This is my story; the story of a healthy 32-year-old woman who decided to terminate her pregnancy.
You may ask why as a woman in her thirties
I chose not to go ahead with the pregnancy and keep the baby, and that is a valid question. There were no health issues with regards to my pregnancy; the fetus probably would have grown into a healthy child, and there were no risks with regards to my own health. There was no trauma associated with the pregnancy; the sex was consensual and with a man I had been dating for some time and cared a great deal for.
For those who are pro-life, there are no excuses for me having an abortion. But they are only looking at me from the outside, as a vessel for a fetus, and not as a person with my own doubts, fears and feelings of any kind.
I am sure that in their imaginations, the baby would have been born into a loving family, cared for and given every opportunity, loved and cherished, and lived a wonderful life. That is all they see. They do not consider the fact that I simply could not afford to raise a child. I have a hard enough time making ends meet and supporting myself – feeding myself, paying rent, putting clothes on my back. I have worked hard to maintain a life that I want for myself, to work a job that doesn’t pay much but is fulfilling to me in ways that money could never compare to. I love my work as a writer, but financially there is no way I would be able to support a child through the first year of life, let alone all the years that follow. I would not have been able to buy diapers for my child, or formula, and if I did it would be at the sacrifice of keeping myself fed and healthy. I would literally have been giving up my own life for that of the child. In the protestors eyes it appears that life of the child is of more value than the life of the person who conceived it. Would they have been there to help me support the child? Would they have been there to look after the child so I could continue to work so I could support both myself and the baby? Would they have raised the funds needed for doctors appointments during my pregnancy and to help pay the hospital bill after I had given birth? Above all this, I would not have been there to see my child grow, because in order to give it any kind of life, I would probably have needed to work more than one job to support not only myself but another person as well. I would never know my child as it would never know me, because in order for it to live I would have to live to work, not work to live.
I am sure in the protestors heads that every child is born into a happy family. That the father would have played a significant role in the baby’s life I do not know. The relationship was too new, too fresh to contemplate having children. We hadn’t even spoken words of love to each other yet, and hadn’t spoken of our future, whether we would still be together in a week, a month, a year. Having a baby is life-altering, and I was not emotionally ready to make those changes, and nor was I willing to force those changes on another person as well.
For those against abortion, they would probably claim that it is my own fault that I got pregnant, and that I should have expected to get pregnant after having a night of fun, “unprotected sex”. Would they actually be willing to listen to my situation? Birth control is effective, as are condoms, but nothing comes with a 100% guarantee, and accidents do happen. When our accident occurred, I did not just leave it up to chance, cross my fingers behind my back and hope for the best. The morning after I went to the closest pharmacy and got emergency contraceptive. I took every precaution I possibly could have while still remaining sexually active, and I still got pregnant. Somehow in the intervening hours between sex and emergency contraception, my egg was fertilized. It is not because I am a slut, or because I chose to be stupid. Let me repeat: nothing in life is guaranteed.
The final argument the pro-lifers would probably make is that I could have carried the pregnancy to term and given the baby up for adoption. I don’t know if a single anti-abortion protestor has ever spoken to someone who has given up a child for adoption. We always hear the stories of how women who have had abortions end up traumatized by their decision and regret it for the rest of their lives. Convenient fodder to use against those of us who have made the decision to terminate our pregnancies. Do they understand how hard it is for someone to give up a child? The grief after placing a child for adoption can be all-encompassing and can lead to feelings of guilt, loss and shame. Sound similar? These are the same feelings that some women can feel post-abortion. The grief is the same, as is the loss. I knew I could not have this baby so I chose an abortion.
I have no regrets about my decision, nor to I feel any guilt or shame over it. I knew it was the right decision for me, and after all, as it was my life that was about to change, isn’t it right that I made the best decision for me?”