I Call B.S. On “Abortion Addiction”

Irene Vilar rebelled against her “controlling” husband in the most unique of ways: by having abortions. Lots of ‘em. From ages 16 to 33, Vilar said she had 15 abortions and now calls herself a recovered “abortion addict” and mother of two.

Have you ever heard of “abortion addiction”? No, me neither. But Vilar has written about her “abortion addiction” in her new book, Impossible Motherhood: Testimony Of An Abortion Addict, which describes how when she was a young woman, Vilar said she married a 50-year-old man who jerked her around emotionally, so she would skip her birth control pills just to rebel against him. Discovering her pregnancies excited and scared her at the time, a rush Vilar likened to the same kind of “high” that a “druggie” feels. Vilar also tried to commit suicide several times.

Considering how ashamed and fearful many women are sharing they’ve had one abortion, it’s pretty annoying that a woman gets a book deal for telling everybody how she’s had over a dozen. Yes, it’s Vilar’s right to have as many abortions as she’d like, and it’s great Vilar is still pro-choice after all this. But everything about Impossible Motherhood is unrepresentative of what an average women’s experience with abortion is.

  1. The reality is most women don’t have double-digit numbers of abortions.
  2. The reality is many aborted pregnancies were either accidental or dangerous to the life of the mother or baby, and not something the woman herself planned by skipping birth control pills.
  3. The reality is the link between having an abortion and suicide is negligible to non-existent.
  4. The reality is “abortion addiction” isn’t a trend.
  5. The reality is that having a tabloid-y phrase like “abortion addiction” in our vocabulary isn’t helpful for anybody.

Anti-choicers often depict abortion as a big, bad, horrible thing that happens to a woman and screws up her life up forever. Thanks to Vilar talking about “abortion addiction,” I can totally imagine women who want an abortion hearing from someone: “Well, you might just have one abortion now. But you could get addicted and have three or four or five abortions … or who knows, even 15? That’s how many the woman with the abortion addiction had!”

I believe Vilar may have used pregnancy as a way to control her ex-husband, which is sad in and of itself. But her life sounded quite troubled to begin with: Her two brothers are heroin addicts, her grandmother spent 25 years in jail for storming the U.S. Capitol with a gun, and, when Vilar was only 8, her mom killed herself by jumping from a moving car. Baggage, much?

Not that I blame her for her sh***y childhood, but Vilar sounds like she has issues completely independent of her propensity to get abortions. Maybe those issues would have made for a better book.