DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, I met a gentleman, and he eventually decided we were "soul mates." I agreed. Over time, we shared our life stories, good and bad. I confided that I'd had an abortion at the age of 18, which has haunted me all my adult life.
Recently he was reciting a chronology of my life. When he got to the abortion, he said, "... and then you became a child murderer." His comment stunned me. He finds nothing wrong with it. Was this total disrespect, or am I overreacting? -- STUNNED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR STUNNED: That "gentleman's" remark was not only disrespectful, but also incredibly insensitive and wrong. It is not against the law to terminate a pregnancy in this country. It is a right that many women -- and men -- fought hard to achieve.
Because each woman's circumstances are unique, this deeply personal decision is made for a variety of reasons. Like yourself, women experience a range of emotions afterward -- including feelings of sadness and anger, but also relief. For this person to have made such an insensitive comment should be a clue that he may not be your soul mate after all.
Because of stigma that, not surprisingly, can cause feelings of shame, many women choose to remain silent about their decision to have an abortion. A resource that could be helpful to them -- and to you -- is Exhale (exhaleprovoice.org), a nonpolitical, nonjudgmental support organization for women who have had an abortion. Please check it out.