The first was in 2003. I was married and miserable with 3 children. The marriage was open at the urging of my husband and I agreed because he was cheating on me anyway. He had undergone vasectomy a few years prior. I entered a sexual relationship with a man. My husband was aware and condoned the relationship until he realized I had serious feelings for my lover. Pregnancy resulted and I found out I was carrying twins. Furious, my husband blackmailed me with the threat of never seeing my three existing children again if I did not abort. He paid for the abortion. The day following, he told me I was now under obligation to do whatever he said and that he would be free to have sex with whoever he wanted and I would not. He then raped me, causing me to hemorrhage and be treated at a hospital for blood loss. After, he told my children, then 11, 8 and 6 that I was a baby murderer. We divorced the following year. He again blackmailed me with our children and I walked away from that marriage penniless with three children and him paying the minimum of support even through he made a lot of money. This happened in the US, in this century, where abortion was legal before 20 weeks.
My second abortion came during my third marriage, in 2014. I had given birth to a sweet boy with multiple congenital brain anomalies. He was non-verbal, non-mobile, seized constantly and given a very short life span (he passed away in 2017). When he was 8 months old, his father, unable to accept the reality of his severe disabilities and poor prognosis, disappeared with him for 45 days. No one knew where they were. During this time, I realized I was pregnant again. I decided to have an abortion. I did not want to have another child with an unstable partner. I was already raising 3 small children, one which was extreme special needs.
The first abortion illustrates choices all being taken from me in a developed nation where we supposedly have equal rights. The second, my choice, yet under extreme duress. I feel no guilt about either abortion but do still feel bitter anger at my first husband for taking my choice in all matters away from me. I shudder to think what he would have done to me had abortion not been legal.
We cannot go backward on this issue. It is enough that we still fight for equality with wage gaps, housing, support for children and so on.
I support every woman’s right to choose and to have safe access to not only abortion providers but also sources that support leaving domestically abusive relationships.