How many abortions are too many?

// 21 November 2005

Is it worse to have two, or four abortions than it is to have one? That is the question Jennifer Baumgardner (co-author of Manifesta) tries to answer on AlterNet today.

She notes that the abortion-positive message behind films such as ‘Speak Out: I had an abortion’ and the I’m not sorry website tend to falter when a woman has more than one abortion.

Is this because it is more complex? The movement to take the stigma out of abortion has a very important place. But is there a limit, perhaps when abortion ‘becomes’ birth control?

“‘There is something in that moment where you are supposed to smarten up,’ agrees Jenny Egan, a twenty-five-year-old ACLU staffer who had an abortion at age sixteen. ‘That is your one fuck-up. [After that,] birth control can’t fail and a condom can’t break.’ But, as Jenny points out, the shame is often not the abortion itself — it’s not the idea of killing a second baby when we are only allowed to kill one — the shame is the shame of getting pregnant. It means that you don’t having enough control and power to take care of yourself.”

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