I always did things that were too old for me. At 13, I lost my virginity on a beach to a boy I had only known for a few days. At 14, a boy I had known for four months, we’ll call him J, got me pregnant.
As most 14-year-olds do, I thought I was invincible. Sure, pregnancy and STDs happen to other people who have unprotected sex, but it couldn’t happen to me. And J and I were going to get married someday, anyway. I promised myself that everything was going to be alright.
When I missed my period (I was always regular, and wasn’t on birth control), I knew something was wrong. I pushed it to the back of my mind for a couple of weeks until I knew I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I was throwing up every morning and hadn’t been to school in days. When I told my mother, sitting outside with cigarettes between our fingers, she told me that she already knew. She told me to make an appointment at Planned Parenthood for an ultrasound, and asked me what I was going to do.

I had no idea.

J was excited. He wanted to be a daddy, he wanted a boy named Andrew. I tried to get excited; I knew that this was supposed to be a positive thing in every woman’s life, right?

J and I finally settled on setting up an open adoption after my ultrasound appointment. I was six weeks, two days, according to the machine. The nurse let me keep a screenshot of my pregnancy.

J was still excited, even if we weren’t going to be parents. He told all his friends and family about being a daddy, even if he wouldn’t be the primary daddy in it’s life.

I still wasn’t so sure. I was 14, and non-stop sick. I fainted in the shower and nearly drowned. My mother and sisters were all teen moms – they never got to live their lives the way they planned. We lived in poverty, and I knew I didn’t want that for myself.

I made the appointment before telling J. April 8th, 12:30pm. $650 up front. My mom paid.

I told J, and while he was reluctant, he eventually agreed that it would be the best situation for us.

I was ten and a half weeks along on the day of my appointment. The actual abortion procedure was uneventful, other than speculums hurt. The nurses and doctors were all lovely, supportive, and warm. They took care of me.

It’s been a few years since I had my abortion, and I’ve never once regretted it. I kept waiting, influenced by anti-choice propaganda, that I would regret my decision, that I would become depressed, that I would think of myself as a murderer. While these feelings are perfectly normal and common, they weren’t mine. I didn’t have a baby. I had a blob of financial distress and broken career dreams. I had a three generation cycle of teen motherhood and poverty that I refused to accept for my future. My abortion empowered me. The fearless staff at Planned Parenthood never tried to steer me in any direction, and reminded me countless times that this was my choice.
If I had to, I would do it all over again.

Abortion is not a shameful secret. Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is good.