Nearly one in three women in the United States will have had at least one abortion by the time they reach menopause. Some will have had more than one. Where are they? In a recent piece on the New York Times op-ed page, I called on them to break their silence. Thanks to clandestine videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion outfit, Planned Parenthood is in its hour of need. Independent clinics all over the country are closing due to laws that purport to protect patient safety but are actually intended to put clinics out of business. Ostracism, death threats, bombings, and arson are driving providers out of the field and discouraging new ones from entering it. Restrictions intended to shame women and raise the cost of abortions are heaping up. As Rabbi Hillel famously asked, “If not now, when?”
It didn’t take long for pro-choice activists to remind me that many women cannot tell their story. They would be disowned by their families, shunned in their communities, beaten by their men, and subject to all kinds of harassment, online and off.