Getting an abortion was one of the hardest decisions (if not the hardest) of my life so far. I was 21 years old and in an emotionally abusive relationship: he was already in a relationship, cheating on her with me, and refused to wear condoms. Even though I was on birth control and took Plan B after each encounter, I still ended up pregnant. I took many pregnancy tests on the days leading up to and during the period that never would come, and when I finally saw the positive a week later, it just confirmed what I knew all along. I knew right away that abortion was the best answer. I was nowhere near ready to have a family and having a child with this man would only serve as a reminder of the lies and manipulation he put me through. I made an appointment at the earliest Saturday possible–which turned out to be Valentine’s Day of that year–and with my sister as my support, ended my pregnancy.

I still carry painful memories from this day, but throughout the years, I’ve learned to take ownership of my choice and understand why choice cannot be chipped down to “worst case scenario ‘choice'”… the “what about rape, incest, fetal/maternal life, etc.” reasoning. Since I didn’t fall into any of these categories, it took me a long time to reconcile that I wasn’t a selfish person who just couldn’t be bothered. Whenever I hear anti-choice rhetoric, I wish they knew that having an unintended pregnancy is complicated, terrifying, and not fully understandable to anyone outside of the individual’s situation. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to have a child I did not want and could not emotionally handle. It would have been a terribly unfair beginning to life.

After my abortion, I went on to finish my undergraduate degree and return for a Master’s in Gender Studies. Sexual health and reproductive choice advocacy is a huge passion of mine and it all stems from wanting to make sure all women have the same options as I did. The person who impregnated me ended up making huge lifestyle changes, and through a genuine process of forgiveness, accountability, and transformation, we are now in a committed relationship with each other. Within our first few months of dating, I finally told him my story and we were able to mourn together. We have been together for several years now and are on the path to getting married. When we finally decide to start a family together, it will be a beautiful thing. I am really looking forward to being a mother someday soon.