Guest post by Margaret E. Hynes, University of South Florida Students for Life
Graphic designs of pink, yellow, orange, and blue flowers. Pastel pink bubble lettering and youthful, beautiful, beaming women. A jaunty, cheerful atmosphere and pleased demeanors permeated with one horror – an abortion book for children.
The @whatsanabortionbook Instagram page asking for donations on Kickstarter for their new children’s book titled What’s an Abortion Anyway? includes flowery graphics and placid videos explaining the concept behind the book. According to their website, the “intention for this book [is] to be a starting point – just one initial resource for parents, caretakers, and those wanting to talk to the young people in their lives about abortion care.” It is written by Carly Manes, “a white, queer, Jewish full-spectrum doula from New York,” and illustrated by Mar, “a brown genderqueer cultural worker and full-spectrum doula.” They have dedicated the children’s book to “anyone who has ever had or will ever have an abortion(s).”
A full-spectrum doula is an individual who provides support and guidance throughout a pregnancy, including birth and the postpartum period, and typically does not have formal obstetric training. Doulas are birth workers who are supposed to lend a hand to women throughout their pregnancies and even after their pregnancies.
Not only is this book written for young children, but it is also written and illustrated by two doulas. Doulas almost exclusively serve as emotional support during the birthing process. They enter the “business” out of a love of women, babies, and birth, which renders this scenario even more shocking. Through this book, these two doulas are condoning the violence of abortion and the harming of women.
Abortion has a variation of potential physical risks not only for the preborn child, but for the woman as well. Physically, if the abortion goes as planned, the woman can potentially experience damage to her cervix, heavy or persistent bleeding, abdominal pain and/or cramping, scarring of the uterine lining, breast cancer, and/or future premature birth(s) or miscarriages.
If the abortion does not go to plan, the woman faces the risk of infection or sepsis, placenta previa, perforation of the uterus, damage to other organs, death, and a plethora of other various complications including cardiac arrest, endotoxic shock, major unintended surgery, and/or undiagnosed ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Not to mention the potential mental health risks of abortion: suicide, regret, substance abuse, sense of loneliness or isolation, loss of self-confidence, insomnia or nightmares, relationship issues, depression, and/or the development of anxiety disorders.
The hypocrisy behind this book pervades their website and Instagram page in ironic waves – two birth workers crowd sourcing funds to write a children’s book celebrating abortion, celebrating death, celebrating violence.
According to their Instagram page, they are almost 75% funded – their campaign is planned to fund not only the printing of their book, but to also provide a copy of the printed book for every abortion facility in the United States. Their website provides a ‘media kit’ for funders to further spread the word about their Kickstarter campaign across various social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
One graphic included in this ‘media kit’ states that their book “is a medically accurate, non-judgmental, and gender inclusive resource for young folks about abortion care. In this book, you’ll learn about what an abortion is, some of the reasons people have abortions, and a few of the ways people might feel about their abortions.” The graphic includes cheery drawings of a butterfly, stars, and blooming flowers against a white background. Some of their other graphics include drawings of young women who have experienced abortions, with phrases like “I love my body” or “People of all genders have abortions.”
A book condoning the death and violent ends of preborn children is not beneficial to young children, nor is it helpful to women. In fact, given that abortion can render women infertile, this book seems quite counter-intuitive for two people in the birth industry.
Their page talks of inclusivity and community; of coming together as one people to provide this “resource” for the younger generations. The termination of innocent preborn children is the antithesis of these goals, and even more so is the proactive way Manes and Mar have created this project. The ideology behind this book is so incredulously convoluted it is baffling.
We should be sharing with young children the beauty of acceptance, of love, and of peace. If these doulas want to spread a message of ‘womanhood,’ ‘inclusivity,’ and ‘community,’ they should write a book incorporating true feminism and true virtue – saving the preborn, lending a voice to the voiceless, protecting those who can not protect themselves, and helping women in need during their pregnancies and beyond – the real job description of a birth worker.
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