Abortion and Pea Soup

By Carolyn Gargaro
Rightgrrl Co-Founder
February 18, 1999

An abortion is no more traumatizing to a woman than getting grossed out by soup.

Really. At least, according to Kari, in her critique of the Rightgrrl web site.
Note: Kari's article is no longer available. I have e-mailed Kari to see if there is an alternate URL for it, since I believe it's only fair for people to read her side, and see the article which prompted this response. Kari does not respond to my e-mail. Some of the comments here (like the very last sentence) were directed at comments she had made in her original article. Without her article, a few comments (such as the Barbie or hair reference) here may seem out of place.

Kari states that, "Rightgrrl assumes that women are not intelligent or mature enough to make decisions in regards to their own emotional and physical health." She then goes on to sarcastically describe how she was "traumatized" once when she accidentally ate pea soup that had bacon in it. Being a vegetarian, she became "grossed out" and thus, suffered "post-bacon syndrome." This analogy is supposed to show that "Just because someone makes a wrong or poorly informed choice and suffers the consequences does not mean that that activity should be criminalized. Individualist feminism is all about individual rights and personal choice."

Unfortunately, Kari missed the inconvenient little point that many pro-choice women have admitted; namely, that an abortion is an emotionally difficult experience, and some have even regretted the decision. However, to hear Kari tell it, regretting an abortion is in the same category as getting grossed out by bacon in your pea soup. Women who have an abortion and later regret the decision or have some type of emotional problem or response are painted as whiney little extremists who would react the same way if they found a fly in their drink - or bacon in their pea soup.

The above statements though, come from the same woman who says, "I think Barbie is a great role model for young girls, because she is always happy and she can do anything she wants" so perhaps that explains her rationale.

Oh - and the pea soup analogy is supposed to be humorous. Ha ha. Women suffered after an abortion, just like Kari suffered after eating bacon in her soup. Pardon me if I fail to see the humor in that. I guess I'm just an uptight, anti-individualist conservative who fails to see what must be such obvious humor.

According to Kari, anyone who is pro-life has to be anti-individualist. I guess she must have missed Stephanie's explanation of why being pro-life is in line with individualism in "Abortion and the Ignored Individual". Yes - we are definitely anti-individualist and require every featured Rightgrrl to fit a specific mold - that's we had a Republican, and Independent, and a Democrat as featured Rightgrrls the very month that Kari critiqued the web site.

But back to the pea (bacon) soup....

Being emotionally burdened from an abortion is not restricted to women who are pro-life, as there are plenty of women out there who are very pro-choice but will admit to having some emotional difficulty from the abortion. Is Kari making fun of these pro-choice women also? Or is it only "anti-choice" women who are being made fun of? Does she find the concept of abortion amusing? Or are all the women who have had to deal with some emotional issues because of their decision to abort trivial?

In addition, I would still object to abortion even if there was no such thing as post-abortion syndrome. The existence of this tragic syndrome, one that is often cast aside as "trivial" by many pro-choice people (like Kari), strengthens my pro-life stance, but my primary reason for objecting to abortion is because it denies an individual the basic right to life. I, and my Rightgrrl partner Stephanie, both see abortion as the ultimate denial of individual rights. Individual rights extend only so far as the individual in question, and abortion completely ignores the individuality of an unborn child. Being pro-life isn't about controlling women, or judging their maturity or physical health - it's about recognizing the individuality of a very small human being that so many people would prefer to ignore. The only justification for criminalizing abortion is that it's the taking of a life. We at Rightgrrl are not encouraging the government to legislate against our freedoms simply because we may regret our choices. Instead, we're saying it should never be a "choice" to kill, but that when women do so and later regret it, we're not going to turn our backs, on a personal level, on their pain.

Touting the claim that she is an individualist, it seems peculiar that Kari wants to lump all women who have regretted the abortion decision into a category of over-emotional women. But that's ok - according to her, if you don't hate the Promise Keepers, you can't be an individualist. You can't support individual freedom and be pro-life, and you certainly can't argue against the legalization of heroin.

So wait - according to her definition, does that mean that all individualists have to hate the Promise Keepers, support legalized abortion, and want heroin legalized? Hmm... having to fit that type of mold doesn't sound too individualist to me. Kari also failed to notice that the articles are not doctrine for all Rightgrrls. I wrote the anti-drug legalization piece - that is my view. Could another Rightgrrl write a piece in favor of legalization? Yep.

Making such a comparison is degrading to all women, whether they are pro-life or pro-choice. Trivializing such a difficult decision is hardly pro-woman, or particularly individualist.

Oddly enough, there are many things on Kari's site that I do agree with, and I am sure there would have been things on Rightgrrl that she would have appreciated, if she had just taken a closer look.

But what do I know? After all, I don't uphold Barbie as a role model or talk about hair care secrets to get traffic.

A woman who has aborted - her response to this article

This article copyright © 1999 by Carolyn Gargaro and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.