So yesterday was a holiday up here in Canada – Victoria Day. So I had the day off from work and as a result I had some time to watch daytime television, primarily “The View“. Most of the time I watch this show because of the controversy that is created as a result of the different political opinions from each co-host. And yesterday’s show was no exception…
The topic found its way to Abortion. Quite frankly I cannot even remember how it happened only that it was during the first segment in a week full of Hot-Topics (my fave episodes for sure!). As a note, the second segment talked about the pregnant 66 year old women, and most of the opinions were the same as they were in the first, which I will now elaborate on further.
What you are likely aware of if you have ever seen about 5 minutes of The View is that Elizabeth in staunchly Republican and extremely Conservative in her line of thinking and political decision making. As a result, she is, as she would likely claim, obviously “pro-life”. She believes that women have abortions out of convenience and that it is always an easy decision for them. When other members of the panel argued that maybe it wasn’t such an easy decision she used it as a reason to deny all women access to legal abortion. She seems to be the type that believes it is only slutty, non-monogamous, career-hungry women who do not use birth control that ever receive an abortion.
Then we have Joy and Whoopi, who most viewers would likely guess are pro-choice, and I think we can guarantee this after yesterday’s episode. Whoopi was primarily concerned with keeping choice for women who are poor or unable to afford to raise a child. Joy went a step further by arguing that she in fact is pro-life and that those that call themselves pro-life should actually refer to their cause as Anti-Choice since that is what it is really all about. Pro-choice people do not advocate anti-life, in fact very often abortion activists are really concerned with all aspects of reproductive health including full-term pregnancies.
To me, none of this was particularily surprising. I have come to know the panel as; 2 democrats, 1 republican, 1 person who is usually confused, and 1 person who tries to remain neutral but is obviously liberal minded. What surprised me was the news that Sherri had herself had an abortion at age 17. She claims that she went to Planned Parenthood upon discovering her newly pregnant state, where she says she was slightly pressured into making a decision to abort that she was having second thoughts about.
While I cannot comment on the specific nature of Sherri’s experience, and in fact she should be allowed to define her own “herstory” however she chooses. I would suggest that most Planned Parenthood workers are excellent people who provide information and allow clients to make uninfluenced decisions. Either way, Sherri mentioned that she has dealt with a great deal of guilt as a result. However, Sherri clarifies that despite some second-thoughts and guilt she is pro-choice as she does not want to go back to when abortion was illegal, back to a time of coat-hangers and back-alleys.
Half of Elizabeth’s response to Sherri’s story should be further explored… She asked if it was possible if the guilt resulted from the stigma or judgment surrounding the procedure? (I think a likely possibility!) OR if it really was about women regretting their decision? So what do you think?
For further reading on this topic I highly recommend Jennifer Baumgardner’s – Abortion and Life. As well as checking out my previous post on Pregnancy Care Centres.
*** Cross-Posted on the Feministing Community ***