I was 28, almost 29, and had been out of law school for less than a year. I had tremendous debt from my education and was working at a small firm and not earning enough to support anyone beyond myself and my loans living in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. I lived with a roommate because I couldn’t afford to live on my own. I had been dating a man casually for some months. We used condoms but once or twice we got carried away and didn’t. On those occasions, I would go to the pharmacy and get the morning after pill. I had an appointment at Planned Parenthood to get on birth control. They called me back and told me they couldn’t put me on the pill because I was pregnant. I was floored. I love kids and I have always wanted to be a mother but I knew that I couldn’t take care of a child financially at that time. I also knew that I didn’t want to give up the chance of having a marriage and family in the future. The man I was dating was not “the one” and he was not in a place to have a child either.
I made an appointment and the man I was dating went with me and we split the cost of the procedure. It was very busy that day. That location only performed abortions on that day of the week so you knew everyone there was there for that reason.
I always supported a women’s right to choose. I wasn’t always sure I would be able to make the choice to abort myself but I knew I completely supported the right of women to have that choice. When I found myself facing that choice, my immediate instinct was that I needed an abortion. I spent a few days talking it through with a friend who tried to help me find ways to afford it (without moving across the country to move back in with my parents and possibly having my law degree go to waste unless I sat for another bar exam in another state) but in the end, abortion was the best choice for me.
I told some close friends. One of my sisters. I never told my parents, never told my other sister – she had lost a child to SIDS and I just didn’t think she would understand. I don’t regret it, but I do often feel such shame about it. Then I feel indignant when I see how politicians are attempting to take choice away from women. I am lucky. I am educated. I have means even if I knew I couldn’t raise a child the way I would have liked financially. I live in a state where I don’t have to worry about my options being taken away. But too many women are not so lucky.
I spent one summer in Mississippi while in law school. I remember driving by the one clinic where women could get an abortion in the entire state and seeing a giant truck parked outside with huge photos of “aborted fetuses” splashed on the side. Politicians in Mississippi have almost succeeded in shutting down even that clinic – litigation is still ongoing. We must do more to protect women’s choices and voices.
I am 32 now. I am married. We want to start trying to have children in about a year. I am lucky. I can make those choices.