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my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Sunday, December 19, 2004 ::

I was DEE-lighted to read the Washington D.C. "Silent No More" guidelines for writing your testimony. Evidently they are rethinking a position or two. This is significantly different from 2000 "policy":

1. "In preparing your testimony and two-minutes statement, focus on how abortion hurt you, rather than your recovery. Your testimonies of recovery are dynamic and encouraging, but our purpose is to be "Silent No More" about how abortion hurts women. Talking about how the Lord has healed you is more appropriate for churches and other Christian activities. We recognize that without forgiveness we would not have a story to share. However, it would be detrimental for the media to be able to dismiss the devastation of abortion by portraying women as guilt-ridden only because of their religious beliefs."

In the year 2000 I stood on the steps of Florida's capitol and said my piece for SNM organizers. I was glad to be there, but it came at the price of a begrudged compromise: I was required to talk about "healing" somewhere in my story. Grrr.

For those new to this blog, I have quite a personal problem with the concept... but it is just that: a personal problem. I don't involve myself in the "healing" affairs of others, and if others feel in their very marrow that they are "healed" from losing a child, then I accept that. I know that other women claim they never feel grief or anything but good vibrations regarding their child loss through abortion, and I don't argue with them either. I don't understand, but I certainly don't deny that other people can have situations and feelings that differ from mine. The only time I get knicker-twisted is when those feelings are imposed on others. Don't demand that moms feel good about abortion and don't demand that they be healed.

(Let people feel how they feel; opinions will not change the fact that abortion kills a child and is therefore an horrific inhumanity.)

In 2000 I tried to express to a SNM higher-up that my husband and I had been very happily anticipating our first child when something went horribly awry with my health and health care... and it resulted in one obscenely rueful visit to an abortion mill. Speaking only for myself and my own situation, I tried to express that my faith in God did not change the fact that I was missing a child every day, that my body was damaged forever, and that, in spite of God's perfect forgiveness, I still kinda felt bad for having my baby eviscerated alive. I refused to claim that I'd been "healed" from my child's abortion-related death and demanded that my perpetually mortified state be validated. None of this went over very well.

Enter Georgette Forney. She was much more open to dialogue and admitted that she had not quite considered such a point of view, but that I really "should" include at least SOMETHING about "healing". I agreed to talk about things that help me cope with day-to-day living, things that keep me from crashing my car into a telephone pole or poking myself in the ankle with a ricin-tipped umbrella. But I had really just wanted to talk about how losing my child in an abortion didn't help me and how it had actually made things much worse than I'd ever imagined possible. That abortion was a bad thing was a relatively new concept for me, and I wanted people to know what was truly going on, not in a smiling Planned Parenthood ad... but in real life.

The only other SNM thing I had a problem with was the language. Long-time readers know that I'm just an unyielding shrew when it comes to linguistics. SNM wanted me to hold a placard that read "I regret my abortion." Ohhhh, I just had a problem with that.

It wasn't so much the abortion. I mean, even though I bled dangerously and was permanently physically disabled, the procedure itself was cake compared to the illness I had been dealing with. I didn't even need pain meds after a second trimester abortion. In fact, I felt physically better than I had in months. Honestly, I could have died in the hotel tub and left the world feeling much improved.

But of course, as has been said in previous posts, a few hours after the drugs wore off and my husband was fast asleep in the top-floor hotel room... I was trying to pry open unopenable windows in an attempt to cast off this wretched, crawling mortal coil. The emotional distress was terrible, impossible. Even now, the words aren't there to describe it; none exist. Instead I find myself sucking in unusually large portions of air in attempts to survive a moment of facing the bare naked torment of remembering the day I began to be who I am without my child... and the tragic injustice of his/her suffering death. There is always that.

Appendectomies don't bother me; babyectomies suck a massive butt. The abortion itself didn't hurt, but losing my baby in the abortion kills me every day.

Instead of "I regret my abortion," I reasoned that personally, "I regret losing my child in an abortion," was preferable. The SNM signs were printed however, and that's not what they said. I opined that we should not assist the abortion movement in making the issue so sterile and impersonal. I insisted, as I always do, that the way to go was to bring the focus on losing a child, not gaining an abortion.

IMHO, the entire SNM campaign is NOT about abortion but about child loss through abortion. I mean, that is my understanding. Is it possible that it is only about feeling the pain of shame and guilt and then not feeling ashamed and guilty anymore? No, I refuse to entertain that thought. It's after one in the morning (my time stamp doesn't work); I must be really tired. My point is... I had a problem with the "my abortion" language. I didn't "get" an abortion. I lost a child.

Short story long, I was interested to see a second addition, regarding suggested testimony terminology, in the 2004 SNM guidelines. Participants are encouraged to use:

2. "Pregnancy loss through abortion or termination instead of abortion"

Hmm. As you may well imagine, wordly wiseacre that I am, I am not entirely satisfied. "Pregnancy loss" seems a little wimpy. Who cares about losing a "pregnancy"? I sure as heck don't! I semi-recently gave birth to a healthy little girl after spending 32 weeks in bed due to a combination of high risk complications; losing the pregnancy was the best thing that ever happened to me!

I would have been really impressed if SNM had suggested "child loss through abortion", but heck, I'll take what progress I can get.

Don't get me wrong. I am in no way saying that I had any influence on the changes at SNM. In fact, the only influence I may have had was to exasperate everyone I talked to with my finicky testimony/placard standards. I only mean to say that I am encouraged to see the two changes, as they were the main beefs I had with SNM.

Now that I no longer have SNM gripes I don't know what to do with myself.

:: ashli 11:02 PM # ::

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