Growing up, I always read Teen Vogue and considered it to be an incredibly woke publication discussing mental health in celebrity interviews, as well as other social issues, and having a relatively diverse model base. So naturally as I grew older and moved away from the print publication, I still followed Teen Vogue on social media and only paid a little bit of attention to it, but not much really. Then one day, something caught my eye, it was an article shared on Facebook titled, What To Get A Friend Post Abortion, although, what came up on my feed was, 11 Thoughtful Gifts Your Friend Who Just Had An Abortion Would Appreciate. I could not believe my eyes and did a double take before clicking on the article to see for myself the extremely deceptive, nonchalant language about what gifts to buy your friend after they have an abortion.
First, the article normalizes abortion to be a “simple procedure” that is no big deal, as long as you have “access to a good clinic.” The Hush documentary made by a pro-choice filmmaker, Punam Kumar Gill, who criticizes the pro-choice community for not talking about the links between abortion and breast cancer, preterm birth and psychological harm uncovers viable links that show abortion as not being as simple as women are being misled to think it is. One of the gifts that Teen Vogue even suggests you to gift your friend are period panties because “there will be blood” for days afterwards. That doesn’t make abortion seem like such a simple procedure, does it?
Then, the article misleads young people in how to support their friend who is strong enough to admit she has had an abortion and needs support. The article suggests that gifting material items will be the answer to your friend’s emotional and physical pain, but your friend deserves so much more than “empowering” women products like a girl power hat or a uterus pin. She will be feeling low and empty and probably will not feel empowered at all. You need to treat it as something serious and scary because it is and let your friend mourn her loss. Give her hugs, let her cry on your shoulder and point her to resources that can help her. It angers me that the article points to the worst part of abortion as being “how you are treated afterwards” then, proceeds to degrade the act as being able to be healed by a 90s cult classic movie or a necklace. A gift will not help heal your friend’s broken heart. It will make her more confused on how she can feel so broken, but someone she considers to be her friend just wants to watch a funny movie or thinks gifting a material item can take away her pain. Your friend deserves better.
The article states that, “making this decision is never simple, and having to make it as a teenager is more than a little terrifying,” which is absolutely true. For a person no matter the age, it may be the biggest decision they have ever made and it shouldn’t be taken lightly at all. It is a decision between life and death and should be treated as so. If you have a friend who opens up to you post an abortion, you should give her all the emotional support and resources you can possibly offer. Here are some organizations that you can share with your friend that will help you give her the support she needs such as nonjudgmental counseling and care:
National Helpline for Abortion Recovery - 1-866-482-5433
Abortion Recovery InterNational - 1-800-395-HELP
Rachel’s Vineyard – 1-877 HOPE 4 ME
For local pregnancy resource centers visit healingafter.com and enter your zip code.
Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, you have the power to give your friend the support she needs if she opens up to you after an abortion and needs help. Please give her the respect she deserves as a human being instead of criticizing her or playing off the seriousness of the situation with a simple gift like Teen Vogue suggests.