Writes L.V. Anderson in a DoubleX article titled "Feminists Are Sharing Abortion Horror Stories. And That’s a Good Thing."
The phrase "not okay" caught my eye because, in the legal analysis, the right to have an abortion is framed in terms of the human individual's authority over a decisionmaking process which is presumed to involve a profound examination of the meaning of life. The woman's feelings matter in this moral struggle, but I don't see why the "personal dignity and autonomy" at the "heart of liberty" includes an entitlement to feel good about it. It's closer to the opposite. If the woman is the idealized individual the Supreme Court imagined exercising the right to choose, then she should feel a heavy weight. Anguish, sorrow, and regret belong in the process. To say I want to choose and feel good about it is to argue against the foundation of the right.
But examine that quote again:
"It helps no one when women feel that their feelings about their own personal experiences with abortion and contraception are somehow 'not okay.'""Not okay" is a quote within a quote. It's from this essay in Feministing written by a woman who says that poverty forced her to have an abortion:
Maybe regretting my aboriton [sic] isn’t the feminist thing to do. Maybe it’s not okay that I was attached to a clump of cells in the vague shape of an embyro. Maybe it’s not okay that the pain of abortion still hurts, four years layer. But it still hurts – feminist or not. I would have been a good mother.She's not asking to feel "okay" about her decision to have an abortion. She reports the kind of feelings that correspond to the Supreme Court's ideal of the autonomous individual who is entitled to authority over her body and the not-yet-viable body of the unborn entity within.
What she's asking to feel "okay" about is her status as a good feminist. And Anderson is, essentially, telling feminists not to define feminism so narrowly that those who have somehow internalized the desire to be regarded as feminists are stuck with a feminist in their head telling them to stop feeling their own feelings. Another alternative, of course, is to kick that repressive nag out of your head and be free.