Our Thoughts on A Teen’s Response to Teen Vogue’s “Abortion Gift Guide” Article
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In sitting down to write on this video, I am more aware than I have ever been of how little there is to add to the excellent and well-reasoned words of 16-year-old Autumn from StudentsForLife.org. All I can say is, go, go and watch the video for yourself! Still, I want to add some additional thoughts to what she is saying.
The video is a response to an article described as a “Post-Abortion Gift Guide” in Teen Vogue, which you can read here, or not, depending on whether you really want to go there.
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The idea of the article is to provide teens with gift ideas that they might offer their friend who has just had an abortion. Autumn quotes much of the article in her video response. The list of gifts for “post-abortion care” include a coloring book, chocolate, a heating pad shaped like an angry uterus, a “F U-terus” pin that you can wear and “high waisted period panties”, so you can “rock em for post-abortion woes.” I don’t think I need to spell out much more than what is obvious both from the article and from Autumn’s response: this is wrong on so many levels.
The grotesqueness of this article lies in its twistedness. Evil is a great plagiarizer, it replicates goodness, it repackages it so it looks caring on the outside, leaving the inside, at best, woefully inadequate and at worst, rotten inside. The pro-choice arguments in this article are clear. Presumably, they come from a caring place, but they stop damagingly and dangerously short. In no way am I advocating the article at all. Teen Vogue’s lack of judgment is utterly irresponsible and their flippant, blasé and cozy language is callous.
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However, I want to pick up on the irony of the things they so harmfully offer as some kind of solution and solace to abortion. The author writes that “abortion is something that many woman feel like they can’t talk about, even amongst themselves, which creates a false stigma. The more we hide something, the more confusing it becomes.” So, I want to say, yes! Let’s talk about abortion, let’s talk about abortion-after-care, precisely because abortion hurts women. Let’s not hide it, because the truth of the hurt of abortion is so routinely suppressed that how can anyone openly express regret or pain over having had one?
Let’s talk about shame, because no woman (or man, for that matter, let’s not forget that men are hurt by abortion too) deserves to suffer the effects of abortion in silence. Let’s talk about all that, not in order to give a “cute” toy or a flippant pin as a gift, but because people, real people, deserve better than abortion, better than silence, better than having a pregnancy surgically removed from a woman’s body and then celebrated, or ignored, afterwards.
Let’s talk to our teens about sex, relationships, contraception, and abortion precisely because not talking about it leaves a void so quickly filled by the world’s view. “Just don’t do it” is not enough: chastity is a much bigger yes than a negative rule, we need to make this case clear and appealing to them. We owe it to them to treat them with the intelligence they deserve, not to infantilize them, to respect them and their development, but to not leave them woefully unprepared to face a world where they are bombarded with sexual pressures on every side. We owe it to them to discuss what true freedom is, the freedom for all life to have the chance to make it to birth. We owe it to them to discuss the reasons behind abstinence (and I want to direct you to this excellent article on that matter, as a starting point), we owe it to them to offer them an alternative to the path of casual sex, the stress and toxicity of contraception and the objectification of themselves and their peers.
We don’t owe them quick-fixes or an attitude that stands on the sidelines leaving them to sort out their own problems (see Matthew 7:9). We owe them this as adults. We owe them alternatives to abortion, and if they are hurting from an abortion, we owe them a lifetime of healing. Not an article suggesting one teen gives another a coloring book and some poetry.
Resources that you can turn to on this issue:
These resources can help bring you or a loved one to healing post-abortion, for God can make all things new. He loves you and wants nothing more than to embrace you into wholeness and recovery: