[This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in On The Issues Magazine.]
By Susan Lehman
As the mother of grown children, I have basked in the annual glow of Mother's Day recognition for a long time. Both my family and my community offer me blessings and praise for raising and providing for my children. But one of my most deeply maternal choices, my abortion, does not warrant the same recognition.
Data from the Guttmacher Institute states that one in three women will have an abortion at some point in her life, and that the "reasons [women] give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life." Even more significant as we approach Mother's Day and as we celebrate strong families, Guttmacher reports that 61 percent of women having abortions are already mothers.
At Exhale, the pro-voice organization creating a more supportive and respectful social climate around abortion, where I serve as a counselor on our national multi-lingual talkline and as a moderator for our online community, I hear from women of all ages talk about abortion and parenthood. I hear some young women speak quite longingly of motherhood, and who wonder if they have lost the opportunity to be mothers. Women who already have children speak of what they have lost, and a few worry if they have failed as mothers. Others call to feel supported for doing what they know to be a responsible, parenting decision.
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