We don’t need your forgiveness

Maria Esquinca, Managing Editor

Abortion. It’s a word we don’t like to mention, talk or think about, although it is one of the most common and safest medical procedures.

It silently exists around us, unacknowledged, but ever present.

According to the Guttmacher institute, about half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy, and nearly three in 10 will have an abortion, by age 45.

It’s more common than we ever acknowledge, erasing social and class lines.

• 58% are in their 20s;

• 61% have one or more children;

• 56% are unmarried and not cohabiting;

• 69% are economically disadvantaged; and

• 73% report a religious affiliation.

Your best friend, mother, sister, cousin, girlfriend, a trans man with a uterus–these are people in your life, who at one point, driven by their circumstances, made a choice to have an abortion.

A choice, granted by autonomy and a right granted by “legality.“

Now, think about that choice. It’s bridled with judgment, shame, confusion and secrecy.

One of the reasons for this in Texas is the government, run by a conservative leadership, which has continually tried to hinder access to abortion by passing laws targeting abortion clinics.

But another one of the reasons abortion is so controversial is because of the Catholic Church, and their stance on the issue as an outright immoral act.

In order to deal with what Pope Francis calls the “widespread and insensitive mentality” that “has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life” –the “tragedy of abortion,” he has granted priests the “the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion–those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”

Now, it’s fine and dandy that the pope has decided to open the gates of forgiveness. 

However, it implies that women, or people with uteruses, are still in the wrong. They are acting “immorally.” It does not change the narrative. It doesn’t revolutionize the way we talk about abortion. It follows a didactic rhetoric that continues to tell people that have abortions that they are in the wrong, and should repent.

I find this particularly patronizing considering the fact that the in the same letter, the Pope adds that he is “well aware” of the “pressure” that leads women everywhere to seek abortions.

To the pope my sincerest reply is, we don’t need your forgiveness. There’s nothing to forgive.

What’s immoral is using a document that is over 3,000 years old to justify the shaming and public condemnation of people who have abortions–to strip them of their liberty and freedom of choice.

Let’s change the narrative.

To the one in three women, who had or will have an abortion, you don’t need to be forgiven.

Maria Esquinca may be reached at [email protected]