Bazelon tracks precisely one woman — Rhonda Arias — who says abortion was bad for her — and only very lightly, in the context of how the same woman now is an evangelical minister who counsels and ministers to other post-abortive women in prison. She gives lots of details about the woman — her past abortions, her preaching style, her emotional religiosity, her messed up childhood, etc. — and yet because the perspective of the author is so clear, it makes it hard to trust that her descriptions are in good faith. Rather, I kept wondering why this was the woman Bazelon chose as her lead/only anecdote.
What annoys me more than anything in abortion coverage is how the stories are always so political. This story is entirely political — about the politics of the abortion movement and (without realizing it, it seems) about the politics of the science surrounding whether or not post-abortion syndrome exists. And the reporter takes precisely the angle you would expect from the New York Times Sunday Magazine.
She then explains that the women who are pro-choice are muzzled about talking of darker effects, because they fear they will be used politically to abolish the legal right to abortion. So they pretend.
A corollary to this would be the fact that pro-life women are likewise forced to pretend when it comes to their own trials. Women with several children are unwilling to discuss natural topics like the "price" of pregnancy (i.e. the physical toll), the demands of meeting the needs of many ages at once, the challenges of adolescents, the rigours of scheduling in a large family, the price of organised activities which can be prohibitive with many eager bodies, etc., because the expected response (accompanied by blank, exasperated stare) is: "You shouldn't have had so many kids!"
Pro-life families have their struggles, but each mother I know feels she needs to be the poster girl for joy, serenity, and order (when we're pulling our hair out behind the scenes just like everyone else). It's only in the closed trusted circles of like-minded women that we can be brutally honest about what openness to life demands, with others who will pray and encourage them without attacking life itself.
Bottome line: the politics cuts both ways, keeping both sides from the honesty that would be a true tonic to all women.