By Juniper (Texas)
I was 23 years old, college student dating a recent college graduate and I became pregnant. We were not in the position to assume this responsibility (I was on the pill) and decided to proceed with abortion.
I remember the day, still keep the medical papers. My husband knows the choice I made and he was very happy for my decision.
Due to my decision, I graduated college, commissioned in to the Air Force (now a veteran), have my Masters degree, and a successful career in non-profit management. I have traveled to 26 countries (and counting) and I love my husband!
We have chosen a child-free life.
Choice is extremely important to me, my family. I will protect it in any way possible.
by Rosalee (United Kingdom)
I went for my surgical abortion yesterday, 9 1/2 weeks along, first one I’ve had. I’m 24 and it was totally the right decision. I’m on a low income, halfway through my degree, battling with chronic depression and PTSD, living with my dad (who is ill), and the father (of the child) does not want to be involved. Not ideal circumstances. I’d always wanted to bring a child up in the best environment I could give it – I myself grew up on benefits with single, mentally ill mother and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
My previous doctor had told me I was infertile because of PCOS, and I took her word for it. As a result, I wasn’t too worried about protection (once STD’s had been ruled out). I was pretty sad about that, because I’ve always wanted kids, and I was in two minds about the pregnancy when it occurred. My current doctor reassured me though – If I’m able to do it once, chances are the soil is pretty fertile down there. So, that being the case, I decided to go ahead with the termination.
I have to say though, the saga that led up to the abortion was a lot worse than the procedure itself. Not because of the hospital (which was great, actually, really lovely staff, female surgeon, totally non-judgmental). No, the real saga was the reaction of my family members and the father. None of them were Christian, in case you are wondering. They considered themselves “spiritual”.
When I told him, the father’s ever-so-helpful response was; “I had a dream about this – that you came to me and told me you were killing our baby boy”. This, in spite of the fact he WANTED me to have an abortion. But, he believes he is psychic, which is why I called the whole thing off two weeks before I knew I was pregnant. The fact that he assigned it a gender was disturbing – I felt like I had been invaded. He then asked me to do a ceremony with him to say goodbye to the spirit.
I cut off all contact with him.
My family have always been pro-choice, or at least they like to think they are. Perhaps it was just being faced with the reality of the situation that turned their heads, I don’t know. We are pretty left-wing and liberal, and gender equality was always an important part of my upbringing. But, in spite of this, I had one older female family member, who is the closest I have to a mum, sit me down and ask me, “What are you doing? It’s not like it’s disabled, for heaven’s sake!” This was the night before I was due to go in to hospital. She believed I had got myself in this situation because I did not want to go back to college (Not true, I very much want to finish my education). She was worried about my Karma, about the long-term emotional damage it would do to me, she thought that deep down I really wanted the child and was too scared to admit it, and whilst I know she was coming from a place of concern, it was really hard to cope with, and more than a little presumptuous. What I needed was for her to support my choice, and trust that I was capable of making up my own mind. I did NOT need her to tell my business to ten other people without my consent. That really made me mad. Some were people I would never have dreamed of telling, including a 13 year old girl, my sister. She is now angry with me for not confiding in her, but when would it ever be appropriate or fair to involve a 13 year old in something like this? No matter how mature she is? Not only that, but this family member told the girl that I hadn’t told her the truth because I didn’t want her to be “disappointed” in me, which had nothing to do with it. I’m not ashamed, I’m not sorry, and I truly believe I’ve made the least selfish choice for both me and the baby. Not even a baby. Embryo. Acorn.
It has felt, very much, that there is a prescribed narrative to how one should react towards an unwanted pregnancy. It wasn’t an easy choice to make. I don’t know if anyone finds it easy. But I’m not wracked with guilt and shame and regret. A little sadness maybe. But I’m not a victim to my choice. My choice has empowered me. I feel ready to get on with my life, and make that choice count.
So thanks, abortion.
by Rachel (Tennessee)
I was in the second semester of my freshman year of college when I got pregnant. My boyfriend of 2 years and I didn’t use protection on Valentine’s day (the only time we had not used protection) and after getting a positive pregnancy test a couple of weeks later, I freaked out. For me, there was no hesitation. My family is extremely Catholic and did not like my boyfriend at the time at all. I could not bear the thought of being ostracized and judged for the rest of my life for just one mistake, as some girls who became pregnant at my high school had. I remember watching their lives deteriorate before them and all their potential wasted. Their boyfriends eventually left them, they did poorly in school and were constantly talked about, and only one or two went on to community college. I have a goal to finish at a four-year university and go on to grad school and I absolutely refused to give up that dream to raise I child I did not even want.
I had just barely enough money for an abortion, which wiped out my bank account completely (but hey, a kid ain’t cheap either!). My boyfriend was really supportive and understanding and drove me to Planned Parenthood, where I opted for a medical abortion to terminate the pregnancy at 6 weeks. The women I talked to in the waiting room were just as relieved as I was to be able to move on with their lives after the appointment was over. I was really nervous before going in, but after sharing stories of how we got pregnant in the first place, we all lightened up and joked around for an hour, which definitely made things easier. After I took the second set of pills a day after the appointment I started to bleed. NOTHING can describe the overwhelming RELIEF I felt that day. I was so, so happy to be able to get on with the rest of my studies and finish out the year.
I am now a sophomore and have not ONCE regretted my decision to have an abortion. I know that if I ever want to have a baby (and I’m still not sure if I ever will) I want it to be when I’m in a stable financial state and a committed relationship. I would never want to resent a child and I know I avoided this. I understand that there are those who are strongly against abortion and would proudly carry out a pregnancy no matter the circumstance, but this choice was mine, and I want others to understand that. I made the right decision for MYSELF and I’m not looking back.
My sister is pregnant. I think she wants to keep it. She is always having sex without condoms with several men and is always telling me that she thinks she’s pregnant. Now all of a sudden she is and she doesn’t know if its her current boyfriend’s or one of three other guys she’s been with. Her current boyfriend is very controlling and says she has to have an abortion and there’s no other way. I had one and although it was the right decision at the time because I was too immature, I still regret it especially since the man that got me pregnant when I was 18 is now my husband and I am sad at not having had his first child. We now have a beautiful baby. I don’t want to tell her about mine since she is really judgmental, but I don’t know how to tell her both sides of the coin so that she can make her own decision and not his. I will support her either way and never judge her, but I just want her to make her own decision. What should I do to help her?
by Deborah (UK)
I’m not mad about all the soul-baring on the internet, but I do think it’s very important that we share our stories about how invaluable access to abortion has been in the course of our lives. Control over when and if we become mothers is vitally important and is very much under threat. If legal, safe, free abortion were withdrawn it would lead us back to to illegal, unsafe procedures or to misery and wasted potential.
I had an abortion when I was 25. I can still see the blue line on the Predictor stick, see the bathroom I was in at the time, see the dressing gown I was wearing. The horror and magnitude of the situation is vivid and immediate, over 20 years on. As I got to grips with it, I did also feel enormous positive sensations – I was capable of bringing a life into the world, an indescribable and powerful new sense of myself and of humanity. But I had barely started work, was living in a rented room, had no money in the bank, felt I was just beginning to get to grips with adulthood and, though I loved my boyfriend with all my heart and he was prepared to support whichever decision I made, he was not parenting material by any means. I certainly couldn’t imagine how I could raise a child, emotionally, practically or financially.
The decision was clear. It was not without sadness – I naturally imagined the happy course events might have taken if my circumstances had been different – nor was it without fear, but it was very clear. The NHS service available to me was straightforward and compassionate. I was offered counselling as a matter of course, but didn’t feel I needed it. When I woke up after the termination, I knew absolutely that I had done the right thing. Was relieved beyond words. Was overwhelmingly grateful to the medical professionals and legal campaigners who had made this possible for me.
Three years later I found myself in the same situation. This time it was different. At 28, I felt I should be in a position to have a child and went through a lot of self-loathing about the fact that I wasn’t. I was with the same boyfriend, but the relationship was deteriorating and the pregnancy was in fact the result of a frenzied make-up after an almighty row. I was now in a more senior job, but was still badly paid and struggling both to keep up with the demands of the job and to make ends meet. I certainly experienced a lot of shame and sadness, but these were not caused by the choice I knew I would have to make, they were about the impossibility of making any other. I had a more difficult time of it physically, too – it was probably a bad idea to take a long, contemplative walk to the hospital after inserting the pre-op pessary, and I fainted as I arrived at reception. So: a bit grim physically and especially emotionally, but again, I knew this was the right thing to do and was grateful that it was possible to do so legally, safely and affordably.
Many women I know have been in the position where they have needed to have an abortion. None of us are remotely feckless – there is no 100% reliable method of contraception other than sterilisation or abstinence and accidents happen. Many of us have achieved remarkable things professionally for the common good, and many are now raising remarkable children, happy and secure, brought into the world when the time was right for their parents. To a not unreasonable extent, these achievements can be attributed to the availability of abortion, since without it the course of these women’s lives – and their children’s – would have been radically different.
One final thing. I was the result of an unplanned pregnancy. If abortion had been available to my mother, I wouldn’t have existed. Nor, I suppose, would my sister or her three amazing kids. In one way, I shouldn’t be arguing for it. But having seen the misery of my parents’ marriage at first hand for 48 years, knowing how hard my sister and I had to work to overcome the toxic emotional environment we grew up in, and imagining the alternative course my own life and that of my friends might have taken if we had become mothers in the wrong circumstances, I hope passionately that all women who need an abortion continue to have safe and free access to it.