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Sunday, 19 January 2020 22:31

We are missing the point about Michelle

Written by

Michelle Williams speech at the 2020 Golden Globe awards has sparked much debate among abortion advocates and prolife communities, the former applauding her courage and decision making, and the latter vilifying and condemning her.

This condemnation and hostility is disappointing given the compassion and support toward women that could be extended, and is professed to be extended by prolife groups. Let’s break down what Michelle says.

“To choose when to have my children and with whom, when I feel supported and able to balance our lives…’

Given what we know about the reasons women have abortion, this should have alerted those who understand the lives and decisions of women to the actual issue:

“When I feel supported”

Most women have abortions because they lack resources, whether financial, material, or relational, to continue a pregnancy.  They have abortions because they are taught from an early age that to be successful they must strive for education, career advancement and they must not under any circumstances allow unwanted children to interrupt the path they set before them.

When a woman experiences an unintended pregnancy she get messages such as ‘it’s YOUR decision‘ and ‘you will have to choose’ and ‘if you have this baby you will pretty much be on your own’.

It is as though the pregnant woman is isolated from all potential supports or encouragement and isn’t even allowed to consider the ways she might be helped to continue a pregnancy.  In fact, such help seeking would be a sign of weakness, a vulnerability at an already vulnerable time that can feel very unsafe.   Few women hear the ways in which they can continue a pregnancy and NOT be alone, but be supported to still pursue other paths, achieve great things, and not carry the burden alone. Worse in some ways are the messages I still see among many prolife groups that demonstrate concern only for the baby a woman carries and not for woman as they promote the removal of her baby after birth as a way to meet her needs.

They are not hearing it now from all those busy judging and condemning Michelle Williams and such hostility will be no encouragement for any woman to feel that she can share her grief or regret after abortion, a not uncommon, but largely silenced experience.

Another interesting and revealing statement by Michelle was this.

“…when it is time to vote please do so in your own self-interest. It’s what men have been doing for years, which is why the world looks much like them…’

This statement also typifies the largely negative attitudes that men live with today, that they are self-interested and without care and concern for women.  Interestingly the blame for how the world looks is laid at their feet instead of at the foot of the feminist movement that has driven the abortion discourse based on ‘women have to be like men in order to achieve’.

The best and most efficient way to do that was to control women’s bodies, their biology, so that they ‘fit’ the way society operated.  In doing so, they have perpetuated a society that just makes it harder for women to experience true choice.  The world looks much like men because feminists told women they had to BE like men.  They held men up as the ideal and said ‘what do we need to do to be like that‘ instead of saying, ‘how do we need to change society to meet women’s needs’.

I wrote about this here

How did it happen that women led the charge to freedom by telling each other that there are no sacred ties; that the only way to have all that men had was to give up all that women had?    How is it that women attributed so much greater value to men’s worlds that they not only willingly gave up the value of their own, but now they encourage other women to do the same no matter what the cost?   How is it that we lost touch with the strength and value of ourselves as women and allowed these to be labelled and demeaned as weakness?

 Now we have a society where women are uninformed about the potential grief and trauma following abortion, yet still lack the structure that will support them in different decisions.  We live in a society dominated by one acceptable thought regarding the issue of abortion that denies women access to information, resources and supports to exercise any actual right they should have to their own free decision-making.

What are you doing to create actual change rather than sitting in judgement on all those women (and men) just doing what the dominant message tells them is ‘best’?

Debbie Garratt

Researcher and Counsellor

Debbie Garratt is a Doctoral Researcher and Registered Nurse, founder of Real Choices Australia, a research and education organisation dedicated to ensuring the dissemination of accurate information about the needs of women experiencing challenges during pregnancy and early parenting, and about the adverse impact of abortion.   Underpinned by experience across a range of sectors as a counsellor and adult educator for almost 3 decades, along with 2 Bachelor Degrees and a Master’s Degree, Debbie’s expertise on the issues of abortion and coercion, and breaking down the ideological barriers to abortion discussion is highly sought both nationally and internationally.

Through the Pregnancy and Parenting Care Network, Debbie has developed standards of practise for pregnancy support services and professional development education programs which are used nationally and internationally.