I had an abortion when I was 20 years old. I had just struggled to get out of an emotionally abusive and very isolating relationship when I discovered that I was pregnant. The first thing I did was call my mother, who was incredibly supportive… she became one of those “Ok. Let’s face this problem head-on” kind of moms, which was exactly what I needed. Thank goodness I lived in a state that respected and protected my right to choose. Had I not been able to make the choice that was right for me, I would probably still have a space in my life occupied by the man I had just ended a relationship with. He was physically and emotionally destructive to himself and emotionally destructive to me, and I can’t imagine the kind of life our child would have had. I’m very grateful that I had the support I needed from a very understanding family and knowledgable, kind, and compassionate health care providers. I do remember my mother saying, “No one else ever needs to know about this.” That made me feel ashamed. I remember when I told my current boyfriend, thinking he would be disappointed in me, or somehow not feel the same as he once did, but I was wrong. He was kind and thoughtful, and asked me if I was OK. I used to not really know how I felt about having had an abortion, but today I don’t feel shame anymore. I feel grateful and proud that after fighting to leave a terrible relationship, I had the courage to make the choice that was right for me. I do think that it has made me a more thoughtful person, and less judgmental of others who have to make difficult choices. One action doesn’t define someone, and having had an abortion certainly doesn’t define me.