I love abortion. I don't accept it. I don't view it as a necessary evil. I embrace it. . . . And I bristle every time a fellow activist uses a trendy catch-phrase or rallying cry meant to placate pro-lifers. The first of these, “Make abortion safe, legal, and rare!” has been used for decades as a call for abortion rights.
Safe and legal are concepts I fully support, but rare is something I cannot abide. I understand the theoretical mindset: it is better for a woman to prevent an unwanted pregnancy than to bear the physical and financial burden of an abortion. While my own abortion involved very little pain and a minimal financial expense . . . even I can admit that using condoms or the pill is preferable to eight weeks of nausea and weight gain. Contraception is a valuable tool.
However, there is no need to suggest that abortion be rare. To say so implies a value judgement, promoting the idea that abortion is somehow distasteful or immoral and should be avoided [emphasis added]. . . . Nevertheless, . . . we must remember that extenuating circumstances like health, contraceptive failure, and rape mean that abortion will always be a normal, necessary, and reasonable choice for many women. As such, we must avoid stigmatizing it in any way. No woman benefits from even the vaguest insinuation that abortion is an immoral or objectionable option. . . . Terminating a pregnancy is not an unethical act, yet suggesting that abortion should be rare implies that there is something undesirable about having one.
Similarly, I've heard reproductive rights activists claim that “no one likes abortion,” in an attempt to find common ground with anti-choicers. While it may be true that no one likes the physical act of having an abortion (any more than she may like her yearly mammogram, life-saving chemotherapy, or temporarily uncomfortable dental surgery), a great many women like abortion itself. They like knowing that an unwanted pregnancy does not have to yield an unwanted child. They like knowing that their mental and physical health take precedence over an embryo. They like knowing that they own their bodies. . . .
Suggesting that abortion be “safe, legal, and rare,” and crowing that “no one likes abortion,” accomplishes nothing for women's rights. . . . What good is common ground if it must be achieved at the expense of women who have had or will have abortions? . . . [W]omen who value their freedom should be proud to say that they like abortion. In fact, they should venerate it whole-heartedly. Abortion is our last refuge, the one final, definitive instrument that secures our bodily autonomy. What's not to love?