I was 18 and had been with my boyfriend for a year. He and I had the “what if” conversation and I said in no uncertain terms that if the birth control I always used failed that I would have an abortion while he, on the other hand, insisted that he would marry me.

He joined the Navy and after he went back from a leave I discovered our time together resulted in a pregnancy. My father had just had a heart attack and there was no way I was going to go visit intensive care to tell him his youngest daughter just got pregnant 2 months before I was to start college. The stress could have literally killed him and the disaster it would have made of several lives doesn’t bear consideration. I wrote my boyfriend about the situation then scheduled my abortion which was done before I got his response.

That response went exactly as I expected despite his earlier protestations that he would marry me. After his initial thrill at the idea that he was capable of getting a girl pregnant, the reality hit him. He realized he wasn’t any more ready to get married or have a child than I was and panic set in. His letter included an apology and a money order I didn’t ask for to help pay for the procedure.

I had to borrow money from a friend and go alone. I was the only girl of about 10 there alone. The doctor was outstanding and compassionate. I have never, for a moment, felt I had made the wrong decision. A child should never be penance for the percentage of ineffectiveness of any type of birth control.