There are many rites of passage during one’s teenage years. Often, there’s first love followed by first heartbreak; learning to drive; adapting to the stress of academic pressures; and handling the demands of extracurricular activities. And now, according to Teen Vogue — a girl’s first abortion?
A recent article in the magazine was entitled “What to Get a Friend Post-Abortion” — which sent the very clear message that abortion is a breeze. All a girl — and specifically a girl and not woman — needs is a heating pad and a supportive BFF to get through the experience. “The worst part of all this isn’t the procedure itself (which by the way is completely safe as long as you have access to a good clinic),” wrote Whitney Bell, the author of the piece. “The worst part is how you’re treated afterwards.”
“The worst part of all this isn’t the procedure itself (which by the way is completely safe as long as you have access to a good clinic). The worst part is how you’re treated afterwards.”
Vogue, parent magazine to Teen Vogue, often portrays Planned Parenthood in a heroic light. It’s no surprise, then, that Teen Vogue would carry this same message while vilifying any pro-life effort — and marketing the procedure to underage girls.
This is not the first article Teen Vogue has published with a pro-abortion bent, but it is certainly one of the most blasé. There are tips for how to help a friend “cheer up'” after the procedure, but not a single tip involves dealing with the potential guilt and emotional trauma that may overwhelm a young woman for the rest of her life.
There is mention of how others, likely pro-life protesters, will judge a girl post-abortion. But there’s no discussion about the people who will help her find healing from a decision she felt she had to make. There’s no need for forgiveness, in other words, because abortion is not wrong. According to the article, abortion is nothing more than a simple “solution” to a pesky pregnancy problem.
What makes the article so offensive is not the cutesy merchandise that’s suggested, including an “angry uterus” heating pad, or the blatant support of Planned Parenthood. Instead, it is the effort to convince young women, still too young to even purchase alcohol or vote, that abortion is not a serious issue.
Teens are caught in the transition between childhood and adulthood. They are vulnerable in every way: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Most struggle to build relationships with their peers while maintaining harmony with their families. Sexual activity has always been significant, either in temptation or in reality during this time of rushing hormones and changing bodies.
But if the agreed goal for both pro-life and pro-choice activists is fewer abortions — then why is there not an effort to accurately inform all women, but specifically young girls, including teenagers, about the serious repercussions of an abortion? Why is there such focus on assuring teenagers that an abortion is no big deal?
The Planned Parenthood website takes pains to reassure potential patients that they might experience a “range of emotions after having an abortion. Most people feel relief, but sometimes people feel sad or regretful. This is totally normal.”
The effort to make regret “normal” is an attempt to eliminate the validity of the emotion itself.
All abortion, even chemical abortion, is physically traumatic. Abortion is by definition the ending of a pregnancy. That means that the natural course of pregnancy must be stopped, terminated, discarded. At the very least there is bleeding, the passing of clots, and cramping. There is also the potential for complications, as with any surgery, no matter now minor. And there is a risk that the “normal” feeling of regret will grow into significant guilt or depression.
There is also the lie that those who are pro-life are judgmental. Certainly, all people, regardless of their political or social persuasions, carry some sense of judgment. However, most pro-life individuals are simply passionate about the lives of the “unwanted” babies that are being aborted every day.
Like so many problems in society, the need for abortion — and the aspiration to normalize and justify it — is a result of a spiritual void. If the basis of one’s identity is anything other than the foundation of who God created that person to be and His love for that individual as a person, then one’s perspective is easily warped.
Most of us would never scold, reprimand, or mistreat a young woman who chose to have an abortion. We would hurt for her because she felt that was her best option. We would grieve for the baby that was lost. And we would pray for healing.
I, for one, would hope that we could become a society that would agree to protect not only the unborn but all children who have not yet reached adulthood — and who are incapable of making such grown-up decisions on their own.
Katie Nations, married for 15 years, is a working mother of three young children. She lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.