I’m just like you – or a lot of you. I thought I would never have an abortion.
I’m careful about birth control. Plus, I’m a faithful wife.
Exiting my 30’s, I thought my childbearing days were over. And, then it happened. I realized I had missed my period. At first, it took me a while to realize I had missed it because I wasn’t really keeping track. When I realized what had happened, I thought my period was late because I was spending too much time at the gym and dropping weight too quickly. But, eventually, while running errands, I remembered to pick up a pregnancy test kit at the drug store and almost fell off the toilet seat when it read positive.
What was I going to do? Things like this don’t happen to me!
I have a very well-organized and successful professional life. And, I have a happy personal life. I am not the type of woman someone would point out in the street and whisper to her friend, “Now, there is a woman I bet has had an abortion or two.” Not that there is a “certain type” of woman. That’s really a big part of the problem. Blaming and profiling the woman who chooses to have an abortion. I’m just saying…
I have always had a good self-image. But, getting pregnant unexpectedly made me feel as if I had let myself down. Knowing that my husband and I could not keep this pregnancy made me question all that I had always believed in. While I never struggled with whether a woman should have the right to have an abortion or not, I simply never thought I would need one. Now that it was personal… things were different. Where would I go? Who would see me? Who could I share this with besides my husband? In the middle of assessing my feelings, I found that I was very upset that our culture had made having an abortion something so horrible that women didn’t discuss this with one another. The fact I couldn’t share what I was going through with anyone effectively reduced my access to good, reliable, up-to-date information turning the situation into a frightening one. I couldn’t remember an episode on Lifetime, Scandal, REVENGE or another TV/cable show that could help me think it through. Because TV shows today don’t discuss abortion. If they did, the pro-life movement, which doesn’t represent the majority of Americans’ views on abortion, would shut it down. What you see on TV and in the movies is at the last minute women who had unwanted pregnancies suddenly and unbelievably decided it would be in her and everyone’s best interest to have the baby or they lose the baby spontaneously. No one makes a conscious decision to have an abortion. But, we all know this isn’t the way life really is.
In the end, I remembered what a friend told me she would do if she ever needed an abortion. I decided to leave my city and travel to NYC to have an abortion at a nice clinic that gave me the emotional support I needed. Also, nice was that I had choices about the procedure: it wasn’t decided for me by the doctor.
But, I challenge you to change our culture and its beliefs about abortion.
The fact that a woman in Ireland – Savita Halappanavar - died because the hospital that was providing her care denied her an abortion to save her life says a lot about how much we are valued as women and how quiet culture and society have kept us. Savita was brought to the hospital to save her life and the hospital killed her. But, when the hospital denied her an abortion, did she know her options? Did she know where you could get a safe abortion? Did she have friends and family outside her husband she was comfortable talking about her situation?
How many of you are talking about what happened to Savita?
I challenge you to change our culture and its beliefs about abortion.