When I was 15, I had a sleepover with 2 girls who were daughters of a friend of my parents. We were not friends. 1 was a year older than me, 1 a year younger. At some point in the evening we reached the point of “one upmanship” and started telling tales.

I actually am sure that the tales they told were true, but maybe I’m na├»ve. But when cornered with so many other tales of how worldly and mature they were, I lied. I told them than I had gotten pregnant and that my father had forced me to have an abortion. I passed it off as not a big deal. I stood proud that night. I had gone farther than them into the world of adulthood. Until 2 weeks later. I came home from school and both my parents were there. And they wanted to talk. They asked if I had had an abortion. They asked if I had been pregnant. I remember my father saying “See, you messed up. These girls have never known a dad, so they asked their mother, ‘is this what a dad is like?'” And then the actual lecture started. It was a Friday night and the lecture didn’t truly end until Sunday night. My father was absolutely pro-life. He was a born Christian, a Quaker, the son of a minister, and a resolute republican. I am not describing him, those are just some of the reasons he listed for being anti-abortion. He, as well as my mother, were both very upset that I had said this horrible thing. That in the face of peer pressure, I had gone the extra mile into hell.

7 months later, I got pregnant. At the age of 16. I was so sure I would keep this baby. My parents would surely back me up and love it as I would. Until my parents found out I was actually pregnant. To this day I can hear my father shouting “If everything goes right it will still cost $2000 for you to squat on a table and shit that thing out!” I argued that I wanted the baby. He gave me a choice. A choice of methods. I could get an abortion, or he could just beat it out of me. He made me make the phone calls to find the cheapest place. I remember being appalled at the cost of $300 for an abortion. Thought later it turned out to be $325 because I was Rh Negative.

I could barely make the call. I was crying so hard. But I did. The appointment was in less than 48 hours. The nurse was wonderful. I had to get a thing implanted and then go back the next day. To this day, I can remember something about bamboo? But I’m not sure. So that thing expanded over night and the next day I had the abortion. It was painful, and scary and deeply humiliating. My mother was with me the entire time and she just kept praying for me. Then it was over.
I am supposed to tell you now how horrible it was and how it affected my life forever. So here goes.

11 months later I met John. And we hit it off. I had to leave home forever and travel to meet him, but there you go. I never would have it I had had a baby. It’s now 27 years later. John and I have been married 26 years. We have 4 gorgeous children. I would never have met the man of my dreams if I had not had that abortion. In my entire life, this is the only thing I am thankful for that my father chose for me. My biggest regret about my abortion is that I did not, and was not, able to choose it for myself.