Six Top Tips To Avoid Being Despised By Anyone With A Shred Of Humanity: Abortion Edition

[CN: anti-choice, abuse, manipulation, pregnancy, police, miscarriage]

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Remember yesterday’s post about the anti choicers crying for the return of forced labour camps for people who have abortions, after one woman was just convicted of having had an abortion as a teenager? Just when you thought that woman’s situation couldn’t get any worse, it just did. I woke up this morning to an interview in the Belfast Telegraph with her housemates. The people- and I use that term in its loosest sense- who called the police to have her arrested. Those people- one woman in particular- spoke to the paper because they just couldn’t stand people vilifying them on the Internet.

You know what’s a really great way to not get vilified? Not doing morally abhorrent things. Not having a teenage girl arrested cause you don’t like the choices she made about her own body.

This advice is for them.

How To Avoid Being Despised By Anyone With A Shred Of Humanity: Abortion Edition 

1. Don’t use your tragedies to control other people.

“She called the baby ‘the pest’ and kept saying she just wanted rid of it. She said: ‘I don’t want this inside me.’ I offered a number of times to become legal guardian to the child. I myself had just had a miscarriage.

Miscarrying a wanted pregnancy is a horrible thing to go through. If you’re in your late thirties, I’m sure that grief is compounded by worries about whether it’s too late for you to ever bear a child. It’s only natural, then, to feel envious of people half your age who can get pregnant without even trying. That’s got to hurt.

We all hurt.

No matter how agonising our grief, it doesn’t give us a pass to force others to make the choices we would have made. A wanted pregnancy is not the same as an unwanted one. Grief over possibility denied doesn’t give anyone carte blanche to force someone else to give you what you want.

Wanting to be a mother so much it hurts is not an excuse to force the nearest pregnant woman to bear your child.

2. If someone’s half your age, adult up and be the grown up.

The pregnant woman in this case was 19 years old at the time. Her housemate who had her arrested? 38. Twice her age.

In yesterday’s article, the woman shared how alone she felt at the time. Without the support of friends or family, she turned to her housemates for help. Maybe she was looking for a friend. Maybe she needed someone older to reassure her that it would be okay.

I get it. Adulting is hard. It’s tough to remember to get the laundry done before you end up drying a pair of socks with a hairdryer. I’ve made it to my thirties without knowing the first thing about a tracker mortgage, and knowing that I got never get the chance to learn about them keeps me up at night in a haze of “oh god I will never properly adult this is terrifying”.  

Y’know what’s harder than tracker mortgages and laundry scheduling? Empathy. Learning to comfort in and vent out. Setting aside your own feelings when it’s time to be there for someone else. Or if that’s not possible, admitting that you need to put a boundary around being the person who helps this time.

It’s the hardest thing to learn, and we relearn it over and over for our entire lives. It’s also one of the only signifiers of adulthood that actually matters. Most people couldn’t care less if you understand tracker mortgages. But if someone half your age comes to you needing support and you give them judgement? If you make that much younger person’s life all about you? You’ve failed. You’ve failed at adulting up and we will judge you for it. Caring for people young enough to be our kids is Rule One of being a human. Act like it.

3. Respect privacy.

There are exceptions to this. Your local serial killer is out of jail showing no remorse and just so happens to be BFFs with the judge protecting their identity? Yeah, might want to exercise a little civil disobedience.

This isn’t a serial killer. This is a young woman who had an abortion in the privacy of her own home. She is not a danger to anyone. Her identity is currently protected by a court order preventing her from being named- and, more importantly, her personal information is hers to share or withhold as she sees fit.

Wanting to tell your story is understandable. But even if you were hurt by this, this is not your story to tell. It’s hers. Sharing this information is yet another egregious breach of trust.

 4. Remember that your advice is not binding.

“I really tried to help her. I talked through a number of options but she just didn’t want to know,” said the Belfast woman.

“She said she was going to order these pills online. I tried to talk her out of it. She didn’t tell us they had arrived. The first I knew that she had taken them was on the Friday night when she said she was getting awful cramps.”

….

“We tried to help her. She was given lots of different options. We even tried to talk to her family to get them to help her, but we didn’t know them and she wouldn’t give us their contact details. People are saying we contacted police out of malice. That’s not true,” she added.

The second housemate, who has also been targeted by online trolls, said the pair decided to contact police after confiding in a friend.

“We tried so hard to support her when she told us about the pregnancy but it made me so angry when she kept calling it ‘the pest’. Then, after the abortion, she showed no remorse. It was so weird the way she reacted to what had happened,” said the woman.

She came to you for advice. You gave her advice. She chose not to take your advice. You might disagree but you know what? That’s how it works. You can give a friend a thousand recommendations. You can be certain that you know what they should do. And once you’ve said your piece, they choose to take or leave it.

If you can’t cope with that? Remove yourself from the situation. That’s tough if you live with the person, but it’s not impossible. It’s not unreasonable to expect a 38 year old to have mastered basic housemate boundary setting.

You know what you don’t do? Have her arrested cause she didn’t do what you so graciously “advised”.

5. Don’t forget! Other people’s emotions are not yours to control.

The housemates in question are eager to make sure everyone knows that this isn’t about them being anti-abortion:

She said she was upset by the woman’s attitude towards the termination. “This isn’t anything to do with the rights and wrongs of abortion. I’m not anti-abortion. I believe there are circumstances, like rape, where it should be a woman’s choice.

“This is about her attitude. It was as if she was getting rid of a piece of clothing,” she stated.

“There was absolutely no remorse. Even the way she was up and away out and doing her own thing a day after the abortion, while me and our other house-mate just walked around in shock”

Translation: you didn’t arrest her because we’re anti abortion. You got her arrested because she didn’t look sad enough.

Listen, if you’ve just had a miscarriage it must really suck to see someone walking around your house describing her aborted foetus as a ‘pest’. If I were in that situation, I’d be having a chat with her and maybe taking a long weekend to go visit a friend and rant about it all over a few bottles of wine.

You know what you don’t do? Get someone hauled away by the cops cause you wanted her to feel sadder about her decisions.

Other people get to feel whatever emotions they damn well please. They get to choose the words they use to describe their own bodies. Whether you empathise or not doesn’t matter. Her feelings are hers, and how dare you LITERALLY police them.

6. Pay attention! Anger isn’t trolling.

It hurts when people say mean things about you online. I know that all too well. Off the top of my head, I can think of four times in the last month people have targeted their anger at me online. It felt like a punch to the guts every time.

They weren’t always trolling. Sometimes they were- I’d count two out of those four times as pure trolling asshattery. But the other two times? They had a point.

Let’s get back to the housemates:

They said they have been vilified for contacting the PSNI about their former housemate, who this week received a suspended prison sentence after she pleaded guilty to procuring her own abortion by using a poison.

The second housemate, who has also been targeted by online trolls, said the pair decided to contact police after confiding in a friend.

You know what feels exactly the same as being right? Being wrong. And if you’re wrong it sure is easy to shut your ears to criticism. It’s the most natural thing in the world to dismiss angry people as trolls. To say “they said mean things so they can’t be right”.

This time they’re saying mean things to you because you deserve it. You’re being vilified because you are the villains. 

Do you know how I know the difference between the two incidents this month I call trolling, and the two I offer my mea culpas for? It’s not the words they used. One of the trolls is very careful about their language. One of the legitimate complainers straight-up called me an asshole. It’s not how I felt about my actions either. I had the same righteous anger when I was being a legit-asshat as I did the rest of the time.

The difference is context.

The context here? No matter how much it hurts to admit it, you behaved abominably towards that teenage woman. You acted like a petulant child. You threw a tantrum because she wouldn’t go through six more months of pregnancy and gift you a child. Two years on, you’re still throwing that tantrum.

Calling you out on that isn’t trolling, it’s telling you to grow the hell up.

hey, this info might be handy:

If you’re in Ireland, North or South, and you need an abortion, here’s the info on how to get one. That link also includes information on organisations who offer non-directive, non judgemental counselling. If you’re afraid that people in your life might turn you in, please contact one of these organisations instead.

If you’re furious and want to help, here’s a list of things you can do.

Commenting notes

The usual comment guidelines apply. Additionally, in this post I will not allow any comments through that question the right of pregnant people to choose abortion, or that call someone’s character into question for choosing to terminate. There will be future posts for discussing the morality of abortion. This is not that post.


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Six Top Tips To Avoid Being Despised By Anyone With A Shred Of Humanity: Abortion Edition
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10 thoughts on “Six Top Tips To Avoid Being Despised By Anyone With A Shred Of Humanity: Abortion Edition

  1. 1

    Fucking asshole
    This woman thought the teenager should suffer and since she didn’t she used the cops to punish her and make her suffer.

    I lost a wanted pregnancy as well and yes, it was hard. But I never even connected the dots to abortion because those are separate issues. If she couldn’t bear how the young woman talked about the embryo and the abortion she should have told her to STFU because yes, sometimes competing needs are competing needs. Making her hurt for having hurt your feelings is being the textbook villain.

    1. 1.1

      Yep. If the young woman knew about the miscarriage, then maybe her confiding in her housemate was a mistake. But y’know what? SHE WAS A TEENAGER. She was nineteen. I’m not saying all nineteen year olds are clueless by any means (many can run rings around me), but she had one year under her belt of being an adult so errors in judgement are forgivable.

      Her housemate had TWENTY years experience of being an adult. She’s the one with the primary responsibility to adult up and set some boundaries.

  2. 2

    Reading the housemate’s sanctimonious attempt to “set the record straight” really bumped me up another notch on the old anger scale about this. The martyr complex was particularly galling, with her being very careful to mention her miscarriage several times, and even throwing in her mother’s death for good measure. The fact that she claims to be pro-choice is even more infuriating. So it basically boiled down to something like this – Oh you can have an abortion, just as long as you’re sufficiently repentant about it afterwards. Who will decide the sufficiency of that repentance you ask? Why ME of course! Totes pro-choice you guys. Just as long as the choice is the one I carefully lay out for you.

  3. 3

    Basically she’s butthurt about her own perceived failure to become a parent so she decided to cause her much younger roommate a world of misery and shame. My god why some people are allowed is beyond me.

  4. 4

    Having fallen pregnant despite using protection I had an abortion. I felt exactly the same as that young woman and I make no apology for that. I didn’t plan on being pregnant and I wanted that pregnancy ended so I could get on with my life. I’ve never regretted it either. That sanctimonious witch has no right to dictate how anyone deals with abortion and to be honest this is where I get very annoyed with the anti choice lot banging on about how an abortion damages the woman involved. In some cases I’m sure women have regrets but in all honesty the very vast majority of people I’ve spoken to have no regrets whatsoever. They made a decision that was right for them at the time and knew exactly what was involved.
    To quote a blog I read yesterday, I hope those two witches step on Lego every day for the rest of their lives and I will add I hope they have no luck in life.

  5. 7

    Getting a teenager nearly tossed in jail because they cannot control their emotions and be the adult is just about the most despicable act anyone can put the young lady in question through, as if she didn’t have enough to worry about already.

    Has any of these two sorry excuses for a human being stopped to think that she may have made the right choice for her, instead of doing what you want her to? Clearly not, there’s more to having a child then the pregnancy itself, such as the ability to raise the child, getting it fed and clothed, giving up or having to postpone your own goals, etc. All of the above didn’t even enter the minds of the two that turned her in and offering to adopt the child when born because you could not carry full-term is just plain spiteful a reason to turn someone in for having an abortion.

    In my opinion, these people should really remove themselves from the human genepool, because they lack the empathy to be part of it.

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