So Much For "Choice"
Featured Rightgrrl November 1998
Note: I am actually quite reluctant to post this article because it was such a personally painful experience and because I don't want to cause problems for certain people mentioned in the piece. This account, does, however, explain a lot of my problems with the abortion-support movement and why I do not refer to it as "pro-choice". It is not my intention to group all abortion-supporters in with the person mentioned. I sincerely hope that all readers, regardless of their support for abortion, realize that all women are free to choose life for their children regardless of the situation surrounding the child's conception and expect support from others in the process.
Supporters of abortion claim to support "choice" for women, even to the point of calling themselves "pro-choice" and anyone who opposes their abortion stand "anti-choice". After a very nasty experience I had a few years ago, however, I learned the hard way that "choice" is not the issue for many supporters of abortion, and in fact many who call themselves "pro-choice" are actually opposed to giving some women any option other than abortion. For some women, many in the "pro-choice" movement actually oppose giving them choices... and will attack viciously anyone who dares to give them an alternative which would preserve the lives of mother and child.
Some names and details have been altered to protect the privacy of some involved and some of the places where the events occurred.
A few years ago, I was in one of the support forums on a small Internet online service. An anonymous poster had just found out she was impregnated by her older cousin after a rape. She said she was "pro-choice" but did not think she could go through an abortion, so she asked for adoption information.
Nobody in the forum so far had supported her decision. People were trying to tell her to abort anyway, even though she had already said this was not what she wanted. They gave her the usual excuse about incest and deformities and didn't leave room for discussion.
I, of course, did support her choice. I offered to help her find medical and legal help in her area and said she could either contact me directly or through an intermediate if she chose. She did contact me directly and I was able to find a pregnancy center in her area.
A user on the system had extreme problems with this course of action. She strongly believed that abortion was mandatory in the cases of rape and incest and had also tried to pressure another user into it who didn't even know if she was pregnant. I had offered the previous user assistance as well and the abortion-supportive user, Selena, had indirectly accused me of using pressure. I hardly call inviting someone to mail me privately "pressure", and I made no attempts to initiate private contact. Now Selena had problems with this new user, who had also freely chosen to accept my offer.
Selena tried to intimidate the mother, Lina, into aborting by telling this frightening tale of her cousin Ronald, a man who had been conceived by incest and was now a felon or some other ne'er-do-well. When I pointed out that deformities in children born after incest are only slightly higher than in the general population, she went ballistic and accused me of lying.
Selena refused to talk reasonably with me, and proceeded to start a flame fest. It went in my private mail and across several online communities. She abused anon functions to flame me, to attack my right-to-life stand, refused to respect the confidentiality of the forum in which the first discussions of adoption took place, and broke several of the service provider's rules in the process.
Her actions were appalling, and I took the logical course of action, reporting her to the service administrators. I had seen people banned from the system for much less, and I was sure she would also be punished. I did not count on the extreme abortion-supportive bias of the administration to cloud their decision not to punish her.
Among other things, Selena accused me of being both bisexual and homophobic. (How anyone can pull that combination off, I have no clue.) She also accused me of being a crossdresser on the basis of a few questions I had asked in the Transgender forum. She tried to insinuate that I was dangerously mentally unstable. She manipulated another user who had sought my help and told her I had said all sorts of private things about her situation. She even went so far as to accuse me of violating the privacy of a private forum. At one point, she even claimed I had come to the coast to read her diaries. Never mind that I have never been anywhere near where she lives. (Ironically, she did come out of the closet at this time, she was a manic-depressive suspected of not taking her medication, and she had violated the privacy of the support forums. Does anyone else suspect "projection"?)
What people refused to acknowledge was the change in the mother's situation. Lina was finally able to break away from this cousin (the only family she had... she lived with him) and had started filing charges. It was as if the baby was giving her a new reason to fight, even though she planned on giving him away. Her boyfriend contacted me to thank me for supporting her. Lina was facing what would be considered the worst situation in her life, but things were improving. Her life was a direct challenge to abortion-supportive arguments even in early pregnancy.
In the meantime, Selena's attacks continued. She was relentless and showed no signs of slowing down. Fighting back did not work. Ignoring did not work. Nothing worked. The issue was no longer about a mother needing help. She was after ME. My ideals, my beliefs, my respect for life all became her targets. She got pretty petty with her stunts too... stealing personal info lines, sending new lesbian users my way and telling them I was a nymphomaniac (when I explained the situation, most were good enough to leave me alone), and accusing me of something new and outrageous every week. Logging in became more trouble than it was worth, and I might have quit had it not been for my friends who stuck by me during those months.
Lina's story took a tragic turn. She had a drug problem and miscarried after an overdose. Of course, the same ones who had pressured her to abort were now telling her that the miscarriage was a good thing. Never mind that they ignored her obvious grief. She had named her baby, and his name was Robin. She wanted that baby alive. Nobody cared to grieve with her... except the few right-to-lifers who sided with me. All of Lina's progress in pressing charges and escaping her abuser dissolved after the miscarriage.
I suspect Selena would still harass me now had it not been for some crazy twists in her personal life. She took on a lover in another state and moved to be with her. Her old roommates threw out all of her belongings, including her computer. The new lover threw her out soon after she arrived in Chicago. The last I knew, she was back in school in Green Bay but has not returned to the old net-stomping grounds. (Rumor has it she was finally banned from the service we were on.)
I did not win that battle, but then neither did Selena. Nobody won. The child still died, and the mother still suffered. Through that experience, however, my desire to support the right to life was only strengthened and my disgust for the abortion supporters' cry of "choice" grew. Lina deserved more support and credit than she got. Where were the people who supported "choice" once she made a choice that did not include abortion? Why didn't anyone acknowledge her progress or help her hang on after the miscarriage? What was really going on?
I no longer believe that abortion is about a woman's choice to control her body or exercise rights. Watching so many supporters of "choice" pressuring one of their own to do what she didn't want to do took care of that. The only choice I saw anyone make was choosing who deserved to die.