In today’s Irish Independent there is an article by Celine Naughton entitled “Why women shouldn’t think of abortion as a ‘dirty little secret”. The article is about a new website which has been set up by two women Lynn Coles and Bernadette Goulding and which aims to provide support to women who are struggling after having had an abortion.
Bernadette Goulding is quoted as saying “we can’t change the past, but we can spare people years of suffering and help them move forward to a brighter future.” A good idea surely. Not according to the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
The article quotes Susan McKay, director of the NWCI as saying “the NWCI supports a woman’s right to choose. Abortion is a serious undertaking and women don’t go into it lightly but for many it is the right decision. And while there may be sorrow, there is no need for remorse or regret.”
This position of the NWCI underlines beautifully one of the fundamental problems with the feminist movement in Ireland. It does not embrace all women. Just like the constant campaigning for better child care and shared parenting, we hear little about supporting women who choose to take a break from the world of work to stay at home and look after their children. It seems to be assumed that all women want the same thing. That we all define ‘success’ in the same way – and we don’t.
Now it seems that our reaction to abortion should be the same – no remorse, no regret. Women (like men) are not a homogenous group. We are not all the same. I am not at all surprised that some women feel deep hurt and regret after an abortion. Why are these emotions not considered a valid response to a huge event in a woman’s life?
I support a woman’s right to choose – in every sense. In her choice of work, in her choice of childcare and I certainly would wish to see women who are hurt by abortion being supported in their journey back to wellness.
As I have written before, march on sisters but remember many of us are hearing a very different drum.