It seems appropriate that the inaugural post for a blog on abortion stories and pregnancy experiences be a personal one. It just doesn’t seem right to spend lots of time talking about the experiences other women have with abortions and childbearing without offering some sort of insight into my perspective on the subject. My abortion story—that is, my interpretation of what happened to me—is at the heart of everything I have to say about the subject.
So here goes. This is my story, as I remember it and as I understand it years later.
I was 15, young by any standard. Young to be having sex, young to have had the same boyfriend for the two years prior (and for another two after) my pregnancy. My mom figured out that I was pregnant before I did. She noticed that I hadn’t used any tampons, and she (an OB nurse) knew something was up.
She confronted me one day, and demanded that I take a pregnancy test. Of course it was positive. I wasn’t really upset, though. I had always liked children and I knew that I wanted a couple some day. So why not now? It was early, but I was sure I would be OK.
I knew, deep down, that I did not want to have an abortion. My mother had other ideas, however. She was dead set against me keeping the baby from the outset.
My boyfriend was horrified. He said that I had ruined his life. And he was convinced that keeping the baby would do just that. He expressed his dislike violently about two weeks later. It was about 3 AM and we were at his house. He yelled at me, punched me and promptly told me how sorry he was and that it would never happen again.
But the message was clear. I would not be having this baby. I called my mom and she came to pick me up. The next day we scheduled the procedure. I don’t remember how quickly after that it was done, but it was.
The people in the clinic were really nice to me and I recovered fast. I know now that I didn’t deal with it as well as I thought. I don’t even really remember anything about my life from that day through the next year or so except that Paul (the boyfriend) and I broke up and got back together several times. And each time we broke up, he would call me a baby killer and spew all of his venom over my “betrayal.”
The short version, I suppose, is that I was forced to have an abortion. I was pushed into it by my mother and by my boyfriend. And I was pushed into it by a society that does not do a good job at supporting mothers in general, and especially not young, single mothers. Whether or not to have an abortion should truly have been MY choice. The decision to have an abortion cannot and should never rest in the hands of anyone but pregnant women.
The irony, though, is that having that abortion probably saved my life. Toward the end of my relationship with Paul he sent me a letter, from prison—where he was sent for 9.5 years for stealing car stereo equipment—telling me how he was going to get out, find me, cut my body into many parts and leave them all on different mountains so that no one would ever find me.
Had I had the baby, he would have had access to me for the following 18 years. And, given his escalating violence, that access would have provided him the opportunity to kill me. I have no doubt he would have taken it.
So…there it is. My story. It is not simple, not cut and dried. There are gray areas, little spaces where there are no definitive answers, where the concept of “choice” is sticky and the outcome is messy. There is, though, one thing I know for sure: forcing a woman to carry and give birth to an unwanted or (dare I say) even an “inconvenient” child is wrong in every way, just as forcing a woman to abort a wanted child is.