PSA: Blogging an Abortion

Aug 27 2008 Published by under Public Health

I cannot look my political and public health self in the eye if I do not sack up on this one. I endorse the blog format for conveying personal stories of a potentially embarrassing nature if they have the potential to demystify healthcare procedures. Anything that helps people to seek out medical care where there might otherwise be mental barriers is a GoodThing. Major, major props to Abel Pharmboy for liveblogging his vasectomy, Janet for blogging her mammogram (with additional public health followup) and Zuska for blogging a D&C.
Today I direct you to a somewhat more controversial topic.


If there is a decision for a medical procedure that is more sensitive than that for choosing an abortion, well, I can't imagine what it might be. I don't think I need to draw a map as to why it is important to have relatively-anonymous sources of information available.
This blog details "What to Expect When You Are Aborting". Why?

1. I spend a lot of time reading blogs. So when I found out i was knocked up I obviously googled "abortion blog". The shit that came up was absolutely awful and distasteful propaganda. I thought the next time some one googled it this might show up
2. I'm kind of lonely kind of scared. Need a way to organize my thoughts. This just felt natural.

Whoever you are, major props.
[h/t: Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde]

15 responses so far

  • MM says:

    "If there is a decision for a medical procedure that is more sensitive than that for choosing an abortion, well, I can't imagine what it might be."
    From personal experience, the decision to pursue gender reassignment would be right up there. The difference being, it's probably easier to find objective, first-person information regarding "What to expect when you're changing your sex" than it is to find objective information regarding "What to expect when you're aborting."

  • neurolover says:

    The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion (Paperback)
    by Gloria Steinem (Foreword), Angela Bonavoglia (Editor)
    Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion (Paperback)
    by Karen Bender (Author)
    This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor
    by Susan Wicklund (Author)
    not blogging, but first person stories about pregnancy termination for the lonely young woman.

  • DuWayne says:

    I think this is great, though I agree with MM that gender reassignment is up there (having lived with an old rommie, when she actually had her surgery, I would argue that it surpasses abortion).
    The great thing about the blog format is the ability to garner not only responses, but build a conversation. I would really love to see more of this type of blogging. Indeed, it makes me think that someone blogging their gender reassignment would be brilliant. It would certainly raise awareness of exactly what it's all about and what it's like for the individual going through it.

  • speedwell says:

    Just out of curiosity, would you feel the same interest in someone blogging about having surgery performed on their digestive organs in order to lose weight (such as a stomach stapling or lap band procedure)? Is that just disgusting and pitiful, where abortions and gender reassignment surgeries are, forgive me, "sexier?"
    I'm absolutely 100 percent behind the right of any person to have any surgery they think is medically and emotionally necessary. It strikes me that people can convince themselves abortion is something other than an admission that something went badly wrong, and that the gender reassignment process isn't heartbreakingly difficult and traumatic in its own right. But nobody seems able to convince themselves that fat people aren't revolting subhumans who deserve surgical punishment to rehabilitate them.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    would you feel the same interest in someone blogging about having surgery performed on their digestive organs in order to lose weight (such as a stomach stapling or lap band procedure)?
    Yes.
    Is that just disgusting and pitiful, where abortions and gender reassignment surgeries are, forgive me, "sexier?"
    No.
    nobody seems able to convince themselves that fat people aren't revolting subhumans who deserve surgical punishment to rehabilitate them.
    Huh? The overweight are not revolting subhumans, no. It is pretty clear to me that people who are appropriate for surgery are well beyond any common conception of willpower and well into biological issues which may be amenable to medical solutions. I am not sure that surgical interventions should be viewed as "punishment", they are voluntary after all.

  • MM says:

    Speedwell,
    I would, in fact, be interested in someone's blogging about their stomach stapling/lap band/gastric bypass, etc. I don't know many people who have pursued these procedures, and I'd be interested to hear how the patient's life is affected (other than "I lost weight.").
    That said, bariatric surgery has been around a while, and it's MUCH more common that abortion or gender reassignment. Its effects are generally much more visible to the public as well (You can't tell that someone's had an abortion by looking, and many transpeople go to great lengths to keep their history private). If the general public isn't terribly interested in hearing about someone's weight-reduction surgery, it probably has less to do with animus towards fat people than it has to do with the procedure's lack of novelty.

  • DuWayne says:

    speedwell -
    For my part, I am actually find medical procedure blogging fascinating. I read all of the post listed above and have read many others. The vasectomy blogging was particularly useful, because I have made the choice to stop reproducing and reading about other's experiences with it has been rather comforting.
    As for disgusting and pitiful, that is an apt description of my old roomie (and dear friend's) experience with sexual reassignment surgery. Not the decision to do so or the surgery itself, but the experience of it all. After the surgery, she was hospitalized five times in three months for clinical depression, twice after suicide attempts. I spent many an hour just cradling her head as she wept. The reason that I jumped on gender reassignment, was precisely because the experience of it is almost always ugly, painful and traumatic. I don't think that most people grasp just what gender reasignment is all about and certainly haven't the foggiest clue what transgender people go through. Blogging the experience is a way to share that and create a discussion around it.
    For the same reasoning, yes, I would be keen on seeing people blogging obesity surgeries and the like. I am all about seeing the misunderstanding or complete lack of awareness that many people have about so many things that are part of the human condition dissapear. Not that they need all start cheering for the same things that I cheer for, just that it would be nice for people to get some perspective from people that they may, or may not disparage for some reason or another.
    I also love people who blog their coming out experience, something that I, as a non-homosexual will never be able to experience first hand.

  • neurolover says:

    "bariatric surgery has been around a while, and it's MUCH more common that abortion"
    Seems unlikely to me (though I agree that it's probably more common than gender reassignment). Abortions are actually pretty common. Comparing 2002 for the two procedures, we have approx 70,000 cases of bariatric surgery, and about 1.2 million abortions.
    People often underestimate the number of abortions, and that's a reason why not being secretive is of benefit to others.
    http://archsurg.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/140/12/1198
    http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2003/01/15/nr_011003.html

  • neurolover says:

    PS: Only women get abortions, though, which maybe another reason people underestimate their frequency.

  • One of the first blogs I read regularly was Just Tenured by PowerProf - she was(is) a NYC-based prof who blogged extensively about her general academic activities, bipolar disorder, cooking, and relationships.
    When she found herself pregnant, she blogged over her agony of deciding whether to see the pregnancy through vs. having an abortion. It was a very public discussion and the majority of her readers were supportive of her no matter what she chose to do. When she decided to have an abortion though, several antiabortion blogs really got on her case in a very hostile and hypermoral manner and her blogging trickled off to the point of her blog disappearing about a year-and-a-half ago. It's a terrible shame for her to have suffered from this while suffering privately - I also miss her as a blogger because she had so much to add to our discussions in the academy.
    I too give major props to the blogger you cite and wish her well.

  • MM says:

    #8 "bariatric surgery has been around a while, and it's MUCH more common that abortion."
    My bad (sloppy editing). That should have read:
    "bariatric surgery has been around a while, and it's MUCH more common that gender reassignment."
    I agree that abortion is probably much more common than most of us think it is. The aforementioned blog aside, how many women talk about their abortion matter-of-factly? Some are ashamed of the the pregnancy or its circumstances, some are afraid of the consequences if it becomes common knowledge, and some just feel that it's private.

  • leigh says:

    i think different personalities have tremendously different reactions to such a decision. some people are ok with talking about it, others are not. i hope that blog helps someone who is in a similar predicament who maybe can't bring themselves to talk to anyone.

  • Meli says:

    http://www.imnotsorry.net/ is a wonderful resource for people looking for positive stories from women who made the decision to have an abortion and who don't regret it or feel bad about it.

  • jennifer Hoff says:

    read this please! You will not believe it! k...in our country, we allow abortions up to 8-9 months...FULL-TERM! Google "partial birth abortions" and if you can stomach it all, google the images as well. Baby is pulled out by the feet to where only the heads still in, they stab scissor tools into the back of the neck, then pull out the brains...god...takes 8.5 months to realize you should have called the trojan man. Baby is alive, awake and feels it all! Call 1800-395-help. 24/7 verification on what I am saying. I am pro-choice to an extent and under certain circumstances but this? Oh no, no, no. WTF???? I had no clue until my sister found out and decided to tell me tonight. I researched, and called that # and it is true! A fucking real, live, ready to live child! A woman can get prison for abandoning her child anywhere other than at a safe haven...well I now think, at least it gets a chance to cry for help! Who has this job anyhow????? I used to think people with abortion signs were mean and torturing young girls for "choosing" but now I see that the signs are there for shit like this and I feel compelled to join in....people need to know this! I mean...should this be called an "abortion" at this point? Really? I think its beyond that....it is delivering, then murdering an infant. I do believe women should have a choice to end a pregnancy but this is not the same as that. Abortions should be done early and before hearts beat...still not great but it is not a living breathing child....they say the use this "technique" because the bones are now solid and a DNC cannot be done. WTF???????
    Need abortion?
    For women seeking abortion solution and help at very low cost. Online !
    http://www.pregstop.com Um...thats a nice website advertisement!!!! Pregstop...like its a fucking shopping mart!! grrrrrrr

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