I first had sex shortly before I turned 17, but knew well beforehand that if I were to ever get pregnant before I was ready to raise a baby, I would have an abortion.

I was the oldest child of three living with a single mother who truly struggled to make ends meet. She made our lives so miserable that I often wondered why she didn’t abort us when she had the chance. I knew I would make a better life for myself and my future children through earning a college and professional degree. Having a baby before I was 27 was never a part of my life plan.

Luckily, I was smart enough to achieve my educational goals. I was a straight-A high school student who was invited to skip senior year to begin college. During my first year in college, I had several lovers and trysts. We used condoms responsibly each and every time.

I was dating a smart and caring man for about a month when he discovered the condom we used had a small tear in it. He always checked the used condoms by filling them with water to see if they tore. I went to Planned Parenthood the next morning and got and took the morning-after pill as instructed. Nothing happened, but I didn’t realize anything was suppose to happen. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later when I woke up around 4 am with an overwhelming need to throw up. I knew immediately that I was pregnant. A pregnancy test I had just in case confirmed it as soon as I peed on the stick. I went back to sleep, woke up at my usual time, called Planned Parenthood to schedule an appointment for an abortion, and finally called my boyfriend who was very supportive of my decision. My conversations that morning with Planned Parenthood and my boyfriend were done matter-of-factly on my part with no tears, hysterics, second-thoughts, or regrets, I think because I had a plan for my life, a baby wasn’t a part of my plan at that time, and I knew before I first had sex that I would have an abortion if I ever got pregnant. Adoption was not an option because I didn’t want to leave college and give up my goals to carry a baby to term and I believed no one could give my baby a better life than I could.

My boyfriend and I enjoyed our pregnancy for the couple of weeks until my appointment and learned as much from the experience as we could for future pregnancies. I went to my appointment with my best friend and felt nothing but relief when the abortion was completed. I was grateful for the brave doctors, nurses, and staff who took care of me and grateful that I was able to choose to have an abortion.

I graduated college in four years, earned my law degree in three, traveled the world, got married, and have three beautiful kids who have wonderful, happy lives. My boyfriend at the time is now who he always wanted to be. We could not have fulfilled our life plans and goals if we had a baby when I was 18. I have never regretted my decision to have an abortion once in the last 17 years, I intend to tell my children my story before they become sexually active, and am grateful that I was allowed to make the right decision for my life.