Brandon Stanton, the photojournalist behind the ongoing project “Humans of New York” recently released a heartbreaking story about a woman’s abortion and the traumatic aftermath.
“I didn’t want to be a mother. I was eighteen. We weren’t in love. I had goals I wanted to accomplish. So I made the hardest decision of my life. It’s not legal here. So I researched it on the Internet. I did it myself. In my room. If things had gone wrong, I could have died. Seeing it come out of me was the worst moment of my life. And I couldn’t tell anyone. Not even my parents. So I carried the secret with me. I felt like this thing was always in my chest, but it was stuck there. All day I’d act normal. Then at night I’d go to my room and cry.” (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
This story has since gone viral, being shared by pro-choice activists to argue the need for legal abortions around the world. The trauma experienced by this woman was not, however, simply due to the nature of her abortion, but instead, the nature of abortion as a whole.
The abortion pill, a legal form of abortion today, lets women end their pregnancies at home. So how is this different than this woman’s abortion? It wasn’t the legality of her abortion that made it so traumatic, but rather the abortion itself.
Society tells women that abortion is “no big deal,” saying things like, “It’s basically the same as getting your wisdom teeth taken out.” If it is the same as any other outpatient surgery, then why is there an 81% increased risk of mental trauma after abortion? (The British Journal of Psychiatry) Rather than acknowledging the fact that ending the life of your child is devastating, this nonchalant attitude leaves women isolated in their grief, afraid to share the effects of their abortion.
Our hope is not that women are “forced” to have illegal abortions. Our hope is that women begin to believe that abortion is not the answer, regardless of legality. Our desire, as the pro-life movement, is that women and men begin to value life to the point that abortion is unimaginable and that communities would do anything in their power to remind a woman that she and her child are not alone.