I Do Not Regret My Abortions
When I was in grade school, we talked about abortion. I knew it wasn’t a popular topic because it enraged people. I grew up seeing the news about abortion clinic bombings and hearing about the rabid defenders of the fetus. The right-to-life zealots had a chokehold on sexual decisions and between that and HIV, sex wasn’t looking like a good time.
I also knew that abortion was a procedure I should have the right to access should I need it. I debated with my classmates about abortion in high school. I understood on a fundamental level that controlling my reproductive options meant a kind of freedom that I wanted to explore. I lived among girls and women who’d been physically and financially trapped by having children and I did not want that for myself, but I also knew that openly speaking about any of this would result in a social punishment that I did not want to experience.
When I was 22 and in my first seemingly monogamous relationship with a man I later learned was married, I became pregnant. While I’d insisted on condoms most of the time, there were a few occasions where he promised to pull out before he ejaculated, and I firsthand learned that lie for what was. What you learn over time is that those times of the month when you are the most fertile, are also the times when your judgment about sex is the weakest. I’ve made some bad decisions with partners at that time of the month, decisions I would later regret because the consequences were huge.
There I was, 22 and pregnant. I immediately planned to terminate the pregnancy for a ton of reasons, the biggest being that I didn’t want to be pregnant, and I didn’t want kids. That should have been the only reason I needed, but I still compiled the additional justifications I felt would justify my decision: I was too young; barely employed; wasn’t committed to the relationship and didn’t have a plan. I didn’t want to move back in with my parents and live with disappointing them as getting pregnant before establishing my financial independence was a life-ruining decision and I knew I wanted different for myself.
This was in 1998, and terminating a pregnancy, especially in the northeast, wasn’t a hassle. This pre-dated the mandatory ultrasounds. There has always been talk about informing the potential father — I remember feeling a moral responsibility to do so, as it was…