I was a 19-year-old sophomore dating another 19-year-old sophomore. I had a birth-control pill prescription but screwed up using it and got pregnant. It was 1983, and we were in school in Atlanta, GA. Telling him I had failed at using my birth-control method and was pregnant was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to tell anyone.
I was resolved to get an abortion, and he supported my decision to do so. He took me to the abortion clinic and helped me pay for it. I remember the clinic being chock full of women there to get abortions. I remember a brief counseling session during which I was asked to make sure this is what I wanted to do and then to choose whether to remain conscious or be fully anesthetized (unconscious) for the procedure. I chose the latter.
Eight years later, my sophomore-year boyfriend and I married (we were then 27). Three and a half years later, we consciously planned to have a child. Our son is now 20 years old. (If I had seen our unplanned pregnancy through to its completion and borne that child, he or she would be 30 now.) We are grateful to the state of California’s public school system for its sexual education requisites, and we have stressed to our son the importance of safe sexuality. We have immunized him against HPV with Gardasil (when he was 16 and not yet sexually active), and my husband makes sure our son packs condoms at all times, since he became a teenager.
I regret being stupid about how to take my birth-control prescription properly and about getting unintentionally pregnant. I regret having to have an abortion. But I do not regret ending that unplanned pregnancy. I was halfway through my undergraduate degree schooling, as was my then-boyfriend, now-husband. We made the right decision for us at that point in our lives. I am grateful that I had the legal right to a safe and relatively inexpensive abortion in the state of Georgia. It was a hard lesson, but I never failed to take my birth-control pills properly, effectively after the abortion.