Abortion: After the decision

September 19, 2013

New York City, New York

By Allison Joyce

I had been trying to think how to tell the story of abortion in photos for a while. Over the past few years the U.S. has seen new laws limiting abortions enacted and politicians speaking out for and against abortion.

Unless it’s on a political level, it’s still taboo in our society to discuss abortion. I was surprised when I started talking openly with my friends and colleagues about abortion how many of them had had one themselves. I hadn’t known that 40 percent of American women will have an abortion during their lifetimes. While it’s a personal and private experience, there are 45 million women in America who share in it, and it shouldn’t be a shameful secret. The silence creates a stigma that prevents a meaningful discussion and understanding in the national debate and dialogue.

These women are your mothers, sisters, friends, wives, neighbors, grandmothers, colleagues and daughters. These are real people, not an abstract issue.

The reality is that it’s not always a dramatic story. The women I met came from every age and economic spectrum. Some were in marriages, some were single, some were in relationships and stayed in relationships after the abortion. Some were on birth control and some were not. But their stories all shared one thing in common, none of them made their decisions lightly and none of them regretted their decisions.

Women do not enjoy having abortions, they do not use it as birth control. All of them felt that they were not ready to be mothers and that if they were to have a child, it would not have a
happy life and they wouldn’t have been able to provide them with the love or opportunities they felt a child deserved.

17 comments

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None regretted it? I personally know 5 women,
who definately have strong questions now!

How can you not regret the killing of another human being? That is not part of
nature nor living up to be personally
responsible for you actions.

Yes, one of those 5 was my sister. She made several mistakes playing around then playing God with His child.

Posted by Godisalljust2 | Report as abusive

bottom line.
your child is dead

Posted by cp61 | Report as abusive

It’s a pretty hard world when 40 percent of women have abortions and few (if any) feel any regrets. And the idea that abortions are overwhelmingly about concern for what the prospective child would be lacking in love and material support is simply not credible. Look, I’m aware that that it’s impossible to enforce laws that interfere so greatly with a woman’s privacy. But the tone of the article is plainly ideologically pro-choice driven. An abortion may be legal, but it’s nothing to be proud of. And if it merits getting your picture in Reuters, then how about your name? Or is that another privacy issue. Too much hypocrisy more my taste.

Posted by From_California | Report as abusive

Religion has a lot to answer for, limiting sex education by pushing abstinence as a realistic way to avoid unwanted pregnancies and then claiming ownership of women’s bodies and what they do with them. Its like women are second class citizens that the state owns. Fundamentalists are all the same, Evangelicals, Taliban, whatever

Posted by nolemming | Report as abusive

“they do not use it as birth control. All of them felt that they were not ready to be mothers and that if they were to have a child”

Kinda seems a contradiction, no?

Regardless, I have to question how hard the author cherry picked her subjects. Finding 5 women who’ve ended the life of their fetus, and feel no regrets, would seem to be quite a feat.

Posted by Jameson4Lunch | Report as abusive

I think the thread here is demonstrating the authors point exactly. Having gone through the procedure myself (a decision I did not take likely) I do not regret it. I was on birth control and in a committed relationship. It happened and I knew I was not mature enough to handle the pressures of motherhood. It takes a much more courageous women to make the more difficult decision to have the abortion. I do believe there should be time limits on the procedure; however, every time legislation has been written for this (which would pass) the line that identifies the EMBRYO as person is snuck in and there goes the chances of the bill being passed. I know far more women who have children that weren’t ready and those poor children live with either unfit, abusive and/or neglectful parents. Also, the right wing conservatives want women to not abort pregnancies, yet they crucify those same women when they ask for social services. Hypocrites? I think so. And just to remind you ladies who try and push religion as an argument, we live in a country where there is a separation of church and state. No religion can tell anyone what to do legally.

Posted by Forsa | Report as abusive

Abort their own unwanted children and have no regrets in doing so. That pretty much sums them up completely.

Posted by stambo2001 | Report as abusive

But look at the level of pain in each of their faces. So much pain. Even in the eyes of the photographer herself (upper right). No words can cover that.

Posted by AdvocateforLife | Report as abusive

I found this story very disheartening. Abortion is such a final solution, and testimony that we as a society have failed to provide the care for those among us in need.

Posted by PeterBarlow | Report as abusive

It would be nice if the author, who beleives we need to discuss this, had some kind of idea how to discuss it.

“I just had an abortion.”
“High five!”

Even if for the sake of argument we assume that abortion is completely morally permissiable; when do you bring it up if not politically? It’s not exactly the kind of casual conversation that people have around the dinner table.

Posted by TheDigDeeper | Report as abusive

psssssssssssst this article is junk.

Posted by BioStudies | Report as abusive

During my undergraduate studies, I spent two and a half years with a woman, who I loved deeply. She studied abroad during the summer between her Junior and Senior years. After visiting her parents for a week or so, she came to stay with me for two days before going abroad. She had stop taking the pill while at her parent’s, because she thought she would not need contraception while away. We discussed the situation prior to engaging in intercourse — she decided that because she had just had her period it would be fine to have unprotected sex. She did not like condoms, nor did I. We concieved a child in those 48 ours.
Upon discovering her condition, she was scared but adamant about having the child. We loved eachother and what else really mattered, right. In the weeks that followed her mother convinced her otherwise. Her family was well off — you might say rich. She had a Mazda sports convertable as a highschool girl and had attended the best schools her state offered. Though I was scared myself, i supported her decision to keep the child. I set the wheels in motion, reparing to provide for her and the coming child. I laid out a plan graduate within the following six months, find full-time employment (Iwas already working in my choosen profession part-time) and provide for her and a child. I had and have a good solid family who would help us in anyway possible. I understood that she would need to finish school and would want to seek advanced degrees. I was prepared to sacafice my ambitions to further hers, but the die had been cast before I had a chance to see her. At the end of the summer, she went home o her parents. Against the wishes of her mother, I traveled across the country to be there during the procedure and lend physical, financial and emotional support. The procedure did not take very long. She was sent out of the clinic barely able to stand, due to sedatives – i believe. She bled a considerable amount over the following 48 hours, but was not in great pain. We lived together for ten months after the abortion. Our relationship was strained. I was broken hearted and could not really accept the loss of our child. I doubt I was able to provide the emotional support she needed in this trying time. Several days a week for at least six months, I would find her in the bathroom crying. I do not believe she would say that she reretted this abortion. I did.

Posted by MikeKaplan | Report as abusive

The abortion issue is muddled with many variables. It depends heavily on which religion you subscribe to, what stage of life you are in, your perceived knowledge of biology and fetal development, what stage of life you are in and how far along the pregnancy is. Some women believe aborting an early term fetus is murder and will choose to give it up for abortion while others will be tormented to have the baby and then give it up to other people to raise. That is precisely why we will never agree and should be left up to the woman to decide.

Posted by Humanist11 | Report as abusive

As a college student studying during Roe vs. Wade, our public speaking professor gave us the difficult assignment to take a side and defend our position. Choosing was not easy, but I went with pro-choice and struggled with that ever since.

I’ve known many women From high school age through mature adult who had abortions and not one of them is unscarred by the decision and experience.

Concerning your broad statement, “and none of them regretted their decisions,” using terms like “none” is shabby journalism and I’m being polite. Are you trying to convince yourself abortion is benign?

Posted by GSH10 | Report as abusive

Why are there no smiles?!?!?!

I had an abortion 16 years ago and have never looked back. Abortion is none of your concern if you aren’t the one pregnant. It’s none of your business. The decision to have an abortion is not made lightly and has lifelong impacts, that are not always negative as the antis would have you believe.

If you don’t like abortion, don’t get one. BUT you damn well better be pushing for comprehensive sex ed in the schools, handing out condoms everywhere you go, and making sure oral contraception is cheap and accessible for those who need it. You can’t be anti abortion and anti access. It’s a contradiction that is causing way too many unwanted children to suffer in the U.S.

Posted by ChoiceAlways | Report as abusive

Wow. Some of these comments really highlight the issue at hand: Either you believe all women are whores and murderers, or you believe women are people who are capable of making difficult decisions about their lives and the life/well-being of potential offspring.

I applaud the courage of this article’s writer, probably knowing that it would inspire these kinds of horrific comments that you can all see here. I also applaud any women who has had to face that choice, no matter what outcome she chose. It can’t be easy.

Posted by SmittenKitten | Report as abusive

I try to look at all sides of an issue. But what really convinces me that there is nothing wrong with abortion is this. 40 million women have had abortions. A significant number of them don’t regret it. How many women have killed their newborns? You see, abortion just doesn’t “feel” wrong, and infanticide does. Even if infanticide were legal I don’t think it would happen very often. Lots of really nice caring women have abortions. How can this be, unless there’s really nothing wrong with it?

Yes, some women are emotionally distraught after an abortion. I too cried all the time after losing a child. But in my case it was an adoption that fell thru at the last minute. There can be reasons for feeling upset after an abortion that have nothing to do with whether it is murder or not.

Posted by verdulo | Report as abusive