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Abortion: Grief, suffering – or relief?‏

By Evelyn Tsitas - posted Wednesday, 6 April 2011


Does society ignore the pain abortion causes women? Or do we prefer not to hear the truth that what a great many women feel about abortion is blessed relief.

The later is not popular with so-called right to lifers. It goes like this - human life is sacred, so to terminate the burgeoning of that life is to commit a heinous crime. The only way this can be justified is with the satisfaction of knowing that the woman doing so will suffer for the term of her natural life. If not beyond.

Many years ago, I wrote a newspaper column saying that the women who get upset after abortion are the ones who choose to get upset - probably because they really did not want to have an abortion in the first place. However, a great many others – for whom abortion was their choice, for whatever reason - accept their decision, are relieved by it and move on.

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Both the column and my opinions have never gone away. They pop up Melinda Tankard Reist's book Giving Sorrow Words: Women's Stories of Grief After Abortion. Melinda Tankard Reist is a Canberra-based writer, speaker and commentator, with a special interest in issues affecting women and girls.

The 2010 book is the result of a small newspaper advertisement asking women to discuss their abortion grief. A total of 250 women responded and 18 were chosen for the book.

According to a recent review on the Catholic Online website the book "gives voice to the voiceless: those women who had abortions and are suffering as a result." (March 22)

The reviewer, Andrea Mrozek, of the Canadian pro-life website The Interim, takes me to task for my views.

My quote? "Abortion can be an emotional subject, particularly for people who choose to get upset about it. There is a movement taking hold called: 'I'll always regret what I did and want to burn in hell for it."

Mrozek writes: "Tsitas might not have scribbled those words had she had the opportunity to read but one of the stories from Giving Sorrow Words. Each woman is unique but two ideas unify the voices. The first is the myth that abortion is a neutral or easy choice. The second is that abortion is actually a choice."

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Actually, I carefully wrote rather than "scribbled" those words and I would do so again, even though I would now write from a different perspective – that of a mother.

I was a much younger, childless journalist back then. I now have two children, and have co-authored and published a book on high risk pregnancy. Handle With Care was written to give dignity and a voice to the countless women who struggle against the odds to become mothers because of an underlying medical condition, or because something goes terribly wrong in pregnancy.

The book was a result of my personal experience, and that of co-author Caroline van de Pol. We had both been through high risk pregnancy and found there were no books for the average reader on the subject.

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About the Author

Dr Evelyn Tsitas works at RMIT University and has an extensive background in journalism (10 years at the Herald Sun) and communications. As well as crime fiction and horror, she writes about media, popular culture, parenting and Gothic horror and the arts and society in general. She likes to take her academic research to the mass media and to provoke debate.

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