* this article contains mentions of abortion and several personal stories
The choices we make are ours alone.
Whether those choices are painful, easy, fun or deeply troubling the decisions that we make and the consequences they reap are ours to deal with.
So, when someone decides to turn a decision that you’ve made into a personal attack, what do you do?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Turbulent_Animator69 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for telling my brother-in-law he’s a walking advertisement for abortion?”
OP began with horrible news.
“My wife was more than five months pregnant when we learned that our daughter would not survive outside the womb.”
“We were devastated, as this was a very wanted pregnancy.”
“My wife made the difficult decision to have an induction abortion.”
“The procedure itself went as expected, and she is physically fine. Emotionally, we are both still grieving. I was with her the whole time.”
“Yesterday, we had a family gathering.”
“My family knew we were expecting, and I had the horrible job of telling them we had lost the baby.”
“My parents and sister expressed their sympathies.”
Then OP got to the issue that brought him to AITA.
“However, brother-in-law who is extremely pro-life, throughout the night told my wife repeatedly that she was a murderer and that she killed her own daughter, and all sorts of other awful things that made her feel much worse.”
“I was appalled when I caught him doing this, and my wife was on the verge of breaking down all over.”
“I yelled at him, pointing out how he had gotten a DUI in the past that put another person in the hospital, how he was working a low-paying job selling cigarettes that kill thousands of people every year at a convenience store.”
“And how I had needed to bail him and my sister out financially more than once for medical reasons.”
“Then I ended with ‘If anything, you’re a walking advertisement for abortion. Your mother probably wishes she had aborted you’.”
“I took my wife home, furious.”
“Then later, I got a call from my sister.”
“She apologized initially, saying she realized what her husband had said was out of line, but then tried to justify it by pointing out that he was raised to believe abortion was wrong.”
“I should have been more understanding, and it was unfair of me to point out his past struggles when he had been doing better recently.”
“I cussed her out and hung up, but now I’m wondering if I did go too far?”
In retrospect, OP had to wonder:
“AITA for basically telling my brother-in-law he should have been aborted?”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Commenters were direct in their judgments.
“Your BIL’s attitude is incompatible with compassion and his timing is atrocious.”
“There are some moments where the person who loses their cool and says something hurtful gets a pass and having to terminate a wanted pregnancy is up at the top of the list.”
“Big hugs to you and your wife. BIL needs to attend his own life choices” ~ MadronaPDX
“His attitude is also incompatible with being considered family.”
“OP – don’t bail out BIL, or your sister, when they get into financial trouble again.”
“Bail outs are for family, not abusers and their enablers.” ~ HellcatPaz
The appalling nature of the comments convinced some to vote outside their norm.
“Usually I’m not someone who agrees responding by going low or insulting but seriously?”
“Screw this guy.”
“He’s an awful person.”
“He’s not your wife’s dr, child’s dr, you or your wife, he gets no say at all.”
“If the loss of a child’s life is so tragic to him maybe some sympathy for the horrible choice you had to make should have been his first step.”
“I’m so sorry for your loss.” ~ [deleted]
“Same, going low when someone pisses you off is usually an asshole move.”
“But in this case, what he was saying was so horrendously nasty, and lacking in empathy, that I feel he deserved everything OP said.” ~ VisualCelery
Others called nonsense on BIL’s history being a good reason.
“Also, the ‘excuse’ of him being raised this way is not an excuse.”
“I was raised in a very religious household who viewed abortion as murder, and it would have never come to my mind to insult someone for choosing to terminate pregnancy to prevent further suffering of the baby.”
“Even at the time when I was extremely pro-life.” ~ miilimay
“My grandma is Catholic.”
“She was born in Italy, hears Latin mass when she can, goes to church daily when she can.”
“She never re-married after her divorce because according to the church, she was still married.”
“My uncle and his wife had trouble conceiving, and when she got pregnant with baby #2, baby had anencephaly, aunt terminated.”
“Grandma, someone ‘raised to believe it was wrong’ was very supportive.”
“She would likely find something stabby to take care of this BIL with though. There is literally no excuse for how he behaved.” ~ HonPhryneFisher
“Even if, devil’s advocate, it is a justifiable excuse for BIL…”
“Why isn’t it an excuse for OP that he was raised to believe that women have bodily autonomy, and defended that?”
“It can go both ways or neither. F*cking sick of ‘they were raised that way’ only being used to justify acts of malice and moronity.” ~ yaaqu3
And for some, it was about a more fundamental issue.
“Even if it was more of ‘unwanted pregnancy’ abortion he has an complete A.”
“It is the woman’s choice whether it is right or wrong.”
“There was substantial reason to this medical procedure that some in pro life circles actually could stomach a carve out for.” ~ Shadyside77
“Because they only think about ‘trailer trash’ people wanting an abortion.”
“When it’s their mistresses child they are usually happy to abort.”
“It’s playing god in a lot of peoples minds. Off course they don’t care what happens the minute after the child is born.”
“But that’s a whole other story.”
“A few years ago there was an interview with a ‘pro-life’ law maker who had been advocating against abortion for over 10 years.”
“The interviewer asked; why do you think women would seek an abortion. He was scrambling for an answer, said uhh the money.”
“Interviewer: What about rape or birth defects or genetic predispositions to problems? Uhh never really thought about any other reasons.”
“Have you ever asked a women why she got an abortion? No no, not really.”
“Why not? Don’t you think it’s good to know why women would want an abortion. No, not really never thought about it, it’s just wrong, god said it’s wrong.”
“I can’t find a link to the interview I’m talking about unfortunately.”
“Just gives an idea on how some people think. This guy was trying to get abortion to be illegal again for over 10 years and didn’t even take the time to ask 1 women why she had an abortion.”
“They don’t care about the reasons why. They just want to pretend to be better.”
“I’m thinking if you think your going to hell for having an abortion, fine don’t have one. Don’t make legislation based on your believes and force others into it.” ~ Newkittyhugger
There were also painful, personal stories.
“I had a medically necessary abortion once (would have been an abortion either way) but it definitely caused some feelings I never expected.”
“To harass a woman who made the difficult choice to abort a wanted pregnancy?? Unconscionable.” ~ sloth_needs_a_coffee
“I had an ectopic pregnancy once.”
“Didn’t want a baby at the time, but I still grieved. It messed me up emotionally for a few months.”
“I can’t even begin to imagine the pain OP and his wife (and all the other Redditors sharing their stories here) are going through.”
“Hard NTA.” ~ Smoldogsrbest
“I’ve had both an abortion and a miscarriage of a baby I planned to keep.”
“The abortion hurt just as bad as the miscarriage. If anyone had the audacity to give me shit about either they better be ready to catch these hands.” ~ hoemapa
“I almost bled to death with my only child.”
“I got pregnant years later and the child had anencephaly.”
“Not compatible with life.”
“Why would I risk birthing complications and leaving my 7 year old son for a child who would never ever live.”
“Still, I got shunned by my extended family and called a murderer. I’ll never understand.” ~ deathtomutts
OP did return with some final thoughts.
“Thank you all so much for the support.”
“My sister called me a few hours ago, and we talked.”
“It turns out she didn’t know what he had actually said.”
“He made it seem like he had just said he disagreed with abortion, which I would say is still unacceptable to tell grieving parents.”
“But when I told her what he actually said, she was horrified.”
“She apologized profusely and is now considering leaving him (there were a lot of other red flags in their relationship).”
“She’s now fully on our side and can’t believe her husband could be so vile.”
Let us be very clear.
A person’s right to bodily autonomy is not negotiable. Whether the pregnancy is wanted or not wanted for whatever reason, a person’s right to decide what happens to their body is not debatable.
No matter what your personal beliefs on the subject, kindness and compassion should be the default response to another human being in pain.