Birds of a Feather?

I was going to do a whole blog post about abortion and depression and the fact that there is no such thing as Post Abortion Trauma Syndrome.  I was going to talk about the research review by the American Psychological Association that shows that most women experience relief and happiness after their abortion.  I was going to cite some data and talk about the factors that contribute to risk for psychological problems after abortion.

I wanted to start with a video of Donna saying this line she uses.  I’ve quoted it here before ~ it is one of my very favorite “most horrible lines I’ve heard.”

So I was delighted when the escort who took this video gave permission to use it here.  It does, indeed feature Donna, and she says her line right away, as if she had agreed to perform for the blog.

But then she goes on to say so many other things, by the time you get to the end, you may have forgotten the beginning.  It’s a long video ~ 3:45 ~ which shows you the reality of the sidewalk.  Periods of silence broken by Donna talking at the door of the clinic or lecturing the silent escort videotaping her.

Do you remember the beginning?  At the very beginning, Donna is talking to the client ~ or to the door the clients have gone through.  She says:

“Honey, they only want your money.  They’ll take your money, kill your child, and turn you loose to a lifetime of regret.”

Sweet, huh?  And here’s the kicker.  One of the four risk factors for experiencing emotional distress after an abortion is exposure to anti-abortion picketers.  Big shock, right?

I always thought that might be the case.  That these so-called sidewalk counselors were actually causing harm ~ and they are.  Not just in my opinion, not just from what we know intuitively, but also based on the data.

Let me back up ~ actually, the best predictor of whether or not someone will have psychological problems after an abortion is how they were doing before the abortion.  If you already had mental health problems before, you’re more likely to have them afterwards.

The research shows that most people are relieved and happy after an abortion, with a minority who experience depression and guilt afterwards.    And there are four significant risk factors for that ~ I’ll just mention them here, because when I learn something, I like to make sure everyone else knows it too.  According to the APA,  ” …the most methodologically strong studies…showed that

~  interpersonal concerns, including feelings of stigma,

~  perceived need for secrecy,

~  exposure to antiabortion picketing, and

~  low perceived or anticipated social support for the abortion decision

negatively affected women’s postabortion psychological experiences.”1(p. 92)

And really, those things are all common sense.  But it’s still nice to know that the data supports what seems likely.

Donna, of course, doesn’t stop with her first line in the video.  She goes on to have a little chat with the escort who’s doing the video.  Wait, not really a chat with her, more like a chat at her, if you know what I mean.  But in a soft voice, as if it is an intimate chat, Donna says:

“Remember when I told you how your persona would change?  You’ll be looking like these old women.  You’re young, honey.  Think for yourself.”

Right.  Listen to Donna – that’s thinking for yourself.  And what old women is our young escort going to look like?  I’m a bit offended ~ was she talking about me???

But Donna goes on:

“Don’t give in to this culture of death.  Use your brain.”

Then she talks about the fetus dolls and the picture of the supposedly ten week fetus.  “Is your heart so hard already that you can’t even think straight?” she asks.

There is a silence ~ that’s how it is on the sidewalk after most of the clients are in on weekdays~ long silences  punctuated by one of the antis talking at the escorts or at the wall.

The video moves to Camera Joe, who is taking pictures of the escort taking pictures.

Donna says, “You don’t have to ever come back here again.  Is this what you do for socializing?  Is this the “birds of a feather?”

“You don’t have to waste your time or your film on me.  There’s enough film existing on me to do a two hour movie.”

Now there’s a thought, right?  A two hour movie of Donna on the sidewalk.  What would we call that?  But she goes on.

She says, “Think for yourself.  Don’t buy into this culture of death.”

“Look at this little baby at ten weeks,” and she holds up the fetus doll.”  “How can you deny that these are children being murdered in here today?  And you’re a party to it.  You are aiding and abetting the death of unborn children.   It’s very sad.  Think for yourself.”

The video ends on that note, although I’m sure Donna went on.  There are all kinds of things I could say ~ funny commentary on her little lecture, speculation about the title of a 2 hour movie featuring her ~ but I won’t.

Instead, I want to go back to the beginning of the video, and the risk factors for psychological problems after abortion.   It’s clear that the protesters on the sidewalk are actually causing harm to people seeking abortion.  But it’s also clear how we can help.

Every time we publicly express our support for abortion access, we reduce the stigma.  By stepping forward to say we’re in favor of women making their own decisions about reproductive health, we can actually increase the perception of support, and by doing that, reduce the risk of psychological difficulty afterwards.  Our willingness to speak out can make a difference to the 1 in 3 women who will access abortion in their lifetime.

12 thoughts on “Birds of a Feather?

  1. I can think of what I’d say back to her- but then again… I guess that’d bring up on another rant, especially if I talk about how it is actually her fault and antis on how they bring all this upon themselves on how this started, (reverse psychology)- but I don’t think anyone (interpreters) would translate it all fast enough. LOL

    Sometimes I think it’s a jinx that I couldn’t shoot back but in ASL.
    And for her to think of escorts as old folks- that’s pretty much projection from her own image.

  2. I’ll bet she is just a huge hit at cocktail parties and family holiday events. No conversation or fun chatter can occur without a reminder that 50 bazillion fetuses died today, all of whom were practically walking, talking and ready cure cancer. Also, EVERYBODY gets a fetus doll for Christmas, even through they got the same thing last year.

  3. Sorry, this comment could not be posted.

    I keep getting this error message ↑

    My comment – *Think of yourself?* I did when I terminated that pregnancy, I took great care in deciding that terminating was right for my husband and I and for the pregnancy. I had been taking high doses of herbs to fight an infection and that herb is definitely contraindicated where pregnancy is concerned, as in it will causes defects.

    I did think of myself and how I couldn’t physically handle a sick pregnancy and a damaged baby that would probably result and that was on top of the many many others reasons I had for terminating – homeless, still at University with a very unstable relationship.

    The implication that we don’t think and have made the wrong decision burns me. I couldn’t be on the sidewalk like you guys, that ‘lady’ would be in danger of imminent violence from me, to have someone I don’t know second guess my well thought out choice enrages me. So glad you guys are on the front lines and not me, I couldn’t deal, I just don’t have the patience ya’ll do.

    Anyway, have a study –

    Effect of abortion protesters on women’s emotional response to abortion


    • Thanks, Oubli! So if I put that study together with the lit review by the APA, I get something like this: “Being exposed to abortion protesters is a risk factor for experiencing psychological problems after an abortion, but for most people seeking abortion, the protesters don’t have any lasting effects.” How cool is that?

      I’m sorry the blog gave you a hard time when you tried to comment! And as always, I appreciate you sharing your experiences and insights here.

    • Donna says, “You don’t have to ever come back here again. Is this what you do for socializing? Is this the “birds of a feather?”

      Ironyyyyyyy. Donna does not get it.

      ”Is your heart so hard already that you can’t even think straight?” she asks.

      “Is your brain so soft you can’t even think to ask us what we’re thinking/feeling before shooting off your mouth?”

      You would think all the data we place down in front of them would be comforting. There really are no silent screams. Clinic staff is usually very kind and caring to their patients. Women are actually making informed decisions. We don’t want anyone to have abortions when they truly don’t want. We have ways available of reducing abortion levels quickly without harming anyone.

      But no. They WANT their fantasies of hard-hearted and cold murderesses. They want their ideas of doctors in blood-stained scrubs laughing all the way to the bank. They WANT us to endure lifetimes of regret. They want you to be escorting because you’re getting kickbacks or just enjoy watching misery.

      They WANT to live in a horror movie.

      • You know, Longtail, I read this comment about three times, and each time I thought YES more strongly. It’s funny, isn’t it? They want things to be the way they imagine they are, maybe so they can see themselves as heroes without having to make serious sacrifices.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I had an abortion over two decades ago. I spent a week feeling guilty because I didn’t feel guilty about it, thinking that must make me a terrible person and a bad woman. I was fortunately able to untangle that knot of guilt. If I’m only feeling guilty because people have told me I should, that’s not a good enough reason. It was the best thing to do, and I would do it again.

    I don’t regret it, and I rarely even think of it. It hasn’t ruined my life, and it won’t. Carrying a pregnancy to term would have.

    • Well, and apparently your experience is more common than any of the dire predictions they make. If you’d known that, it might have made that first week of feeling guilty because you didn’t feel guilty even shorter.

      Thanks for sharing your experience here!

  5. Great post, FML. What an irony and a shame that the protesters are so often the CAUSE of the post-abortion trauma (if it happens at all) that they warn of.

    “Remember when I told you how your persona would change? You’ll be looking like these old women. ” Yeah, I guess having an abortion makes you get old (you’d obviously stay eternally young otherwise… oops, what happened to those of us who got old but never had an abortion?). And what if your persona changed to make you look old like Donna? — now that’s a really scary thought!

    • I know, right? There’s some great irony in predicting something that you help cause. Like telling someone they’re gonna fall if they go down those stairs, while you’re polishing them with baby oil.

      And the getting old thing? No ~ she was talking to THE ESCORT then. Apparently escorting, or hanging out with those of us who escort, makes you look old. Unlike Donna, who looks like a sweet young thing… Ok, sorry, now I’m just being mean. Nothing wrong with being old, or with looking old either ~ happens to the best of us…lol

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