Thursday, February 22, 2007

Abortion On Demand: A Psychoanalyst Takes A Look

From the comments box at Shrinkwrapped two days ago, in response to a posting [second of a two part posting]

You're not kidding the piper must be paid. My girlfriend had an abortion in 1986. She told me afterward she overheard the nurse tell the doctor, "It was a little girl."

I am now in my early 40s, looking at the young adults who would be my daughter's age, possibly her friends. I am horrified when I remember what I have done, and I am horrified when I remember that I've forgotten her for a day, or a week, or more. I have confessed this to a priest, etc., but at the end of the day, I will have to face that little girl, whom I couldn't be bothered to love enough to let her have a life she was entitled to and I had no right to interfere with.

I can't imagine what I'll say. Sorry somehow doesn't seem enough for the crime. And no, I have never had another opportunity for a child, not that another child would make up for what I've done. I suppose whatever happens to me, I'll deserve.

In this same posting, Shrinkwrapped notes:

This is clearly analogous to our society’s reaction to our children. The "good" children are wanted and valued; "bad" children are dehumanized and their destruction is thus facilitated. When one needs to kill another person, they must first be dehumanized.

Abortion by choice is a very different proposition. From an early point the pregnancy is psychologically attacked. By assaulting the humanity of the future child, both the good and bad aspects of the fetus are repressed. The parent disowns and disavows the clump of cells and repudiates it in the strictest terms. In such cases, mourning is either discouraged or overtly denied. Consider the behavior of the radical pro-choice groups who treat abortion as a triumph to be emblazoned on T-shirts. This is a reaction formation of the most obvious kind. Not only do they announce they have had abortions, but it is a "life affirming" action; nowhere is the painful reality of a life terminated allowed to enter awareness.

In the women I have seen, and in many of the men who have lost "children" through a girlfriend's abortion, the disavowed infant lives on in the unconscious. When explored, they often become aware of their repressed feelings of loss and sadness. There is often significant guilt involved in such choices, since they know full well that they chose their own gratification over the chance for life of a new child. The guilt is compounded by the knowledge that they were afforded a chance they have denied to someone else. When, because of complications, or repeated abortions, a woman finds she has diminished her chances of having a child later in life, the guilt and sadness is compounded and often becomes a source of depressive attacks on the self.

Many women, perhaps most, who have had abortions, will at some point go through the difficult and painful mourning required to forgive themselves and release the lost child, but it is rarely easy. Those who refuse to go through such a mourning process are liable to more serious troubles. There is a very good case to be made that radical pro-choice groups which demand that abortion on demand remain legal up until the very moment of birth, are struggling with murderous rage and unmetabolized ambivalence. They invariably direct their rage at those who would "chain" women into servitude by forcing them to carry unwanted fetuses.
Take a moment if you can to read through it. Some helpful observations on our [shocking] attitudes towards the unborn.


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