I Have Never Regretted My Abortion
There were many rules in my family but one of the most important was don’t get pregnant before you get married. My sisters and I were to present the perfect picture at all times. Don’t shame the family. I may have been in New Mexico, 1400 miles from my parents in Michigan, but those rules were like blood in my veins.
I was a twenty year old mess, drinking heavily, trying to get through college, waitressing and scrambling for money for rent, food, health care, tuition and books. I was also in the worst relationship I have ever been in and it was destroying me.
I knew what I had to do the minute it was confirmed. We didn’t have pregnancy kits to use at home, and the woman gynecologist who examined me was so rough that I still remember her hands. She was disgusted with me and I could feel it. She blamed me but now I don’t remember exactly what she said. I do remember thinking, why did you choose this profession?
I was never ashamed though. I was sad. Sad that it wasn’t the time, that I had nothing to give a child, knowing that when I became a mother I wanted to be a really good one. The people at the abortion clinic were much kinder and gentler. My female friend who accompanied me was wonderful and supportive.
I have never written about this before. I have never said this aloud before. I have never told a doctor. (They can’t tell if you had an abortion–no matter what people will tell you. You don’t have to tell anyone.) Many of my friends will be reading this and learning about this for the first time. I am not ashamed. I was not ashamed at the time. It was just a very private decision. I have never regretted it. I chose not to have a baby. It was my decision.
When I heard the news Friday morning, June 24, 2022, the news that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade holding that there was no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion, I couldn’t breathe. I could barely speak for three days. I was screaming inside. I am still screaming inside. I felt as if I was suffocating. Women in the United States lost rights. My sense of disbelief then became terror, then sorrow, then anger, and then all of them all over again.
Every day now, I think, what do I tell the young women in my life? I need to be strong and yet, I can't seem to think clearly. It’s a fog that has enclosed me within it; a dark heavy fog, an unwelcome blanket. It still threatens to smother me as I write these words today. It is as when someone you love has died, and you forget for a few seconds here and there, those sometimes glorious seconds like when you first wake up in the morning. Then suddenly, you remember and the sorrow and grief descend again.
Monday, June 27th, I was able to move. I went online. I began to read women's stories and as they shared their experiences having abortions, I began to feel, dare I say, hopeful? Women encouraging other women and women helping other women to remember their own experiences or their friends’ experiences. Women knowing what was at stake, women who had seen the worst and knew what forced birth could mean. Women who had lived long enough to know the truth about the dangers of pregnancy and being forced to carry a baby. They were sharing their stories and it helped me. It helped me remember why I made the choice I did, and I felt again the relief that I had made the right decision and I had the freedom to do it.
Today, I feel stronger, and as I write these words, I want to encourage all of you to think about what this means for our country and all of our future lives and freedoms. We need to be together on this, in a way that we haven’t been the last few years. An assault on the freedom of over half of the population in the United States is unconscionable. Abortion restrictions will now fall even harder on Black, Indigenous and people of color, people already excluded from our health care by systemic racism and economic injustice. Every person in this country needs to have the right to say, this is my body, my choice.
This happened because a small group of dedicated extremists never stopped trying to restrict all bodily autonomy. There are many, many people who have been fighting this, but the rest of us took it for granted. Now, it’s time to fix it. (If you were one of the people who have been fighting for our health and reproductive rights all this time, thank you.)
So, now what?
What can you do?
The answer is, there is A LOT you can do.
Join the Women's March Summer of Rage Lots and lots of stuff going on and many ways you can help
Educate yourself. Research every single candidate on your ballot, and find out how they feel about this very personal decision. Learn what is happening in your city and your state. Pay attention to bills and proposals. Then vote. Encourage others to vote. Then, we must follow up and hold politicians accountable.
Keep track of changing situations in each of our states. https://msmagazine.com/2022/07/07/abortion-legal-state-laws/
Sign up for instruction and learn how to navigate discussions in person and online. Clarify your views so you can articulate them clearly to others. Learn how to state your truth without being drawn into unhelpful conversations and arguments.
Helpful sites for online learning:
Red Wine and Blue (The Power of the Suburbs!)
The United States of Women (USOW) Reproductive Justice
If you have the money, support the clinics that are struggling to stay open or donate to the organizations who can make sure women and children get the help they need. (Yes, children. Not only the children who will be born into poverty but the children who will be forced to carry their rapists’ babies.) Here is an excellent starting place. https://abortionfunds.org/funds/
Volunteer. All of the above sites will offer you opportunities to help, whether it is from your home or on the streets.
Attend The Women's Convention 2022 August 12-14 | Houston, TX
This is a unique space for progressive women and allies at the intersection of civic engagement and pop culture. Women supporting women will empower all of us.
Consider sharing YOUR story. Your personal story can inspire those who are looking for hope and direction. If you have an experience you're willing to share — whether it's about needing an abortion yourself or supporting a loved one — post to social media with the hashtag #WhateverTheReason
"Speaking out about your personal connection to abortion will help put a stop
to the stigma around abortion. Sharing your experiences about driving a friend to an
abortion provider or supporting your partner during their abortion
helps others see that they are not alone and that everyone benefits
from access to safe, legal abortion.
Our stories give lawmakers the political courage to push back
on state abortion bans--
but only if we are willing to tell them openly." - Planned Parenthood
Do something every day to help ensure we don’t lose any more of our freedoms in the United States.
If there was ever a time to be aggressive, loud, strident,
and hysterical, that time is now.
Be demanding, unruly and out-of-control.
Let that anger fuel your power.
Oh yeah. And be a bitch. Be a cunt.
It’s time to overreact.
This is it.
Please share thoughts, comments and stories by scrolling down.
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