There is one thing that I really did not like about the film Unplanned.
At the end of the movie, Abby (the repentant former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic) weeps and speaks to the two children she aborted, saying “I’m sorry I didn’t love you enough… I’m sorry I sacrificed you at the altar of convenience” (or something close to that).
I don’t think many women or girls have abortions simply out of convenience. I think that trivializes their experience. They have abortions for many reasons, but mere convenience is rarely the explanation.
They seek abortion because they are being coerced or even threatened by parents, boyfriends, husbands, or coaches.
They seek abortions because they are terrified — terrified of the stigma they will face at school or at work; of the wrath or disappointment of their parents; of being abandoned by the child’s father; of losing their college scholarship; of losing their employment; of forcing an existing child (or children) into poverty if yet another mouth to feed is brought into the household; of having a nervous breakdown if they have another child to care for, especially a disabled child.
Particularly when a woman is young and unmarried, an unplanned pregnancy is far more than an inconvenience. It’s overwhelming. Under the best of circumstances, raising a child is a lifetime commitment; it involves a life of sacrifice and near-constant stress. It’s difficult enough when you choose to do it and have support. It feels like a nightmare when you don’t.
To characterize this decision as one of convenience demonstrates a shocking level of ignorance and insensitivity.
Real pro-lifers, people who have seriously engaged with these young women on the front lines, get this. Fake pro-lifers, whose activism consists primarily of listening faithfully to conservative talk radio, opining on Facebook, and supporting Donald Trump, don’t get it, and don’t seem to want to. If only I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone screech JUST CLOSE YOUR LEGS, or shame them for not using birth control, as if birth control never fails.
Abortion is evil, but so is the failure to provide more comprehensive help to women and girls with crisis pregnancies. They deserve better, and so do their children.
Catherine Alexander is a lapsed Carmelite who lives in the Deep South. She is interested in Catholic spirituality, politics, and women’s issues.
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