A Difficult Decision - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1987104

A Difficult Decision

I was touched by the bravery of Cynthia Youngs, who wrote about her experience of having an abortion 15 years ago [“A Serious Subject,” Letters, June 23]. She stated that those who believe in pro-choice don’t say enough about the complex, difficult emotional toll for women when they choose abortion — what it means to abort what could be your living child.

As a mental health practitioner for over 40 years, I have paid close attention to all those women who have talked to me about their experiences of having or wanting an abortion. The conversations are complicated. But, in my experience, rarely do women regret the decision, but they frequently regret having to make that choice.

No woman wants an abortion. It is a horrible decision to have to make and to go through. But women surely do not need to be demonized for making this difficult decision as a last resort.

Perhaps the reason pro-choice people don’t talk enough about the emotional toll of this tough choice is because they’re too busy trying to defend a woman’s right to choose from being stripped away, as it finally was two weeks ago for many women.

If we could have a humane, honest conversation in this country about women’s rights, we would agree that all women should have access to convenient and free (or low-cost) family planning. Yet those who are pro-life pay little attention to assuring medical access for all women and girls so that they’re able to make good choices for themselves. (Notice that the mandate for medical professionals to speak to boys and men about their role in family planning is never mentioned.)

No woman wants an abortion. If our health care system offered better alternatives and education prior to a woman getting pregnant, there likely would be fewer abortions.

Everyone needs to take responsibility for their actions, I get that, but people — especially young people — need help in doing what’s right for them. If we as a nation truly believed that, we would spare much of the heartache of those who are both pro-choice and pro-life.

Paula Angelone, Ph.D.

Southampton Village