I had an abortion at 17, and I know I made the right decision. I met a guy during my celebrations after finishing high school. He was from New Zealand, he was older, he was 19, he was my first real boyfriend. I lost my virginity to him.
We had fun at first, but there was no love there, just the empty joy of your first lustful romance. This older boy pressured me into sex without protection, I knew better.. I told myself this was risky, but I agreed anyway. I wanted to please him.
When I found out I was pregnant, I had been accepted into college to study photography. I was still living at home. I had only just finished high school 2 months earlier. My life hadn’t even started and here I was facing bring a child of my own into the world. I cried. A lot.
There was no debating, I was getting an abortion. I was young, I was part time employed, I was about to start college, I was living at home, I was ashamed that I let this happen. I was ashamed that I didn’t stand up for myself. I was ashamed that I didn’t use a condom when I knew better.
The father, the young man, ‘supported’ my decision to terminate the pregnancy. He stayed in the country until the surgery was done, then flew home to New Zealand the next day. Leaving me bleeding, sad and alone.
I have never once regretted my decision, and I will continue to fight for women’s rights to control their reproduction.
I went on to work in the film industry and am now working as a high school teacher. I share my abridged story with my female students when appropriate. I want to break down the stigma surrounding abortion. I want the girls that I teach to know that they have a choice and they shouldn’t be ashamed if they find themselves having to make it.
We need to support each other. Women need to stand together.