The video and story of Emily Letts are making the rounds of the internet right now, so you probably already know all about her. If not, let me fill you in. Emily is a sex educator and abortion counselor at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey. She had a surgical abortion with local anesthesia at the Women’s Center, which she filmed and submitted to the Abortion Care Network’s Stigma Busting video contest. The video has gone viral.
She also wrote an article for Cosmopolitan, explaining why she filmed her abortion. She says she did it in an effort to combat the notion that all women who have an abortion are emotional, guilt-riddled messes. She also says that she wanted to bust the myth that an abortion is a dangerous, scary procedure by showing women exactly what it’s like to have one, while it’s happening. If you’re interested, you can read her article here.
I am not writing this to argue for or against the practice or legality of abortion. Those cats been let out of the bag, and they can’t be stuffed back in. A raft of rhetoric swirls on both sides of the debate, and we’ve all heard it all. I’m not trying to add to anyone’s load of guilt, or frighten anyone. However, I have alot of issues with Emily Letts’ experience and her treatment of it.
For starters, in the article, she admits that she wasn’t using birth control when she got pregnant. Really? You’re a sex educator and abortion counselor, and you weren’t using birth control? That is not only irresponsible, but incomprehensible. It appears that Ms. Letts has been an avid student of human reproduction and birth, and an abortion advocate, for quite some time. She has seen many women come through the doors of the Women’s Center whose lives are in turmoil because of unwanted pregnancy, and yet she didn’t feel the need to protect herself from the same situation? “The guy wasn’t involved in my decision”, she says – but she doesn’t say whether he was informed, either. She claims that, shortly after scheduling her abortion, she decided she needed to use it to help other women who are facing the same decision. Her recounting of the situation is unconvincing. My first question, which is still floating around in my mind, is whether this was an actual accidental pregnancy or a set-up for a provoking video and a whole lot of attention.
Then, she goes on to describe her abortion experience ….
“I remember breathing and humming through it like I was giving birth. I know that sounds weird, but to me, this was as birth-like as it could be. It will always be a special memory for me. I still have my sonogram, and if my apartment were to catch fire, it would be the first thing I’d grab.” She later says “every time I watch the video, I love it”. Vacation videos, wedding videos, birth videos, abortion videos …. All equally precious and uplifting, I guess? Emily’s gushing about a video of herself having an abortion is disturbing – and, frankly, insulting to women who take their choice seriously and can’t describe it in such airy, glowing terms.
Emily is right – there are lots of women who have abortions with no regret, or even a second thought. To these women, it is an easy solution to an undesirable health issue. However, I doubt that they consider their terminated pregnancy to be a special memory. If conception and subsequent abortion are no big deal, why does she still have her sonagram and count it among her most precious possessions? Does anyone other than me find it bizarre and repugnant that she adores the image of a baby she had killed by doctors? I know, I know – to supporters of abortion, it’s not a baby, it’s a clump of cells. But that’s not how Emily herself sees it. In her video, she says “I am in awe of the fact that I can make a baby, I can make a life”.
No, Emily. All the mothers out there who are raising and nurturing their children every day, all the mothers who cannot be with their children but chose to give birth to them all the same – they made babies. They made lives. You had the opportunity to make a life. Instead, you chose to end life, and use the footage as a publicity stunt.
Note: A complaint I’ve read frequently is that pro-life publications use photos of nearly full-term fetuses to add to the guilt of women who have had or are considering having an abortion, when the majority of abortions are performed very early in pregnancy. So, the image above is not anywhere near that. It’s an embryo just six weeks after the sperm hits the egg. It’s past the stage where it’s shaped like a cocktail shrimp, and now resembles an alien. But nobody can look at it and deny that it is human. Until now, I wouldn’t have thought that anyone could find its destruction to be a triumph worthy of filming and fond reminiscing. Then came Emily Letts.