I had just turned 18. I was living fast and loose– I had dropped out of high school before graduation. I had just recently gotten a full time job, but had no money or bank account. My boyfriend had just gone to jail for a 5 year sentence and I was living with my boyfriend’s mother. I had many other sexual partners besides my boyfriend.

At the time I would have conceived, I was also not eating well and likely would have been deficient in folic acid and other important nutrients vital to the brain and bodily health of an embryo. In addition, I was drinking and smoking pot almost every day. The men I was sleeping with were, too. One of the men I slept with also had a debilitating genetic birth defect that could have been passed onto a child.

These negatives were clearly on my mind when I thought about being pregnant. My life situation was not good for me, nor this unborn child. I was barely taking care of my own self. I knew that I wasn’t ready physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially for a child, or to carry a child to term.

I found an abortion provider in my area, thankfully. I went to the appointment and was instructed on what to expect during and after the abortion. On the Friday before the 4th of July weekend, I had my abortion. I was able to recuperate over the long weekend and return to work without missing any time off, and without telling anyone what happened. I wasn’t traumatized; I was relieved to be able to move forward with my life and continue to make improvements to my situation.

Every single day I am so incredibly grateful that I was not forced to continue with that pregnancy. It would have been a disaster for me, and for that child. In all likelihood we would have both become drains on society at large. Instead, I have become a productive member of society and have been able to complete my education.

Now, even 27 years later, I have never had any negative health consequences of this procedure. My reproductive organs are healthy and I have no emotional baggage over this important decision I made for my life and the life of people in my future.

If I knew someone who needed an abortion now, I have no idea where or how to tell them to get one because it has become so stigmatized.

We need to keep abortion safe, legal, affordable, and between a woman and her health care provider. The government should not have the power to regulate this any differently than any other procedure my doctor and I agree is necessary for my health and welfare.