Well, here’s a blog entry I never thought I’d write. It’s about a growing movement of women who are coming out about their abortions. They seem to be doing this for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, as the government attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and roll back women’s rights, it’s important that people from all sides of the story have a voice in this issue. It’s critical that we look at this complex topic from a variety of angles to make an informed decision on this legislation.
There are a few myths that I would like to dispel. The first one is that those of us who are pro-choice are trying to actively encourage other women to have abortions. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’d much prefer that people didn’t feel the need to have abortions. I wish that we lived in a world where poverty, violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking, homelessness, inadequate sex education, deadbeat dads, lack of birth control and sub-par healthcare weren’t issues. And I certainly respect the choice that many women make to have their babies.
The fact is, you can disapprove of abortion and still be pro-choice. It’s simple. Exercise your right to not have an abortion. But don’t feel that you, or some fat old white men in polyester suits in state houses throughout the land, have the right to make this monumental decision for a woman.
The second myth I’d like to dispel is that every woman who has ever had an abortion regrets it and is emotionally damaged for the rest of her life. And I’ll explain this by doing a #ShoutYourAbortion of my very own.
When I was 21 years old I was raped by someone who lived in my apartment complex. I didn’t report it, as many women don’t, because I knew the guy, and I also knew that when it comes to rape, victim blaming is the norm. “But officer, she told me she wanted me, the slut.” It’s sick, it’s twisted, but it’s a fact. Since I knew him, I knew that the implication would be that I had asked for such treatment. I felt humiliation. I felt shame. I felt disgust. I was terrified to leave the house and only did so to go to work. I barricaded my door for about a month. He would often pound on it at 3 am and then laugh and disappear, causing me to scream and cry. Then he moved away.
But he left me a parting gift. I was pregnant. I was pregnant and 21 and poor and all alone and terrified. I was also sickened by the thought that a part of that disgusting man was inside me, and now we’d be linked for life.
So, yeah, I had an abortion. And here’s the dirty little secret that the conservatives don’t want you to know: I never experienced even one second of regret. Not in 30 years. If you think that makes me a monster, I couldn’t care less. I’d do it again if the situation were the same.
Every woman is different. Every circumstance is different. But if abortion is a choice you feel you need to make, don’t think you “have to” feel a certain way about it. Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, what to think, or what decision you should make. At this point in time, you still have the right to come to your own conclusions. It will be a sad day, indeed, when that’s no longer the case.