As the presidential campaign heats up, the debate about women’s ability to take care of their own health and the children they are currently taking care of has become a prominent discussion. It sickens me. Through the years I come to feel like a 2nd class citizen in this country. I am dumbfounded how religion and our government have teamed up to strip the rights from every woman and some women actually, blindly support this endeavor. I have been judged and will be judged for the rest of my life for what I have done. It’s bad enough that I ever felt I had to make this decision but then to be treated as though I am so evil hurts beyond belief. My story goes like this:

I was married for 18 years to a man I was 100% faithful to. At first things were okay. Over time this man proved to be very irresponsible and verbally and emotionally abusive. It took me a very long time to understand this. Having a college degree, I had a career where I worked a lot of long hours but eventually I became the primary breadwinner as my husband purposefully worked when he wanted to. After my last child I did not want to have sex with this man anymore because i was afraid I would get pregnant and having two small children I was taking care of and working was already becoming a financial strain for me. My boss at work had been complaining about how women took advantage of the system to get time off from work. I felt like me just having kids made me a burden to my employer. I told my husband that I was going to go on the pill and he said he would get snipped instead. He delayed it and delayed it though. One night I went dancing with my sister. We had so much fun and I came home somewhat drunk. My husband took advantage of my condition and I got pregnant. I was devastated. I had been talking with a lawyer about a divorce but had not filed yet. I knew that the full burden of taking care of another child was going to be on me. My husband also was verbally and emotionally abusive to me and all of my two girls and had been horrible to his own son. My husband broke doors down, threw cooking pots thru windows and threw gallons of paint around our entire kitchen if he thought I wasn’t listening to him or agreeing with him during an argument. He also had been spending most of his time away from home with a new female friend. I felt sick that my existing children had to deal with this person and no matter how hard it would be, I had to get them out of there. There was no way I was going to have another child with that man. None of my family were going to step up to help me which I think religion and the government thinks happens. Somehow in their drugged state they think that someone is going to rescue someone like me. Well, there was not one there for me. I took off work to go have the abortion. I asked my husband to do one thing for me while I spent the requisite two days required to get the procedure. I asked him to pick up one of my daughters from school. As I was driving home from the clinic I asked him if he had picked her up. He informed that he had forgotten. My 6 year old daughter spent an hour waiting in the principal’s office to be picked up. I picked her up. In 2008 I finally was able to scrap enough money to leave the marriage. I filed for joint custody because I needed to cut ties with this man as I thought I would end up with the kids all the time anyway. And I did and for two years he lived in my house for free while I took care of 100% of the children’s needs. I suppose I could have spent a lot of money to get him to pay me some child support but I had to make a choice to feed my kids or pay a lawyer. What do you suppose I did. I did the responsible thing and fed my kids. Sometimes being responsible comes at a price. I was always responsible. I love my kids so much and it killed me to have to choose. If all of this makes me evil, then burn me at the stake now. I don’t recall any men in the clinic office when I got my abortion. None. Men can hide in the shadows and go to church and act like they’ve done nothing wrong and tell me that I don’t have a right to take care of myself or my children. We have to bear the scarlet letter. I have had so many men take advantage of my trust in them throughout my life: a coach married and twice my age in college, two professors, left a job recently because a married colleague decided I was going to be his hook up. What’s horrible is even though this guy fessed up, they made him my boss and when I refused to work for him, they took away my subordinates. I have had boyfriends grope in the dark right underneath their girlfriend’s nose at a party. Time after time I have encountered men that have no intentions of protecting me and instead use my trust to corner me. I have lost two boyfriends because I have a very hard time trusting that they care about more than having sex with me. Not one man that I did have sex since 2008 took responsibility for contraception. Not one.