I’m not special. In fact, nearly one in four women in the U.S. will have an abortion at some point in their life.
Mine is not a story about how I became pregnant after an assault, or how I was barely making ends meet and couldn’t afford a baby. Yes, I was young and just about to start my career, but I could have moved home and asked my family to help support me and this unborn embryo. That’s not the point at all though. It’s not about how desperate my situation was or wasn’t. The decision about whether or not I was ready to become a parent is not something I need to explain or justify to anyone but myself (and in my case, my partner). The point is that I am an average American woman who pays taxes, works hard, picks up my dog’s poop, and always returns my shopping cart to the grocery store instead of leaving it by my car like a jerk. And I am also a woman who has had an abortion. You know me.
I am simply a human being who chose to start my career and settle down with the love of my life before deciding to start my family. I don’t think it’s fair for a group of male lawmakers to deny me that choice just because my body can betray me in a way that theirs cannot.
I didn’t make my decision flippantly. I don’t hate children. In fact, I care so much about children that I’ve spent nearly a decade teaching them, an experience that has solidified my belief that every child deserves to be greeted at birth by parents who are genuinely ready and willing to rear them.
I wasn’t ready or willing at 23, but I’m ready now. I’ve had time to work hard, grow my career, and bolster myself against the “motherhood penalty” that will inevitably impact me once I do have a baby. If we take away women’s freedom to choose when to become mothers, how long will it take for the wage gap to double, or triple, in size? Is this part of your master plan, I want to ask the conservative lawmakers, to undo all of the gains women have made over the last half a century?
I am not special. But I am not a criminal or a monster. I am a daughter, a wife, a friend, a neighbor. #youknowme