Poems, Personal Stories and Survey Findings ************************ International Poetry Day, 21 March 2016
Today is International Poetry Day. A few days ago, I went onto the web and typed in “poems about abortion”. A whole page came up with links to poetry, but almost without exception the poems were anti-abortion. One site was headed “Remorse is forever”, one asked “Will you sing me a lullaby before I go?”. Another was “I love you mama (anti-abortion)”, and another was “Abortion poetry from the baby’s heart”. There were “sad abortion poems”, and “abortion regret poems”. One was called “Child never born, read at your own risk”. There was also “Award-winning abortion poetry” but most of it too was anti-abortion, at least in the first pages, except for one poem, see the link below.
Today, I looked again, but this time I typed in “abortion pro-choice poems”. And up came a whole page of links to pro-choice poetry. Below are links to three of the poems on a USA website called Split Rock, which won the annual competition for poems on abortion rights in 2015.
Of bearing fruit
by Stanislav Rusak, MusingInverse
from: Abortion Support Network Newsletter, 18 March 2016
In February, ASN heard from 74 women, couples and families seeking help, advice, or financial support. This included a young woman who broke our collective hearts. After saving up to travel for a termination and contacting us for a grant, she came to England and scanned over the legal limit for an abortion. After staying the night with one of our volunteer hosts, she returned to Ireland to continue her pregnancy.
Following are some of the experiences of other clients we spoke to last month:
“Right now I only have 8 euro in my bank account and really I have nowhere else to turn.”
“I am pregnant and need to have a termination. I am a single mother of two and financially or emotionally I am not in a position to continue with this pregnancy. I am just wondering if you could give me some names of reputable clinics in London that are not as expensive as the ones I have looked into.”
"I can't tell you how amazing it is to have volunteers who are providing this, it's a lifeline, and our country is stuck in the 1950s."
"My friend passed your number to me I have already booked an abortion and not only am I afraid but also cannot afford [it]. I am a single mother of three and have a young baby. I have no help but your support please if you can help anyone please help me.”
“I have decided to continue my pregnancy. You were lifesavers at such a hard time and difficult decision. You are saints and thank you for everything you do for women."
"I have only recently found out that I am pregnant, a scan has confirmed that I am 11 weeks pregnant. Although I love children and have a son already this couldn't be worse timing because of the severe housing crisis in Ireland now we are currently homeless and unfortunately these circumstances do not look likely to change in the foreseeable future.”
“I contemplated suicide to get away from this, as I really just couldn't go on with my life if I have to remain pregnant.”
"I understand that you have large quantities of people to support but finding myself in this situation I really don't have anywhere else to turn. I'm just enquiring about being given financial assistance for an abortion. I haven't booked flights or clinic yet as I simply don't have the money at all. I'm a student and barely have the money to get by day to day. I can’t tell my mum and anyway she doesn’t have any money to give me. I'm honestly terrified and have no idea what I'll do if I can't get the abortion I need. If I can't get the abortion it's essentially the life I planned and worked and trained so hard for gone.”
“I didn't know what to do and when I came across your website it felt like a miracle that there's even a possibility that you could help me out.”
Tags: Ireland, personal experience
She brings her microphone, and women tell their stories of abortion
by Frances Stead Sellers
25 February 2016
“Melissa Madera set out across the USA, equipped with an Apogee microphone and an iPad, to record women talking about their abortions. She has travelled to 18 states by plane, bus, train and in her ageing car “to meet women where they are” — in luxury high-rises and on a Christian college campus, in rural towns and at a Harlem housing project.
“Listeners may find evidence in their stories to support one side of the abortion debate or the other, but Madera’s mission is personal, she says, born not of a need to serve a political end but to find others who share a secret she long held. “Telling their truths,” she says, has become her whole life…
“The “pro-life” movement has focused on stories of regrets and self-recrimination that don’t reflect the range of reactions Madera has felt and heard. From the evangelical mother of two who confessed to her children and her church that she’d had five abortions. From the liberal student whose personal regrets sent her on a 20-year spiritual journey.
The stories can all be found in her online AbortionDiarywith 129 first-person podcasts at this writing - stories of “relief and grief and every emotion in between”, Madera says, as well as the sense of release that comes from sharing cloistered memories.”
“In September last year, activist Amelia Bonow told everyone she knows - frankly and without shame - about her abortion. That simple yet deeply taboo gesture snowballed into an international destigmatisation campaign called #ShoutYourAbortion…
“For years, pro-choicers have been on the defensive, letting the far right define not just the timbre of the conversation about abortion (hushed, apologetic), but who abortion-seekers and providers are (murderers, criminals). My mother, from the 1970s through the 90s, worked at several hospitals where she was among only a handful of nurses willing to assist on abortions. One fellow nurse… wouldn’t even perform vasectomies, because every sperm is a “pre-born” treasure…
“Bonow wants to take the conversation back. If we’re not ashamed of having abortions, why should we pretend we are, out of deference to bigots who hate us?
“Dear Doctor, I think we tend to overlook the humanity of doctors in general. Even though going to the doctor – allowing someone to inspect our bodies, take our blood, parse our fears, help us live, help us die – is one of the most intense interpersonal relationships in the human playbook, we’re also prone to thinking of doctors as impassive, objective robots that exist only to fix us. We demand miracles and dispense little in return. So, thank you for being there. Thank you for your work and care.
“To abortion providers, specifically, to say that you are superhuman would actually belittle your accomplishments: the fight to keep abortion accessible to all lays bare not some supernatural saviour, but the magnificent human capacity for fortitude and compassion. That is not a magic trick; it is your sweat and bravery.
“I am profoundly grateful to the providers at the clinic where I had my abortion, who treated me with a combination of bracing kindness and even-keeled efficiency, saying with every gesture, “This is normal. This is OK.” But I live in a liberal city with relatively little anti-abortion activity; I could afford to travel if I needed to; my family is progressive, loving, and present. I especially want to thank those of you who serve far more vulnerable people in far more dangerous places. You are so important.
“Your jobs are unfathomably hard, and not just because of the ceaseless hostility, threats of violence and cultural expectation that superstitious nonsense be treated as a legitimate “counterpoint” to basic health care. On a purely practical level, anti-choice legislation has made running abortion clinics in many places effectively impossible…
“Thank you for fighting to keep your clinics open, even though there is no incentive but radical altruism, and even though for so many years we have been afraid to say thank you in public. Thank you for believing in women’s power, autonomy and right to steer our own lives. Thank you for my career and my beautiful family. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Tags: USA, personal experience
Only across the street…
“Geeta doesn't remember exactly where it was that a girl she knew threw away her baby. She's also not sure if the mother of a childhood friend went to jail or not after she tossed two infants, her ninth and 10th daughters, into the canal. But she does remember the day the woman in the slum stuck the handle of a stove-cleaning brush into her vagina, through her cervix, and into her uterus in an attempt to self-induce an abortion.
"Seven or eight years ago, a woman here inserted a metal bar to clean the stove to start bleeding," Geeta says through a translator. As far as Geeta knows, abortion is illegal, and she's never seen anyone go to the local hospital for an abortion. But the woman with the stove-cleaning rod, Geeta says, "That I saw."…
“Walking from the densely populated urban slum where Geeta lives in Pune, a South Indian city two hours from Mumbai, to the doors of YCM Hospital, the large teaching facility across the street, takes about two minutes, across a hectic road where maniacal drivers dodge each other, food stalls hawk all manner of fried local fare, and you can buy anything from underwear to SIM cards. But while the physical gap between the hospital and the slum is a small one, the space between what the hospital provides and what women in the slum see couldn't be wider - especially when it comes to abortion.
As Geeta tells the story of the metal bar, a dozen young doctors in the YCM hospital are learning how to safely terminate pregnancies. That same day, a handful of women are undergoing abortion procedures, which are paid for by the Indian government if a woman is poor. Geeta and a dozen of her neighbors had no idea that they could terminate a pregnancy across the street for free or that the procedure has been legal here since 1971…”
“Even as the issue of abortion remains a sensitive one, a latest global report showed that 70% of respondents in India support abortion and said it should be permitted under any circumstances…,
while 30% said it should be done under certain circumstances, such as if a woman has been raped," according to a poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs via Ipsos Online Panel system in 23 countries, to shed light on views on abortion. The report further showed, 20 per cent respondents said abortion should not be permitted under any circumstances, except when the life of the mother was in danger. Only 2 per cent said it should not be permitted under any circumstance.
“Globally, 74% of respondents in 23 countries said abortion should be permitted while 45% said it should be permitted whenever a woman decides. Only 5% said abortion should never be permitted, regardless of the circumstances…”
Reprinted from “Global News Ipsos Reid.”
Tags: India, opinion poll
6 in 10 Canadians support abortion under any circumstances: Ipsos poll
“Eighteen to 34-year-olds are the most likely to be pro-choice, with 63% agreeing a woman should have the right to choose.
“Looking at the regional breakdowns, the poll found residents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are most likely to be pro-choice followed by those in BC (66%), Quebec (64%). Residents in Atlantic Canada (55%), Ontario (51%) and Alberta (47%) were more evenly split when it comes to abortion…
“The poll, which also weighed public opinion on the issue in 23 countries around the world, found the people most likely to be pro-choice are residents of Sweden (84%), followed by France (69%), Great Britain (62%), Hungary (62%) and Turkey (60%).
“The least progressive were Peru (11%), Brazil (16%) and Mexico (25%), according to the poll.
“41% of US Americans were pro-choice…”
This poll was conducted between Jan. 22 and Feb. 5 2016, with a sample of 1,002 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel.