I was 24 years old when I found out that I was pregnant. Birth control was being used but failed. I knew my husband did not want children, but hoped he would change his mind. Unfortunately, he did not. My brother and his wife and children had just moved in with my parents in another state. Scared, and feeling alone, I told my husband of the pregnancy. His response was not what I expected. Holding a butcher knife at my throat, he was clear that I had to either have an abortion or get out by New Year’s Eve. This was Christmas Eve. Believing I had no other choice and knowing I had no where to turn, I did as he demanded .He would not take me to the hospital, neither would he remember to pick me up…he forgot, he was sleeping. It was my best girlfriend that drove me to the hospital.

After much consideration, I believe I did the right thing for the situation at the time, but now, many decades later, I would tell any woman it is not even her husband’s choice what she does with her body, and certainly not the business of her government. It is hers and hers alone. It is between her and God.

There are many ramifications to that one incident. There are more painful memories than I care to count over it. I regret I did not just leave. I regret I stayed for another 13 years of nothing short of abusive talk. I regret that the person I was at 24 is now long gone and very much alone. I lost my second pregnancy and was never again able to get pregnant. Due to endometriosis, a full hysterecomy was necessary. Six months later my husband left me because I was no longer “fun”, so he found someone else to have fun with. Funny that he waited until he KNEW I could no longer get pregnant.

I have always regretted having an abortion. I wish I had been stronger. I wish I could have fought for the child. There is not a Christmas that passes that I do not wish my life could be a do over. I would do it so differently.

The right to a safe and proper procedure should remain the right of every woman, everywhere. While mine pains me to this day, I will defend a woman’s right to govern her own body to the day I die.

I can honestly say I am grateful to not have brought a child into that relationship; no child would have deserved it. I believe even now that I did what was in the best interest of the fetus, but not necessarily what was in the best interest of my beliefs or my heart. It was the hardest decision of my life, and the greatest regret is that I had to make it at all. I would tell any woman not to make it lightly.

The husband was replaced, but the child is not replaceable.