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.