I also agree with the writer – because I witnessed it for more than 35 years in my clinical work of abortion care provision – that the difficulty and pain of a private decision such as an abortion that a woman may feel does not mean that she has any doubt regarding the moral clarity and ethical foundation of her abortion choice. We all frequently experience ambivalence when faced with a deep and life-changing crossroads in our lives, and the choice of an abortion is an example of that. Women can feel initial sadness, but simultaneously know what she needs to do, that the abortion is the absolute best choice, and ultimately feel resolution, peace, and pride. In fact, many women do feel goodness, empowerment, increased self-esteem, and pride in the wisdom and the awareness that they took control of a frequently chaotic situation – unwanted pregnancy – and made a moral and ethical decision that was beneficial for their lives, their futures, and, ultimately, was also good for society.
Of course, we don’t live in that world yet. Like Appel, describing abortion as safe, legal, and rare” has always deeply offended me…the rare part, that is. Should women be rare? Should our sexuality and sexual expression be rare? Should abortion providers be rare? (They already are.) Should sexual activity be rare? It is, of course, unwanted pregnancy that needs to be rare. Unfortunately, due to misogynistic beliefs and policies, it isn’t. As a result, there needs to be as many safe, legal, accessible, funded, and compassionate abortions as women freely chose.