Celebrating Abortion Activism on Mother’s Day

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

In my inbox this morning is an e-mail from the National Organization for Women. Mother’s Day is Sunday and their card for mothers includes a banner urging us to “Keep abortion and birth control safe & legal.” 

The card says, in part: 

You Marched …

You Rallied …

You Spoke up … 

So I could be me! 

Happy Mother’s Day! 

I know it’s imperative for branding purposes that arms of the abortion industry be seen as mainstream as, well, moms and apple pie. But for anyone born in the last 41 years now, it is of course despite abortion being legal that a daughter or son is here to send or receive a Mother’s or Father’s Day card this month or next. Perhaps NOW counts on people not being reflective about it — a strategy that has largely worked up until now?

If Planned Parenthood or NARAL Pro-Choice America haven’t sent out their e-card mass mailing yet, they might consider something more direct:

Thank you, Mom, for not being that wedded to your principles. 


I survived the “freedom of choice.” Thank you, Mom! 

Or, maybe:

I’m alive! Thank you, Mom. 

Motherhood requires even more courage because of the work of the likes of NOW. What’s all the more heartbreaking — and maddening — is that those sending the NOW e-card probably don’t realize it. Or even as they might be living it, they are complicit, and perhaps embodying the pain of the campaign for “choice” that has in many ways created a cultural expectation for one above others. 

This Mother’s Day, forego the NOW card, but smile all the more with a tender compassion when you pass a woman on the street. She may be a mother who was told to pretend she wasn’t, who can’t celebrate – or even as she celebrates, bears the wounds of the mother of a child she never held who has been called a choice.