Shout Your Abortion is a collection of photos, essays, and “creative work” born from the social media campaign of the same name, where women are encouraged to share their abortion experiences online for the purpose, says co-founder Lindy West, of “de-stigmatization, normalization, and putting an end to shame.”
The opening pages of this abortion coffee-table book—edited by Amelia Bonow and Emily Nokes—feature a quote from the abortionist Willie Parker: “We believe that the truth will do.”
These days it seems the truth is what one wants it to be—but there is only one truth, and it’s not found in this book. As I read it, I stepped into another world, so contrary to the one I personally experienced with abortion, and to the experience of thousands of other women I have come to know and love in my past thirty years of working with those whose lives have been affected by abortion.
Thanks to technological advancements, it is no longer possible to deny that a human being exists from the moment of conception. Advocates of abortion, who were once able to hide the truth, can no longer discredit the personhood of the unborn child in the womb.
Without the ability to obscure, pro-abortionists have elected to normalize. Shout Your Abortion is the abortion lobby’s attempt to normalize abortion, to portray it as part of routine women’s healthcare.
There is nothing normal about abortion. It is a violent act that ends a human life.
Shout Your Abortion is an attempt to shift the focus to one of compassion, power, and determination. Proponents share their abortion “experiences,” proudly wearing the badge of “I’m not sorry,” as if that in itself were some great accomplishment.
How can killing a defenseless unborn baby possibly make someone feel powerful or promote the dignity of personhood? Where’s the power in that? Does control over one’s own life mean destroying the lives of others?
The book immediately goes to work putting a positive spin on abortion. The mantra “abortion is normal” is repeated throughout—in jokes and graphics, on marquees and, yes, in photographs of celebratory cakes.
Abortion is normal, they insist. Abortion is freedom.
But for countless women, abortion is anything but normal or freeing. Abortion has committed them to a life of misery, a life of fighting depression, guilt, shame, and grief. Sometimes abortion has left them unable to have other children.
Even the Planned Parenthood-affiliated Guttmacher Institute, which conducts research and policy analysis on abortion in the United States, admits that at least 10 percent of women are harmed by it. Considering there have been 60 million abortions in the United States since Roe v. Wade, that 10 percent figure means millions of women have been harmed in some way. Yet the numbers are undoubtedly greater, as many women don’t speak about their abortion to anyone!
Members of the “Shout Your Abortion” campaign want us to believe they are not political—that they aren’t telling anyone else how to feel—but all through the book they are selling the “abortion is normal” message. According to them, women who feel guilty do so because they fear the judgment of society, not because participating in the death of their own child in and of itself could result in shame and guilt.
The book refuses to validate the feelings of women who know in their hearts that abortion is anything but normal. It also fails to acknowledge women who are coerced by boyfriends, parents, or husbands, nor does it mention those who feel they have no choice but to kill their child because of a lack of resources or support. The only thing you’ll find within these pages is praise and thanks for abortion.
The authors don’t spend any time considering abortion’s impact on anyone but themselves. Men may be the fathers, but the “Shout Your Abortion” movement has no time for them because to admit that men suffer would distract from the talking point that women should have the only say in what happens—“Their body, their choice.” Nor does the book consider the suffering or guilt of surviving siblings who mourn the loss of brothers or sisters—believe me, there are now millions of them.
Interestingly enough, a few women quoted in the book justify their abortion decision by proclaiming love for the children they now have. They say if they had not aborted, their current children would not be alive; they ignore the fact that the child who died was also one they would have cherished and loved.
Reading the testimonies is sad. As much as the authors insist they’re not sorry for their abortions, there’s a certain desperation in the way they shout their nonchalance and the way they try to justify, rationalize, and normalize the procedure.
It’s as if they think if they repeat it enough times, they’ll begin to believe it themselves. Get out, get angry, and shout it, and it will be true.
In the end, all the shouting in the world will not make abortion normal or justify the killing of the unborn in the womb. That is the truth of what abortion is. Not women’s health, but the killing of a child. No matter how it’s rationalized, justified, or made to seem like a compassionate answer to an unplanned pregnancy, that truth will never change. There is only one truth.
I feel great compassion for these women. As they raise their voices and shout in a quest to drown out the silent screams of the tiny victims of abortion, the humanity and dignity of their unborn children cannot be waved away. I hope that these women who rejected the very gift of life they were privileged to experience will heal one day, as they come to realize abortion is not normal at all.
Co-Founder of Entering Canaan Post Abortion Ministry
Director, Lumina/Hope & Healing after Abortion