This Abortion Clinic Worker's Post On Reddit Speaks Volumes About The System's Emotional Toll
Choosing to seek an abortion is difficult enough, but what if you were forced to justify your decision to the state where you're receiving the procedure? An anonymous abortion clinic worker posted on Reddit on Tuesday night, pointing out that in the "very conservative" state where she works, the law requires clinics to report the reasons people give for receiving abortions. But, the clinic worker wrote, abortion is an incredibly personal decision, and the circumstances leading up to the procedure are "none of anyone else's business, particularly not the government." As such, she has a very important request of those seeking abortion: In the section of the paperwork asking you for your reasons, write exactly that. (Bustle reached out to the author of the post; she declined to comment for security reasons.)
"There is no good reason for the state to be asking these questions other than they want to shame you and make you feel like you need to explain yourself... to people who know nothing about you or your life," the Redditor wrote. That brought her to a request: "If you find yourself in a waiting room filling out paperwork for an abortion and they ask you what your reason is — if you could go ahead and write NONE OF YOUR BBUSINESS, it gives me great joy to write that on the reports." She added that "if you're not feeling so hostile, 'it's a personal decision' is fine."
She went on to state that while the nurses working in her clinic are willing to have these conversations with their patients, it's in a confidential setting with a professional who respects a patient's privacy. Although the reports to the state are anonymous, she stated that they accomplish little except for forcing someone to explain themself to the government.
"My problem with it is that we already know that comprehensive sex education and access to birth control reduces abortions. ... I don't really see how that contributes anything of value statistically or otherwise, because it's pretty obvious if someone is sitting in an abortion clinic that they don't wish to continue their pregnancy," she wrote in an edit to the post, which appeared in the women-oriented subreddit r/TwoXChromosomes.
The post quickly attracted attention, receiving nearly 1,500 comments in less than two days. Among discussions of reproductive rights and sex education, women who had firsthand experience with abortion chimed in. "I get so infuriated by people who think that women just decide on a whim to have an abortion. ... Like they don't spend days and weeks agonizing over it, only to be told to come back another day because you haven't thought about it enough," wrote one user. (Many states require waiting periods between requesting an abortion and actually receiving one, despite substantial evidence that people requesting abortions are already confident in their decisions.)
Others pointed out the paperwork's inherent guilt-tripping. "What's especially frustrating about this question being asked is that anyone who thinks abortions are morally wrong should especially understand why it's wrong to ask, as the assumption is that they'll feel guilty when thinking about it," read one such comment.
Given the labyrinthine restrictions on abortions in many states, it's not surprising that some states would expect women to explain themselves. Fortunately, even if legislation doesn't make the process any less emotionally taxing, at least clinic workers — like the author of the Reddit post — are doing their best to help women through an already difficult time.
Because it really is none of anyone else's business. So go ahead and make that known.
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