RH Reality Check then goes on to recommend a "scholarly" study of the stigma surrounding abortion... so I read it. Gosh I sure hope our tax $$ did not pay for this but it probably did. Lots of footnotes and initials behind the names who contributed to this abstract but it had no surprises and as the old ad said...where's the beef?
I will give you the cliff notes version....
- There is a stigma surrounding abortion for those who have had abortions, industry workers and activists.
- Why?...because abortion violates a fundamental ideal of womanhood as the nurturer of life.
- With advances in technology, we see the humanity of the preborn like never before and lifesaving care of preterm infants and fetal surgery have made the blob of tissue argument sound ridiculous.
- Legal restrictions add to the stigma. People basically do feel that if it is legal it must be okay. Any legal requirements of waiting periods, mandated ultrasounds, informed consent, restricting late term abortions imply doing something wrong. They see the moral stigma as another issue that is "intertwined" pointing out that when abortion was legalized, the cultural/moral stigma did not automatically go away. That yucky morality stuff....
- Abortion is viewed as dirty and unhealthy
- Those pesky pro lifers use stigma as a powerful tool
- Abortion needs to come out of the closet . Normalize it as in "I had an Abortion" T shirts or point out how many women have had abortions...1 out of every 4 by age 40 will have had an abortion. Make it seem mainstream.
- Use entertainment the way the gay movement has done (every sitcom has a sympathetic gay character.) Sitcoms around abortion....now that's a tough one.
- Abortion should be viewed as just another medical procedure. Look at how cancer has been destigmatized ( I guess the babies are the cancer.)
- Learn how to talk about abortion and stop using good/bad words. Stop arguing about abortions in the cases of rape and incest (hear that TN Sen. Herron ) and stop saying how most abortions are done in the first trimester. If abortion is destigmatized the reason and the stage of pregnancy is unimportant. So stop with the safe, legal and rare stuff. Worked for Clinton but that is old hat now.
- We have to find ways to train more providers...this is a mainstream medical procedure remember.The Society of Family Planning and the National Abortion Federation support "cutting edge" (no pun intended, I guess) and gives prizes for those who train to become abortionists. They don't say what the prizes are.
- Finally, the work of researching abortion stigma must continue even though some abortion supporters think this might cause more stigma, we look forward to more studies and more funding for this work. Ahem! I'll bet you do!