! I’m so happy!!!” As you said, “Yes, I wish I was never put in the position to have to choose between an abortion or motherhood but I was….” And I bet everyone else who’s been in that position felt the exact same way.

    Anyway, have fun in Paris, and (if you’re not already doing so) you should live off bread, cheese, and wine. So what if it’s a cliche? The bread is beyond fantastic: nowhere else will you find bakeries stacked three a block, almost all making bread that is amaaaaazing. And the cheese and wine? Well, they’re super affordable, super delicious, and super good with the awesome bread. Personally, I’d take a moment (just as you’re eating the aforementioned awesomeness) to feel smug, because living in this Stephen guy’s head (for example) must be pretty fucking scary stuff. And while he thinks about hellfire, you can think about drinking a nice bottle of wine on the Pont des Arts. After all, didn’t someone say that living well is the best revenge?

    • Amanda Chatel

      I think I might love you, Em. Thank you.
      (I won’t even tell you how many croissants I’ve had today…)

  • Warren

    I regret that people like Kai make such terrible comments, but is it possible to make a respectful but tough comment here and not get cursed out by the author and those who support her? We’ll see….

    All the rage here coming from women who have had abortions is simply a cover-up. Deep down inside, you know you have taken a life, but you refuse to admit it, so you make up all these ridiculous rationalizations and curse out anyone who disagrees with you so you can make yourself look smarter than them. All this just to suppress the truth. But the fact that you’ve killed a person remains and always will. No matter what you say, and who you intimidate, you can never get away from that inconvenient fact. And for your own good, I hope it haunts you until you own up to it. Then your healing can begin.

    • Lindsey

      Oh! I think you are mistaken. An early fetus isn’t a person. How embarrassing for you to have been mistaken in this!

    • Whatever

      How on earth could you possible know what total strangers are feeling “deep down inside”? You can only know what you, yourself, feel “deep down inside” and maybe you can take a guess at people you are closest to, but you have no idea.

      IMHO, the root of all that’s wrong with the world is the assumption that what’s true for one person must be true for everyone i.e. “My religion/political affiliation/diet works well for me, so therefore every person on earth should belong to this religion/political affiliation/diet.”

    • Jenna

      Warren, there are a lot of things I want to say to you, but won’t as you’re obviously too simple-minded to understand.

      As a man, what do you even know about abortions? Have you ever been put in this predicament? Have you known anyone who has? As a man, a term I’m using loosely for you because every “man” I know has the balls to let women think for themselves, you have absolutely no say in the matter. Why you’re even on this site spewing your bile is confusing.

      Please stop trying to give women advice. There are no words for just how pathetic, desperate and sad you appear. And god help any woman who has to know you.

      Also please stop thinking your comments are innocent in comparison to others. All you dispense is hate and ignorance, and any educated person can see that.

    • Warren

      @Whatever – why are you bringing politics and religion into this?

      @Lindsey – I think you embarrassed yourself. That happens to be the key issue in the abortion debate. You can call a human form with a beating heart a fetus or piece of tissue or whatever other rationalization you want the will help you sleep at night, but its a human being.

    • Warren

      @Jenna, I knew it wouldn’t be long before someone would start with the nasty responses. Just another rationalization. I wish I had let my wife write instead of me. Then you wouldn’t be able to use the tired old “you’re not a women” argument. Millions of women agree with me. What do you say to them? Never mind, based on your last response, I don’t want to know.

    • Jenna

      @Warren

      You’ve embarrassed yourself by even having an opinion on this issue and claiming it’s not steeped in your overly zealous religion. You’ve also embarrassed yourself by lacking knowledge in biology, as well as not knowing “its” from “it’s.”

    • Warren

      You’ll even use a minor spelling mistake to make yourself look better than me!!! This is exactly what I was talking about earlier.

    • Jenna

      I am better than you, Warren, for this reason alone: I stand behind a woman’s right to choose. You do not.

    • Jay

      Murder is illegal and it is when you deliberately take the life of a SENTIENT [human] being.

      Abortion is legal and it does NOT involve a SENTIENT being.

      I’m sure a lot of people can’t wrap their brains around that, but there’s a big difference.

    • Dont be fake

      I’m pretty sure that judgement is noted as a sin in the bible, so for all the crazies spewing hatred and “Amanda will burn in hell for murder” crap, it kind of sounds like you’ll be burning with her.

      Come on, people, worry about the planks in your own eyes….stop throwing stones when you live in a glass house…all of that.

    • Warren

      That’s just rhetoric (did I spell that correctly). When the truth is not on your side, all you can do is attack and cut people down, looking for anything you can to make them look dumb.

    • NotThumper

      @ Warren

      You have a wife?!

      Ok, now that the shock has worn off I can make my point. Let me see if I can simplify this for you.
      Being male or female is irrelevant. NO ONE gets to decide what happens in/to my body but ME.
      Nothing else really matters but that. MY body, MY choice and YOU don’t have to like it.

    • Warren

      @NotThumper. You are making it easy for me to prove my point. All you can do is insult and attack. Why? Because you’ve got nothing. I see you are all about ME, ME, ME. You conveniently left out the rights of the one you are killing. But that’s the theme of this entire article and all the pro-choice comments: convenience. Inconvenient to have a child? Just kill the baby. And then cover it up with rationalizations and humiliating anyone who disagrees.

    • Jay

      I think you need to look up “rhetoric” in the dictionary. You may have meant “semantics,” but even that doesn’t fly. Sentient is vastly different than non-sentient.

    • Warren

      @jay- sorry, my comment was not directed at you. It was @Jenna. But do you have to be so mean?

    • Jay

      With all due respect, if you think I’m being mean when I’m simply engaging in a debate that you have started, you must have thin skin. I have spewed no more vitriol than you.

    • Crystal

      So the biggest problem that we have here is our disagreement regarding what makes a person. (Is it the moment sperm and egg fuse? The first division of cells? The first beat of the heart? The ability to survive outside the womb? Being conscious of self?) However, this is a disagreement that persists among people throughout the world. It is not likely to be resolved here. It is not likely to be resolved in the near future. Philosophers and theologians cannot even agree on what qualities make a person! This prevents anyone (scientists, physicians, development psychologists) from determining at what point anything possesses these qualities. Inasmuch as there is no global consensus on what constitutes a person and murder is the unlawful killing of a person, I find it hard to support your claim that abortion is murder.

    • NotThumper

      @ Warren

      Where exactly did I attack/insult you? By being surprised that you are actually married. Pardon my shock that a woman actually married a man who would not allow her a choice if the situation presented itself.

      Yeah, I’m all about ME ME ME…sure, if that were true I wouldn’t have a child. You want to protect rights for something that doesn’t exist in the world yet, what about the woman who already does?

      You say people who are pro-choice have “nothing” and yet when we ask “lifers” intelligent, logical questions what response do we get?

      Crickets.

    • Warren

      @Jay: not really thinned skinned or I wouldn’t have lasted this long here, and you are right, what you said doesn’t compare to the venom on this thread. My apologies. I guess I’m getting a little tired of the bombardment from others. Outa here.

    • Annie

      How is this “respectful”?

    • J Larson

      A fetus is not a person. It does not breathe or digest, nor is it conscious or aware. A person is viable — meaning they don’t have to rely on the consent of another person to use their body to stay alive, and they have these other things.

      Human? Yes, a fetus is human. It’s still not a person. The livelihood of the actual PERSON takes precedence over the POTENTIAL person. Deal with it.

      I have no questions of this deep down. So don’t talk down to women about the guilt you WANT them to hold because of your notions of what a fetus is, based more on superstition than fact.

      (In before “you’re attacking meeee” — disagreeing with you, and having logic and reason to back it up, is not a personal attack. Also? Free speech goes both ways.)

  • Noisette

    Hi Amanda – I admire that you write fearlessly and candidly, and you definitely shouldn’t let crazies shout you down or try to silence your story. But if you’re getting death threats, that is seriously troubling and I think you should consider a pen name in the future, maybe not for your regular dating columns but for any topic that might lure crazies to the comments. I don’t think using a pen name necessarily means that someone is ashamed of what they’re writing about. Sophie Kinsella writes fluffy, chick lit under an assumed name.

    • Amanda Chatel

      Very true… but as far as controversy goes, this is the extent of it in my life. For now anyway…

      I like to think that by next week, these crazies will move on to someone else and forget about me. If Rush Limbaugh has taught us anything, there’s always another liberal, educated woman in line to hate on… so fuck ‘em.

      Thanks, Noisette!

  • Kristin

    I commented on the last article and I will comment again here, sometimes I really appreciate that honesty and candor. It is so very rare in our society today, especially as we are pelted by these atrocious political ads and all of that complete bullshit nonsense.

    Thanks for being honest!

  • Tania

    Being from Canada, where there are no legal restrictions on abortion (like, none. Nine months pregnant? Legal! I don’t really think late term abortions happen that often, because why would you wait until nine months when it’s just as available at one?) and I am so freakin’ saddened by all the ridiculous attacks on a woman’s right to choose.

    It’s actually an interesting comparison of the rulings behind the abortion laws in USA and Canada. http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/different.shtml

    Basically, because a woman’s rights are enshrined in Canada’s constitution, the ruling was any laws against abortion directly infringe on our right to equality. And fetuses have been denied any rights in a few cases where an injury to the mother harmed the fetus.

    So it actually kind of blows my mind how people are even arguing about this like it isn’t a direct assault on women’s rights.

    • Tania

      Just realised my first sentence doesn’t really make grammatical sense. Oops.

      Also, I should mention I think you’re really brave posting that, knowing that people would get all insane and judgey up in your face.

      If it helps, I don’t even see how there’s an issue, so absolutely no judgement from me. Rock on with your responsible decision not to bring a child you were not ready for or even wanted into the world. *fist bump*

    • Ashley

      aaaah exactly. it is nothing but a direct assault on women’s rights. and now i want to move to canada.

    • Maggie

      YES, move to Canada! Here our government doesn’t try and tell women what they can or can’t do with their bodies. We also have universal healthcare, so costs for birth control are minimal (I pay $3.50 CAD for mine every 3 months, which is roughly $3.57 USD. Yes, three dollars and fifty cents every three months). In Canada, even the right-wing politicians respect women’s opinions and rights to live their lives as they see fit, so I share Tania’s feeling of “wtf America?”

      Also, Amanda, I’ve said it before and I will say it again: you are wonderful. Please keep writing the way you do.

    • LeeLee

      LOL. welcome to America! did you know that we’re still debating the legality of same sex marriage? this country is so fucking backwards.

      to amanda–i applaud you for sharing your story!

  • Shirley

    You’re heroic for taking a stand. Don’t listen to the anti-choice zealots.

  • Kat

    hey amanda, just noticed you had a new post. i love it. some of those anti choice comments made me really angry.
    I just had to show my support and say i havent found jens work email.

  • Sara Marie

    Amanda,
    I applaud your decision, not because I am pro-choice or pro-life, but because you made one of the toughest decisions you may ever have to make, you know it was right in your heart and your mind, and you aren’t apologizing for it. You are an admiration to many and I am indeed jealous of your vigor, your self-awareness and your strength. Please keep the genuine writing and perspective pieces coming! They are a breath of fresh air in today tip-toe society.
    Warmly,
    Sara Marie

  • denny

    I thanked you on your original post, and I’m still grateful to you for putting a name, face, and emotions to abortion. However, I must confess — I am a former pro-lifer. My parents are pro-life. They’re quiet about it; they live in a liberal community and don’t want to offend anyone. However, it’s what they believe — my mother herself would never have an abortion (and she has enough children for that to be believable) and they silently judge women who’ve have one. And the reason I was pro-life in high school isn’t necessarily because my parents were (trust me, I had no problem disagreeing with my parents then or now). It was because I truly believed that life started with conception. I don’t now, though I can understand why some people might think that and why they might think abortion is murder — because if you TRULY believe that a zygote/embryo/fetus is a person, then of course you’re going to think that and get upset over it. Other changes from when I was a teen that changed my opinion on abortion, aside from no longer believing unborns are people: I’m now aware of all the political, health, and social implications of banning abortions; I am sexually active; and I graduated from a women’s college.

    My point is that being pro-life doesn’t automatically make someone evil. My parents are good people and I was a good kid; I was (and they still are) respectful to pro-choicers. I was misguided. I do not think my parents are necessarily misguided; they have their facts straight, but they have their stance because it works for them. They’re completely different from the people who left whacky comments on your last post. Being pro-life is no excuse to be cruel, but not everyone who opposes abortion is as illogical, thoughtless, and just plain jackassy as some of these commenters.

  • T-Lex

    I have always been a fan of this site and a fan of your writing. I could not bring my self to read the comments on your last post, much less comment myself. However, I just wanted to lend a little support and say that I am glad for your post and feel lucky to read what you write.

    To all of the people who write hurtful, insane, and awful comments. I respect your beliefs but understand that life continues on after birth. I cannot understand how you would only care about Amanda if she were a bundle of tissues inside her mother, but now that she is an adult you cast her off, try and hurt her, and worse wish death upon her. There will always be a divide on this issue but nothing constructive ever comes from being hateful.

  • porkchop

    I’ve felt a lot of ambivalence about abortion. Your story meant a lot to me, because it was so honest. And, good job weathering all the personal attacks.

  • Manda

    You are an amazing individual. I myself have never had an abortion but have supported some who have. It is your choice and if you feel it was the best decision for you then it WAS the best decision for you.

    Stay strong through all this hate, you will over come it.

    On a side note I love reading everything you write. So keep at it

  • Jenny S

    I think you are brave. Thank you for writing these articles.

  • Samantha

    Hello,
    I completely support both your decisions, the abortion and the blog post. I am in my twenties and I have never been in this situation and I hope to never be, but I want this option available. I work in SE Asia and I see too many unwanted children that lead incredibly f*cked up lives and if these pro-lifers gave one thought to the unwanted children that are already born instead of inside a woman’s stomach, the world will be a better place. I am not a doctor, nor am I a philosopher , a saint or a psychic. I don’t know when a bundle of cells turns into a person, but I have no interest in wrecking my life for a zygote. If these pro-lifers want to make a realistic difference, they should make it easier for women to have children without destroying there lives (free childcare, forcing the dad to take responsibility, insurance) because if they get their way, we will have more generations of welfare families which isn’t fair for anyone.
    Thank you for your post, and I hope you got what you wanted from it.
    Pet the dog for me!

    • Arnie

      THIS.

      I always find it so strange that the people who want so many unwanted children in the world, are also the ones who are so vehemently against giving any support to the women they want to force into carrying them.

      America baffles me at times.

  • NatiAlabel (@NatiAlabel)

    I live in Argentina (sorry fot the bad english). Yesterday the Supreme Court (Suprema Corte) determinated that it’s legal lo have an abortion if the mother was raped. I mean: you can’t have an abortion, unless you were raped (or if you are mentally insane) You can’t even imagine how many furious people reacted to this. Haters are going on and on, claiming to be pro life, and saying that a poor raped woman should keep the baby no matter what she wants. It’s so sad…

  • Maggie

    Interesting how the nastiest comments seem to be coming from men. What exactly makes them think they are qualified to pass judgement on a woman when they couldn’t possibly understand what being in that situation is like, regardless if they have a woman in their lives? I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate some zealot spewing hatred at the women they love, so instead of picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to throw in people’s faces, how about living by the “golden rule” (which, as I understand, is in the Bible): “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And stop being such assholes.

    Go Amanda!

  • meg

    i think you are amazing. love the candor, love reading your essays. keep it up!

  • Kiri

    I’m sorry to hear about the hecklers, but don’t stop writing what you write (they’re only a teeny tiny portion of your readers)
    Awesome pic btw!
    :D

  • lynns

    I’m happy you wrote this follow up. It’s a reminder how crazy and extreme people can be about things that do not involve them.
    I love your 1-5 breakdown and I agree with everything you said.
    You are brave.

  • Janice

    Let me start off by saying I’m not one of those wacko religious right-wing evangelicals. I would never wish death on you, or advocate the bombing of abortion clinics. I am a moderate and reasonable person. I am also Catholic, and I was adopted. My stance on abortion is complicated. Though I understand the issues that arise if society bans abortions, I am personally pro-life.

    What bothers me about your post isn’t the fact that you had an abortion, but that you are so glib about it. The photo of yourself beaming from ear-to-ear as if you are ecstatic about having had an abortion is insensitive. I’m not asking you to be wracked with guilt every single day of your life, but your celebratory tone is inappropriate in light of the end result of that procedure. So you didn’t expect to become pregnant, and you weren’t ready to become a mother. If you feel that was the best choice for you, I can understand that. But your post makes it sound like you’re jumping for joy and dancing on tabletops because you chose to end a life that you helped create, simply because you didn’t want to be burdened by a child. It makes it sound like you had an abortion out of selfishness, not as a last resort. Did you consider adoption? Your family, which sounds like they were extremely supportive of you, knew you were pregnant, so it wasn’t like you were having an abortion so no one would find out. If you had carried that child to term and given it up for adoption seven years ago, you would still be able to have your independent life today. I’m sure all of the people who sent you hate mail have made the adoption argument against abortion. I guess carrying a child for 9 months might be too much to ask of some people, but there are many children in the adoption system who are there because they were unplanned. They were given a chance to live, and to live with people who wanted them but who were unable to have children of their own. Your post took humor in dealing with a touchy subject to an unsavory extreme. It breaks my heart to see what seems like a celebration of ending the life of an unborn child.

    • Amanda Chatel

      It’s a celebration of MY life… and the fact that I’m allowed to choose how to live my life despite the fact that many others would like to take that human right away.

      I’m not celebrating the decision I had to make, nor was I glib. It’s a fact of life, it’s over, it’s done with and I wanted to show other women that they don’t need to spend the rest of their lives beating themselves up over it.

      Perhaps, you missed not only the point but the intended tone of this essay.

    • asdf

      @Janice: Good on you! Totally agree with your comments 100%

      @Amanda: It’s great that you had the chance to celebrate “YOUR life” (as you put it) and write about your experiences for ‘The Gloss’ magazine. It’s too bad that the unborn fetus didn’t get the same chance to exercise his or her freedom of expression (for whatever they might have wanted to say).

      But then, I guess you’ll probably tell me that life isn’t fair, right? You’re right, it’s definitely not.

    • Ali

      I’m kind of amazed that you are so bothered by that image of Amanda. What is she supposed to do, post a picture of her sad and depressed? I think you’re reading too much into a simple picture of the author of this article. The only thing I took away from the image is that she is a happy woman that leads her own life the way she sees fit, just as many of us do.

      I feel like you didn’t even truly READ this article, but merely skimmed over it. If you truly read this and understood it, you would realize that there was nothing selfish about her decision. And I am so, so sick about this argument, but the amount of children in the adoption system- it is FLOODED with little girls and boys who are still waiting for a home.

    • EE

      I’m just amazed that a commenter here actually thinks an unborn fetus has freedom of expression. Wow.

    • J Larson

      Aaaand there you go trying to guilt somebody. You say you’re not one of those people but you’re sitting there, judging her decision. First of all, adoption is an alternative to parenthood, NOT pregnancy, and you don’t seem to be aware of the cost and health concerns inherent in 9 months of pregnancy. YES, it is too much for some people, but that’s not even the point. She’s allowed to smile — she got to make a choice about whether or not she was going to CONSENT to have something incubate in her body for nine months. Imagine a person being happy to have agency in their own existence.

    • Sam

      I think you missed the point. She wasn’t CELEBRATING the abortion; she’s beaming ear-to-ear about her life. About having no regrets for a decision. It seems like you want people–even if they do not change their opinions to be like yours–to at least feel shame. And shame, regret, and despair are not emotions a person should hold onto for years and years.

  • Amy

    I find it extremely sad that all these “pro-life” people can’t find room in their hearts and homes to adopt all the homeless children already living in this world – especially in the United States. If they don’t want to adopt an unwanted child already living in this world, how can they condemn a woman for not wanting to have another one?

  • Karly

    I think you look happy. That’s all that matters. :)

  • Patricia

    I loved this. I think it takes a considerable amount of courage and maturity to write as well as you did not only about having an abortion, but also about not regretting it.

    But mostly it was beautifully done because it was done with humor. And you’re allowed to look back and laugh about it. I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoyed reading this.

  • Kj

    Meh, people who are writing death threats are the ones with no lives.

    They probably popped out a bunch of kids early on in life and think that you should have to join the misery. Seriously. (And I *love* kids, don’t get me wrong.) I think that if you have someone ignorant whose biggest accomplishment is having and raising kids, they don’t seem to get why someone would turn down that opportunity.

    I live in Redneckville, so it’s something I see a lot. *They* damn well carried to term and possibly had a shotgun wedding or became a single mom and gave up their career prospects, so you should too! Obviously I am massively generalizing, but my pop psychology hypothesis is that a lot of psycho pro-lifers have (not necessarily happy) lives that revolve around kids and think that everyone should too.

    Anyways, the haterzzz are the very reason that these things need to be said. So, “les props” to Amanda. (I’m sure “les props” is someone you will hear lots in Paris, :P)

  • Annie

    A million times–thank you!

    I never realized the pure hatred that lies beneath some people until I became candid about my own abortion. Until I took that first step and hashtagged #Ihadanabortion on Twitter, I was only vaguely aware of how utterly disgusting some people can be.

    Now I have a stalker (he comes and goes, but mostly likes to write poetry about me and condemn me to hell). And that was before I told my story! Now the hate is worse, times a thousand.

    My boyfriend, my sister, my mom, they all question why I keep writing about it and speaking about it. They worry that the nut-jobs will get me, and sometimes they get TO me and I cry because these people are just so damn blind to reality and it frustrates me to the point that I can’t handle people for another moment. But I do it because of this:
    1 in 3 women will have an abortion. If I am in a room with 5 other women, and someone starts spouting off the stupid shit, me standing up and saying, “I had an abortion and have no regrets!” might be what keeps the (statistically possible) other woman from feeling that shame and stigma.

    So, I thank you a million times for sharing your story, and this follow up. I know it’s hard to deal with the hate. I know sometimes you want to toss your computer out a window because these people are shameless. But it’s for people like yourself that you do this for. Take the bad with a grain of salt and enjoy each good message. For every bad message, there is like three good ones, so hopefully you can focus on them instead.

    Again, thank you.

  • J Larson

    Stay the course, honey! You’re beautiful and you obviously made the right decision for you.

  • L

    One thing to remember – pro-lifers are not generally pro-LIFE. They are pro-FETUS. As soon as the fetus enters the world, they go back to not giving a shit. Not wanting to provide social safety nets to people who have children they cannot adequately support. Not wanting to provide support to people who have children with demanding special needs. Not wanting to really do anything to help people once they actually HAVE children. Nope, a lot of them are purely pro-fetus. And pro death penalty, funny enough.

    • Miss C

      “And pro death penalty, funny enough.”

      That is totally the bit I as an Englishwoman can NEVER get my head around, with American “pro-lifers” – also, their devotion to wars, supporting industry even where it costs human lives, and to top it off, I hear a lot of them like the idea of the right to bear arms… total logic-fail across the board.

      If someone were a vegan anti-war anti-death penalty pacifist, who did what they could to minimise ALL death of any kind of being on earth, that I would at least respect as having internal integrity, y’know?

  • Kat

    well amanda if any of the anti-people are right and you’re gonna burn in hell..there’ll be a lot of us pro-choicers standing there right with you. no way are you going down alone. ;) power in numbers right? :)

  • Sam

    As I have said many times, you are amazing and I love your pieces. Not only do I respect your ability to write, but I respect your ethics enormously, probably more than a comment (though I say it in emails, too) can say.

    I think the irony of somebody calling you selfish is that, while I read your article, all I could think was, “How selfless to write this non-anonymously. How selfless to write this at all.” Because getting hundreds of angry comments, getting bombarded by fucked up emails, getting an article written about your personal decision to tell your personal story, and having people send actual threats = not exactly a benefit of posting the damn story. Your decision was your decision, and if people want to criticize that, they’re unfortunately going to, but when commenters have said that you seem “glib” or “boastful” or wtfever about it, it tells me:
    1) They didn’t read the article. There’s a whole lot in there that discusses the sort of mental anguish that occurred.
    2) They don’t understand that being “confident in one’s decision rather than hanging one’s head in shame” is not the same as doing a Bring It On routine in your living room and chanting “A-B-O-R-T-I-O-N!”
    You’re an intelligent woman, I’m positive you knew that some people would react as such, but I think the fact that you knew this and still told your story was fucking selfless.

    xo,
    Sam

  • Susan Robitaille

    I see a woman who’s conscious is seared. (and a whole group of people cheering her on.)
    The simple undeniable fact is: you stopped the beating heart of another human being.
    The fact that you’ve moved on from it does not surprise me. There are a lots of people like you walking around.
    I’m not sad for you. I’m just sad by this.

  • Nelly

    I am so proud of you for being so brave as to post your own story regarding abortion. Thank you for being a great role model to women everywhere. Abortion is a normal procedure that many women have (http://www.guttmacher.org/media/video/index.html) but is one that is stigmatized by our culture as supporting killing innocent children; in reality, it is a basic medical right for women capable of making their own decisions regarding when they want to have children. Thanks for reminding people of the basic need of abortions. Excellent read.

  • Leia Peison

    tell your story at http://www.imnotsorry.net