I’m Grateful For My Safe Abortion
I had an abortion when I was 17 years old. I was fortunate to have a safe, positive experience with no health complications and few emotional struggles. I had the privilege of my parents’ and boyfriend’s support. Although I wanted a baby and felt sad that I wasn’t ready, I have no regret about my decision.
I spent the next 15 years drinking and using drugs. I was in no condition to be a healthy, available parent. I know a lot of parents who’ve struggled to stay sober. Some caused irreparable damage and ultimately lost custody of their kids. Although their life lessons are deeply important, I’m grateful my lesson was different. I had time to get healthy and mature before having kids.
That boyfriend ended up moving to a rural town in Alaska and has no desire for children. He told me years later that he had a vasectomy to “prevent further accidents”. I don’t think of it as an accident. My abortion was a mutual agreement to break a soul contract. I believe things happen for a reason. His perception of the event is vastly different than mine. He revisited feelings for me without regarding my desire for kids. He doesn’t get it, and he doesn’t get me. We would have never endured parenthood together.
Back then, I thought we were in love. My intuition told me otherwise. The choice to end my pregnancy was clear and sound. Thank goodness I had the power to choose.
I think it’s important to hear each other’s stories. I tell you mine, with hopes of someone finding it relatable and comforting.
It’s June 3, 1989. We’re naked on my living room floor. I look him right in the eye. He looks right at me. I’m not sure why we decide not to use a condom this time. But we don’t. I’m a teenager and he’s barely 20. We’re horny and impulsive. We have unprotected sex.
About 5 weeks later, I’m watching 5-month old baby Emma. I’m so tired. I fall asleep during her nap. I don’t recall if I know at this point.
My parents take me shopping at Target. I must have taken a test by now, because I’m nauseous and secretly eyeing the baby stuff.
My VW Bug is slow but steady on the drive up the mountain pass. My boyfriend and I met at a camp for adults with disabilities and he’s working there again this summer.
It’s night time. We sit down on a bench. He’s initially happy to hear the news. We hug and smile. Do we actually believe we will have this baby? Apparently yes. For about 2 minutes. Then reality hits him and he gets serious. He’s in college and I live with my parents. We can’t do this right now. We’re so young. And he has plans to finish school. I’m about to graduate next June.
There’s an awkward silence. We haven’t talked about abortion yet. He’s not ready to talk.
My parents already know by the time I tell them. They advise me to get an abortion. I’m not sure, but it seems like it might be the best choice.
We visit a counselor at a clinic that is apparently against abortion. She tries to convince us to adopt. He’s opposed to that, and will not be swayed. I don’t think I could handle giving up a baby brought to term. She never mentions abortion as an option.
It’s July 27, 1989. I’m in a doctor’s office with my mom and boyfriend. Someone gives me half of a Valium while I’m in the waiting room.
He holds my hand through vacuum aspiration of the 7-week old embryo inside of me.
I cry because I’ve always wanted a baby. I’m young and hopeful that I’ll try again when I’m older. But mostly, I’m relieved. I remember my nausea being gone and eating some hearty soup that tastes delicious.
It’s 2019 and I’m a healthy 47-year-old single mother of two daughters, ages 3 and 7. I’ve been clean and sober for 16 years. Their dad and I have an amicable relationship and we all see each other regularly. Although living without a partner and coparent isn’t ideal, it could have been worse.
Abortion was and still is legal in California. I had a partner who cared about me. I had access to Planned Parenthood, but for some reason my parents were willing to pay out of pocket. About $300, I believe. They were emotionally supportive and didn’t shame me.
Many are less fortunate and don’t have my story. Criminalizing abortion and denying access to reproductive health care will inevitably lead to tragic consequences. Marginalized groups and those pregnant by rape or incest will suffer the most.
It’s absurd to assume that everyone will always be able to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. As a self-identified woman with a uterus, I’m flabbergasted that some people without one (namely, identified cis-men in government) could see me as solely responsible for becoming pregnant. As if I did it all myself. Last I checked, my body doesn’t produce any sperm.
Not everyone agrees with my choice. But guess what? They don’t have to agree because it’s my body. No one else has the right to choose for me.
Everyone with a uterus deserves to have control over their own reproductive choices.
Reproductive rights are human rights. No exceptions.
Check out my personal blog at gratefulx365.wordpress.com