I have always been pro-choice, but I never imagined I would face the choice that I did. The pregnancy that I terminated was very much wanted and planned. But at 16 weeks, an ultrasound showed that there was not enough amniotic fluid. I spend the next couple of weeks on bedrest, but to no avail: by 19 weeks there was basically no amniotic fluid. No amniotic fluid means no lung development: even if I had carried that fetus to term, there’s no way she could have ever breathed on her own.
The choice that I faced was between waiting for stillbirth, possibly 20 more weeks, risking infection and my future fertility, or terminating the pregnancy at 20 weeks, getting back on my feet, getting back to my job, and getting back to being able to care for my toddler. The appointment at which we found out it was hopeless was on a Thursday, and we scheduled the procedure for the following Tuesday. At the time, I wished I could just go in on Friday and get it over with, but in fact that timing was probably deliberate: My husband and I spent the weekend going through the relevant medical literature and thus were able to face the Tuesday procedure knowing we were making the right choice for us.
It was only after it was all over that I connected that experience to the word “abortion”. As a younger woman, I wondered some what choice I would make if faced with an unplanned pregnancy (and was diligent about birth control to reduce the chances of that). When my time in fact came to face my choice, I was and am still very grateful that it was just between me, my husband and the medical professionals who advised us. And that is what I want for every woman: the freedom to choose, in privacy and without stigma or pressure.