I had an abortion.
I’m not going to tell you how old I was when I had it.
I’m not going to tell you what the circumstances around the pregnancy were.
I’m not going to tell you whether birth control was used or not.
I’m not going to tell you whether it was a wanted or an unwanted pregnancy.
I’m not going to tell you how far along the pregnancy was.
I’m not going to tell you whether there was a genetic abnormality, or whether my life was endangered by the pregnancy.
I’m not going to tell you any of those things because I think answering those questions, creating the situation from which my experience unfolds offers someone, everyone, anyone, the chance to say, “She deserved to access abortion,” or “How dare she get pregnant and have an abortion,” or find some pity in their heart for whatever piece of my situation offers them the opportunity to justify their judgment, or their sense of false safety.
When I was in high school (so many years ago) we had a speaker come to talk with us about HIV and AIDS. He told us about what living with AIDS was like. What it was like to defecate in his bed at 3am and be unable to move by himself and having to call for his parents to come clean him. To live with the stares that people gave him when they saw the sores on his arms. To be asked, over and over and over, “Well, how did you contract the disease?” He said it was a question he never answered. Because the answer would muddy his message with pity or feelings of false safety. How he contracted the disease was irrelevant to the fact that he had it.
This is how I feel about my abortion. None of the, “How did it happen?” matters. It’s irrelevant.
What matters is that I was able to access abortion when I needed to. When I wanted to. When I was pregnant and had the need to no longer be pregnant. When I was desperate to not be pregnant.
I walked past anti-choice protestors with their signs, and listened to their shouting, “Don’t do this! Think of your baby! We’re praying for you!” I pushed past them as they blocked the sidewalk.
The facility that did the abortion had, what I’ve come to understand is, an abortion doula. She held my hand, asked me if I was okay. If I needed anything. She tucked the stray hairs from my ponytail behind my ear and told me that everything was going to be all right.
When it was over, I threw up.
I have never regretted my abortion. For a long time I didn’t talk about it. In fact, I’m only just beginning to talk about it. I’ve always felt that my experience was just that, my experience and didn’t need to be shared. (I will admit, I did fear negative repercussion. I feared facing hostile judgement.) But I’m learning that things we don’t talk about – abortion, miscarriage…are things that we NEED to talk about. *I* need to pipe up when I hear someone struggling and say, “I’ve had this experience, too. This was how it went for me.”
Silence equals shame. And I am not ashamed.