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You don’t know whom you don’t know

Do you know someone who has had an abortion? Yes, you do – even if you don’t know it.

2 min read
Photo by Timon Studler / Unsplash

I now teach the cutest kids in the world at an elementary school, but I didn’t always. I used to teach high school; at various times, I taught Spanish, English, Advanced Placement Literature, and humanities. And I learned something there that actually applies to abortion. (Stick with me here!)

Most of the time I was teaching seniors, so I had a little shtick I did with them to instill in them (sometimes even successfully!) that they had to keep focused once they got to college. It was something a wonderful teacher passed on to me when I was starting out.

“On your first day of college, do this in your first class. Look to your left. Now look to your right. Look at the person in front of you, then at the person behind you. Then consider this: One of you will not be coming back for the spring semester. Don’t let that person be you.”

One of out of four college freshmen don’t make it to the second semester, whether due to too much partying, not enough preparation, lack of money — whatever. And you can use that same trick to realize that you know a lot of women who have had an abortion.

One out of four women will have an abortion sometime in their lives. And they don’t all live in New York City or Berkeley. In 2017 (the most recent year provided by the Alan Guttmacher Institute), 2,250 abortions were performed in deep-red Mississippi, a state with super-strict abortion restrictions. Wyoming is the least populous state in the Union, with a mere 579,000 residents. Even so, in 2017, Wyoming had two abortion clinics and 140 abortions. That doesn’t include women who self-administered mifepristone at home and, therefore, don’t pop up in statistics. So you already know someone who has had an abortion — even if you think you don’t. Probably a lot more than one.

The women whom Right to Life paints as selfish, abnormal, even criminal, are your neighbors, your friends, maybe your sister or daughter or mother. Or grandmother.

So the next time you are in the grocery store, or at a meeting, or just out observing other people, count four women. And realize that at least one of them has had an abortion.

Women who have had abortions aren’t them – they’re us.


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Ivonne Rovira

Ivonne is the research director for Save Our Schools Kentucky. She previously worked for The Miami Herald, the Miami News, and The Associated Press. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)



The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

A very light news day, with most of the focus on the arrest of the golfer at the PGA last week. Of note, though, is Heather Cox Richardson’s summary of President Biden’s commencement speech at Morehouse.

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