I am Australian but found out I was 6 weeks pregnant whilst far from home, traveling and working in Venezuela with my then-partner. My initial reaction was one of panic, and then of determination to do whatever it took to end the pregnancy- I knew suddenly and without a doubt that I was not ready to have a child and that I did not want to be with the person I was with in a long-term sense.
Neither did I want to take his child to the other side of the world: that would have hurt him in ways I could not have justified. He was supportive of whatever decision I made; he wanted to have a child with me but understood that it was not what I wanted at that time, and felt he was not ready either. Elective abortion is illegal in Venezuela and so I used my remaining savings to get to the US. I am a privileged white woman and have thought a lot since about the many, many women who do not have the options that I had when faced with the same situation. In the week it took me to get to Oregon, riding buses down through Colombia and then up from LA, I thought a lot about the decision I was making. I felt the deep ache of sadness as well as a fear of my own coldness and a sense that I was betraying my womanhood, that I was not a real woman. I was also very afraid of how I would feel afterwards- the only person I told on my travels said ‘you might feel sure now, but things will get more difficult later on’. He was a man, and I have since realized that he did not speak for every woman, and definitely not for me. After the abortion I felt sadness, relief and incredible gratitude for the good people who had helped me without judgement. I also felt distinctly aware of how privileged my story had been, and how many women in the US and around the world do not have the same options. I now work as a Spanish language counselor at the clinic I went to in Portland, OR. I feel incredibly lucky to have listened to and helped hundreds of women with hundreds of different abortion experiences: personal, unique and entirely their own. I have always felt that having an abortion was the best decision I could have made for myself at the time: I believe that this is the best anyone can do, and that every person should have the right to make that decision for themselves with the support and respect of those around them.