I have spent 3 years doing patent intake for an abortion provider, and I am amazed by how many women will disclose to me during the scheduling process, unprompted, that they are making this decision despite anti-abortion beliefs. I’m sure that for every woman who announces to me that she disapproves of everything I stand for, ten others feel that way too, but keep it to themselves while interacting with me. After all, it’s not the most self-flattering thing to say. It usually goes something like this: “I don’t believe in abortion, but I just really can’t have a baby because…”
Now, the explanation given is always a completely common reason, just like those given by a pro-choice person: I have to finish school, I just had a baby very recently, I am too old/young, I can’t entangle myself with the man involved with the pregnancy, I have a medical condition that makes pregnancy dangerous to my health, I’m uninsured, I just can’t afford it.
I can only speak about my own anecdotes, but there is a great compilation here of other stories from abortion clinic staff about their experience with anti-abortion patients. It’s called “The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion” and it is well worth your time to read it.
You would expect that a person’s stated beliefs against abortion would strongly reduce one’s likelihood of having an abortion, but it only seems that way because a woman who rails against abortion and lives in an anti-abortion community will have an abortion in secret and take that secret all the way to her grave, allowing her family and community to continue thinking that one of their own would never do such a thing.
My point is: there exists a huge disconnect between what people say or think they will do in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, and what they actually do when the rubber meets the road. There is also a huge difference in perception that results when one segment of the population is honest about the variety of reproductive choices people make, while another segment hides and shames those same choices.