David Katz, who has M.D. in his title so you know his words carry the weight of the medical profession, has an essay up on Huffington Post, “Abortion, on Middle Ground.” And I’m sure you’ll be shocked, absolutely shocked to hear it’s the same shit, different day. Dr. Katz is a progressive who thinks abortion is a necessary evil! He is “emphatically pro-choice” but he is “just as emphatically anti-abortion.” Because, as I am sure everyone on the planet is aware and can agree completely on, “No one is ‘for’ abortion, least of all the women who resort to it.” Dr. Katz knows these women, you see. He knows them personally and understands their inner hearts. He is a listener, this Dr. Katz! He understands the hardships, what that the ladies have, and how we need abortions even though obviously no one ever wants to have one, and also says some stuff about how our society is really violent and education is the answer.
For the progressives who feel the need to tread this middle ground out there, let me just clear something up: you cannot be both prochoice and anti-abortion. Please don’t mistake this for a “you are with us or against us” ultimatum. I hope you will instead see it for what it is intended to be: a completely rational statement meant to absolve people of the apparent epic confusion raging in their hearts as they try to reconcile conflicting personal and political beliefs. And I don’t mean that simply the personal and political are at odds; in these cases often the personal and the personal are at odds. For instance, perhaps you believe that abortion is really quite awful, but women should be allowed to have them. In this case, congratulations! You are not actually anti-abortion.
Just take a deep breath and say it with me now: I am not anti-abortion.
I am not anti-abortion, because I know it is a necessary medical procedure that people sometimes need to undergo for physical and mental reasons. I am not anti-abortion, because I know abortions save lives. I am not anti-abortion, because I have had an abortion. Yes, I’m sorry to put you in this position, but 46% of women in this country, almost fully half, will have an abortion in their lifetime. You’re allowed to be the person who says “I am anti-abortion” even though you’ve had one yourself, but that will also make you a hypocrite who took advantage of the hard work other people do when they say “I am not anti-abortion” and then disavowed that work. And I don’t think you want to be that person.
We make it so scary, so wrong; it brings so much disapproval and judgment down on us that we’re afraid to just say it. I am not anti-abortion. In fact, I am pro-abortion. I am 100% behind any person who needs an abortion having an abortion, and I place “for the sake of mental and emotional health” in the “needs” column.
Say it with me now, scarier but oh-so-freeing: I am pro-abortion.
I am pro-heart transplant, pro-appendix removal, and pro-abortion, whenever one of those is medically necessary. Now the argument will be, it trivializes abortion to say it’s as easy as appendix removal! But it doesn’t trivialize it. The medical reality is that an abortion in the first eight weeks is easier than getting an appendix removed, and the recovery time is much shorter. If that scares you, ask yourself why. Because it shouldn’t. The shame and stigma around abortion is a social invention. Abortions are a legal medical procedure that many people undergo. People who have children, people who want children, people who will never be parents – from all walks of life, we have abortions. And for that reason amongst so many others, I am pro-abortion. Go on, say it with me now, it’s freeing, I promise: I am pro-abortion.
People like Dr. Katz like to give the impression they’re making a brave, bold statement, standing up for “choice” while denigrating abortion, but people like Dr. Katz are cowards. it is easy to talk the talk of choice. You get some credibility, you open up some debate, and you espouse what are quite frankly some popular ideas about abortion as a necessary evil. You are playing a rational, middle-of-the-road card that wins you a lot of nods and the occasional popularity contest. And you do it on the backs of the 46% of American women who engage at some point in that “necessary evil,” reminding them that when the world is good and right, they – what? Magically won’t need that medical procedure anymore? The one people have performed for centuries in various ways? Yeah, let me know how that works out.
There are many doctors out there who wholeheartedly support abortion, speak of it in medical terms and are trained to perform them, but those doctors aren’t getting published. The shame and stigma around that work created by people like Dr. Katz makes talking about it not only unpopular but unsafe. You and only you can push back and create an environment where people can be honest rather than hypocritical, and you can start by saying it with me now: I am pro-abortion.