I had an abortion two months before starting graduate school.

I don’t have very regular periods, so when I do have sex I routinely get nervous on day 35 or so. This time was particularly long and I had been pondering it in the back of my mind the whole time I was at a music festival, supposedly living without a care. I found out I was pregnant the second I got back from a music festival. I bought the test and I couldn’t wait so I just used it in the Target bathroom… needless to say I was upset.

I was shocked and panicky, knowing that this was the absolute worst time to even think about having kids. That was two years ago and I’m still only warming up to the idea. My boyfriend was very supportive and he wanted me to do what I thought was best. My parents were too, which is a big credit to them as moderately conservative Christians. They understood I had no desire to start a family, I had only been dating my boyfriend for two months (and we have since broken up), and it would be almost impossible to start a research career with a newborn. When I made the decision to have the abortion I didn’t tell anyone else besides my brother and one friend. Unfortunately, it’s still gambling with peoples’ perceptions and I felt I would be particularly scrutinized by my high-achieving college friends who seem to always be responsible. I do regret getting pregnant in the first place, as I’m fully educated on how you get pregnant and know that the pull-out method doesn’t always work. In fact, I was on birth control pills at various times through high school and college but wanted to go off of them for a while to see if they were affecting my mood. So for me, I was only interested in non-hormonal options, and we decided not to use condoms (because it felt better) except a week before ovulation and half a week after by way of the rhythm method, which obviously didn’t work. I think I was up on my science high horse trying to meticulously track my cycle and take realistic stock of how to avoid it. But the point is, I don’t regret getting the abortion even though it came about from a risky contraceptive plan. For me, the costs to my career and to the poor care I’d be able to give the child because I wasn’t mature or stable enough were more than enough reason to justify getting an abortion. That was my decision, within my moral guidelines. Every woman should be able to make that choice for herself.