Five years ago, I was pregnant with our second baby.
I had wanted another child for a while, our son was five years by then, but we waited until we could afford it. At our 12 week ultrasound, we found out that something was wrong. Genetic testing showed that our baby boy had Trisomy 18, a severe genetic defect that almost always causes the baby to die during pregnancy or within the first days of life, especially with boys. If the baby would survive, there would be have been severe medical and mental problems. I was devastated and heartbroken.

Instead of continuing a pregnancy that would end even in more heartbreak and suffering for me and the baby, I chose to terminate the pregnancy. The abortion itself was surgical because between the ultrasound that showed abnormalities and waiting for the genetic testing results, I was almost 20 weeks pregnant. It was far from easy, the dilation medication I needed the day before the procedure was very painful. And walking to the Planned Parenthood clinic with anti-abortion activists yelling things like “baby murderer” at me was one of the most hurtful and traumatic experiences in my life. Who are these people that condemn me for wanting to spare myself and my baby extended suffering?

After a few months, we tried becoming pregnant again for a year but failed and had to turn to fertility treatment, possibly due to inflammation after the abortion. We now have beautiful 10-month-old twins keeping me busy and making me forget the misery of the lost baby and the disappointment of nine failed rounds of fertility treatment. I was always pro-choice but my personal experience has made me even more convinced that each woman should have the right to make her own decisions whatever the reason for her abortion may be. It makes me so angry to think a stranger would have forced me to go through up to 20 more weeks of pregnancy carrying a slowly dying baby or to go through labor and see my baby suffer and die within a week.

I mourn my lost baby but never regretted my decision even though the abortion might have been the cause for my fertility problems afterwards. I am sure no woman ever takes the decision to have an abortion lightly. It is and should be a personal decision that nobody has the right to make for her.