Many think that abortion is a service mostly used by young, unwed women to hide from their parents the fact that they have had sex. I know about this and I spent more than enough days of each month as a teen worrying that I might not get my period. My father would have beaten me senseless had I come home with a pregnancy then.

However, I had my two abortions when I was married.

I hooked my future onto my future husband’s stars when I was 13 years old. I was living in a stultifying household, and he seemed to open up doorways to other ways of living, to other parts of the human experience that I felt I would never have access to.

We got married when I was 20, and long before that, he had proven himself to be a brutal, abusive mate. By the time we had had two kids, he had already beaten me several times, destroyed walls and furniture, pinned me down so that he could spit in my face, and called me the most despicable names (e.g. c*** and wh***) in front of my sons. Often, when he was angry with me for not picking up his dry cleaning, or not providing him with dinner (despite the fact that I was working two jobs, sometimes three, and going to school), he would threaten to run upstairs and smash our kids’ toys or stereo equipment. He threatened them in order to hurt me.

I got pregnant twice during this time and had two abortions. Of course, I should have left him long before, but I was very afraid of him. I’m still, in fact, afraid of him even though we’ve been separated for at least 20 years and our kids are grown.