On that abortion video

So, I watched the video of the girl who filmed her abortion experience a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to say some stuff, because I feel like she missed an incredible opportunity to explore the issue of abortion in-depth.

I’ll start off by saying that I am entirely and immovably pro-choice, because that sort of info is kind of necessary when you want to talk about the things. So there’s that, for your knowledgebank. I’d also like to point out that these are my personal observations; I’m not trying to start a wordwar with vehement pro-lifers, or pro-choicers (or anyone else) for that matter.

My first reaction to hearing about this video was “dear god, I can’t believe so many people have watched this!” because I’m pretty squeamish, and had no idea how much of the footage was going to be focused on the surgical procedure. I also couldn’t believe someone had done it. Had taken the time to decide to film, filmed, and edited this video. I mean, I could, because in this day and age everything is captured and posted online, but still. You’re really doing that? Okay.

For those who haven’t seen it, and who are interested in viewing it before you read my thoughts, here is the link to the video. The video is – despite what I had imagined – entirely SFW, and there is no graphic or offensive footage included. Mostly you just watch her face as she hums a lot.

So, mostly, I cringed through this.

But the reason I cringed wasn’t because it’s of a woman having an abortion in front of my eyes. It was because the video is so shallow that it’s basically pointless. I understand that Emily wanted to share the story of a woman who has made the decision to have an abortion, and show other women that it isn’t a hugely scary or particularly painful experience. I am all onboard with that and I get it. But Emily could have taken this premise, and explored so much more of her experience, shared more emotion, given us insight into what she calls a “positive abortion story” (a term I don’t necessarily think was a great choice, but she’s rolling with it so let’s give it a whirl.)

This experience could have, and I think it should have, been used as a springboard to look deeper at the massive decision she made. As she explains, she’s not in a position to offer a baby the love and care and kind of life it should have. And they are great reasons to make the appointment. Some would argue that’s a “selfish” reason, but I would disagree. How is it selfish to acknowledge that your baby wouldn’t be raised in the home it deserves? How is it selfish to admit that you would not be fit to be a mother in your current circumstances? I would argue that making the choice to have an abortion is in fact brave, especially considering society’s view on it is mostly negative.

It’s very easy to stay pregnant once you’re expecting. While I assume it’s joyous for most women to find out they’re carrying a human inside them, I would wager there are a handful who don’t care either way, and who go along with it because “it’s done now”. And I think they are the selfish ones. I do, however, also think that a woman changes once she’s given birth. It’s one thing to grow a person, but it’s an entirely different thing to have it in your hands. I wouldn’t know what that’s like – I’m not a mother and have never been pregnant – but this observation comes from having a friend who would have aborted her son if she wasn’t married.

The very idea, now, of her having an abortion would make her sick to her stomach – the child is her and her husband’s entire world and reason for breathing. But when we were younger she vowed she would never have children, because that wasn’t the sort of thing she wanted in her life. As it turns out, she took to motherhood like it was her life’s calling, and she loves every second of the time she gets to spend with her little boy. I guess this is the point that pro-life activists fight so hard to convey.

Getting back to the video, and the point I wanted to make about it: There is room for so much further delving into the not-so-negatives of abortion, and it makes me a bit frustrated that such a widely talked-about video is so incredibly shallow in its discussion. For all the hits it got, I’d have thought the video would be some sort of inspiring, bring some sort of poignant message to the forefront of the minds of viewers, give pro-choicers a reason to share the link. All it made me want to do was shrug my shoulders and say Oh, okay.

And it should have done more.

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