I studied political science in college, and somewhere along the way I chose choice as my main issue.
Not because of a personal experience or because of a friend or family member’s experience, just because I saw the assault on women’s rights and believed that it was someone’s job to counter-act it.
A year after graduating from college I moved halfway across the country to work on a political campaign. I was trying to help elect a pro-choice female candidate. Two months after moving to a state where I knew only a handful of people, the unthinkable, “it could never happen to me” thing happened despite the use of two kinds of birth control.
I barely made enough money to support myself, and still occasionally called home to borrow a few dollars to get me to payday. Campaigns can require up to 80 hour work weeks and this was my first job in the field. I knew I couldn’t afford a child. My career would be over just it had started. I would end up working for near minimum wage, collecting state assistance, and living with my parents.
In tears I called my mother, and she revealed to me that at the age of 16, just after Roe v. Wade, she had been in the same situation. I didn’t ask many questions, but she told me she never regretted having an abortion. She wouldn’t have the wonderful life with a loving husband of 35 years or four successful children if she had become a mother at the age of 16. We had never discussed abortion before.
She told me that she’d support any decision I made.
So I made the decision to have an abortion so that I could have the future I had spent years working towards. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to be living in a state without many restrictions, and I was fortunate enough to find a clinic that accepted my health insurance. Even with insurance, the trip across the state was more than I could afford.
The only regret I could conceive was having to talk about abortion on a professional level with the guilt of a personal story. It’s been a year now, and I don’t feel any guilt. Thanks to the support of my mother, I’ve turned this personal story into a triumph.
Most women are not fortunate enough to have transportation to a clinic, heath insurance that will cover the cost of an abortion, or a family member who can provide them with extra money in times of need. But I was. Most of all, though, I was lucky enough to have the support of a family member who had been in my shoes.