I had two abortions, roughly nine months apart. Because at the time, I somehow thought that staying in an unstable relationship and living in poverty was more important than protecting my body. I kept hoping that somehow he would take it upon himself to be more careful when he saw how much pain I went through giving up a chance at a pregnancy – I believed very much that bringing a child up poor was far worse than just ending the pregnancy early. He never got it together, and even after I left him, it took me many years to understand that insisting on protection is not in any way putting up barriers between myself and my partner. I had somehow absorbed the idea that men wanted women with them only for the eventual possibility of having children together, that preventative measures actually put a damper on love. Because I had access to abortion I was granted time to mature and go back to school to pursue my bachelor’s degree. I am now working towards a degree in Psychology.
Most arguments for the right to life center on the innocent nature of the unborn child, and the potential of a new life. This is considered sacred. Adults, in particular women, are not viewed with the same sanctity. By the time we are grown, we are seen as tarnished. I had an idea that my life had no value beyond what a man gave me as his partner. And when I discovered I was pregnant I felt unworthy of being a mother. Certainly I knew that my partner would not make a great father. And I felt that forcing an innocent, pure child into that circumstance would be damning. It would tarnish that innocence.
Before having an abortion I had always wanted to be a mother. I had a chance to become that. But my pregnancy brought home in a way nothing else had that my life was not my own, once I bore a child. Now I am staying away from relationships entirely and I am making the most of the agency I have on my own, working at going back to school without the guilt and worry I would be experiencing if I was trying to split my attention between academics and motherhood.
An empowered woman is an economic powerhouse. If I have children later in life, once I attain better education, they are less likely to have a mental illness, less likely to be poor, less likely to be incarcerated, less likely to abuse an intimate partner or become addicted to substances. So I will produce better citizens in my time, should I choose to start a family. I will require fewer services from the government. I will pay more in taxes, I will contribute more to local businesses, and I will be a support to other educated and empowered citizens like me.
Abortion was the right choice for me. There are other women out there who were able to have a child in adverse circumstances and rise above. I applaud those women. And I know I would not have been one of them. I am very glad I had the right to choose.