Dear Woman (& partner) who regrets their abortion

Dear Woman (&partner) who regrets their abortion,

One of the saddest things about today’s Society For The Protection Of The Unborn Child protest was the sight of a man wearing a T-shirt saying “I regret our Abortion” and praying fervently with his rosary beads.  I also read about another woman at the same protest who regrets her abortion (I’m not sure if the two were a couple).    I felt so sad that this man felt the need to make a public (and humiliating) penance for a choice he and his partner had made.

I wanted to cry.  Please please never regret decisions you made which you thought were for the best at the time.  No-one enters into the decision to have an abortion lightly – it must be a terrible decision to have to make, but to have all this sadness and regret eating up your life years later- well that’s just not healthy either.

I had a look at the number you were holding up for women (and partners) to phone and go to for help if they had an abortion. It lead to ARCH- Abortion Recovery Care &Helpline (which I won’t link to from here because I think it’s an awful site), where the very first thing the website does is encourage guilt, shame for the abortion through the scrolling stories of all the people who had an awful time of it (who look like googled creativecommons “sad people” to me- with random quotes next to it, but I really hope the website wouldn’t be so evil as to put made up regret stories on there. Or am I being naive?)  So how exactly is that going to help people stop regretting and move on- or is the aim ultimately to shame and guilt people into joining SPUC and reinforce their regret, so they have more people to stand and try and dissuade people from choosing abortion?

Thing is dissuading people from making choices by talking about your own choices DOES NOT WORK. Yes it may make people think but ultimately each of us are responsible for our own actions and our own choices.  If after making that decision/action/choice we realise it was the wrong choice, then we must learn from it and move on. But beating yourself up continually for it- well I feel terribly sad for you, for how can you be happy if you are continually looking back and not moving forward?

Please stop letting your previous abortion ruin your current life, celebrate what you do have instead of beating yourself up for your past.

Thinking of you.



P.S I just read this incredibly brave and moving post from @moonbeatle where she talks about her abortion and the choice she has made and her life now. She shouldn’t and doesn’t feel regret for her choice and I for one am sure she is much much happier for it.  I do hope you find peace with your own past choices soon.


6 responses to “Dear Woman (& partner) who regrets their abortion

  1. The ultimate aim of the (doubtless mostly fictional) “regret” stories is twofold: to make women who may need an abortion in the future approach the decision with guilt & fear; and to make women who have had an abortion think back on it with guilt and fear.

    On my personal scale of despicable vermin, those who lie to women about abortion and play on their vulnerability to induce self loathing, shame and grief are below even those working to outlaw abortion outright. Their _only_ aim is to make sure women suffer; if not through having unwanted children (which these so called baby lovers like to refer to as “consequences”, because hey, nothing shows your commitment to children more than implying that babies are punishment for fucking), then at least through regretting the moment of careering insanity in which they actually thought they could take a responsible, autonomous decision about their fertility.


  2. Great post. I do feel for these people who feel regret over their abortions (encouraged by the church) but it is arrogant for them to suppose other people’s situations are the same as theirs, & to try and put thoughts into the minds of other people.

    Caitlin Moran writes very eloquently on an abortion she had in How To Be A Woman.

  3. The thing I find most puzzling about abortion regret stories is the – to me – very immature assessment of what regret means, where people choose to interpret regret as evidence that a person did the wrong thing.
    Although of course regret can be synonymous with remorse it can also simply be sorrow, a feeling of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction. I’m 43 and my life is littered with regrets. Some small, some huge. Some as a result of genuine mistakes, where I wish I’d taken a different path, and some where I know I took the right path, but where the choice I was making was between two difficult options, both of which would contain some pain and sorrow.
    We can make thoughtful, considered, moral, ethical, CORRECT decisions, and still feel some regret. We see the ‘pros’ of the situation we avoided and compare those with the ‘cons’ of the place we are now in, and the balance swings towards regret.
    An adult who has no regrets has probably been lucky enough never to have had to make a truly difficult decision in their lives.
    For all the rest of us, to exploit and twist any disappointment or sorrow we may feel in order to tell us we are also wrong and bad, is a grievous and unneccessary harm to inflict.

  4. I agree with the article and comments. Feeling sad does not = mental illness and experiencing regret or questioning ones decision does not = wrong decision. We humans are complex beings (yes that’s right even us ladies) and are capable of holding apparently contradictory feelings such as feeling sad about a decision we have made and also right about it. There is also an inevitable imbalance in discussion of post-pregnancy regret because it is impossible for a mother to admit that she regrets having her child though many of us mothers do sometimes revisit that decision and wonder whether we had the right number of kids at the right time!

    It is interesting that the whole concept of regret or post-abortion ‘trauma’ does not show up in the culture in regions where abortion is legal and is considered normal and widely available and widely used. It would be useful to know more about the impact of anti-abortion campaigning on women’s experience of abortion.

    Finally, I do not feel the need to deny anyone their feelings or to minimise them, there are definitely women who struggle with their decision to end their pregnancy. However, I do think that the assumption that others will feel the same, and associated attempt to make them feel the same is morally wrong.

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  6. Pingback: Dear Alpha Parent, re. women giving up breastfeeding “too easily” | Letters From LadyCurd

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