No Little Girl Grows Up Saying I Want To Have An Abortion
Recently Anamarie, blogging friend, sent me an interesting Huffington Post article on abortion. And it has been bouncing around in my brain for the last few weeks, because this author and I share a lot in common.
If you don’t want to read the entire article, don’t worry, I’ll quote what Anamarie highlighted for me, and what I saw as the most important two paragraphs:
There’s a danger in talking about “good” abortions — these stories, like mine, of women choosing to end wanted pregnancies because of medical complications. They’re important because they bring to light the need for abortion due to medical reasons, but they also present the danger of making it seem like other reasons for abortion are less valid. That’s not my goal.
I don’t want anyone to think that I had abortion for a “good” reason and that abortions for other reasons are bad. What I do want is for people to hear my story and realize that abortion is often a much less black-and-white issue than politicians want us to think.
I realize I often talk about my abortion as being different – it was medically necessary. I do frequently make this distinction. I cannot help it, in large part I am at peace with our decision to abort because I knew we were in a high risk situation where my life could be compromised at any time. In all honesty, I know that this distinction, that our abortion was medically necessary, is in part how I accept the decision we made and therefore take responsibility for our decision.
When we were at the abortion clinic we were told they only see 1 or 2 people a year like us terminating a desperately wanted baby – we were rare. First we are the 1% who gets to experience recurrent pregnancy loss. Then we were the even smaller fraction of people who terminate for medical reasons. We wanted our baby. We wanted our baby more than anything else in the world. But, it was not meant to be and I do not regret our decision. I regret the circumstance that lead us to the abortion clinic, but I also realize that we had absolutely no control of the circumstances so I cannot dwell in it. We simply made the best decision we could at the time and I’d do the same thing again if I had to.
Yet, I also want to acknowledge that I tend to use the term abortion, rather than termination for medical reasons (or the common acronym of TFMR). In my mind, the reality is, like it or not, I had the procedure at an abortion clinic. And, further, no matter how you look at it, I chose, without any coercion, to have a procedure that ended the life of my child. I had an abortion. And the fact is, medically necessary or not, it is the same procedure at the same clinic, with the same team of doctors and nurses and even ultrasound techs.
I have stated in the past that I am pro-choice. All my life, well at least since I understood what pro-choice meant, I have been pro-choice. I believe every women/couple has the right to make the choice that is best for them. Prior to finding myself in need of an abortion, I always said I support a women’s right to choose, I just don’t think I could ever do it myself.
Well, it turns out I could, I did and I don’t regret it.
And while I hate that I was in that position and that my baby is not in my arms today, I am thankful that I had the right to choose. I am thankful that I was able to have the procedure safely, in a sterile medical environment with a skilled team of professionals. I am thankful I live in a democracy that typically places value on individual choice and freedoms. I am thankful I had the right to have an abortion.
What I can tell you, and will tell anyone willing to listen to me, is that I saw a different side of life that day in that waiting room. Whenever I think about it, my heart breaks for anyone who has ever been in that waiting room. And today, after being in an abortion clinic and actually experiencing an abortion, I am even more engrained in my belief in a women’s right to choose.
While my specific circumstance is exceptionally rare and may even be viewed as a “good” abortion on some sort of abortion scale, what I hope people hear from me more than that.
What I want people to hear is that no-women’s abortion experience is typical. No woman expects to be there. No women wants to be there. Every single one of us has a deeply personal story and every single one of us will always battle lingering doubts and regrets. Regardless of their reasoning for being there, I am willing to state with absolute certainty that not a single women in that waiting room ever envisioned an abortion as being part of her life plan.
No little girl grows up saying I want to have an abortion.
Little girls grow up wanting to be a mommy, a doctor, a rock star, a lawyer, or a teacher, but never someone who has an abortion. No-one stares into their mirror and dreams of the day that they end the life of a baby. To be in that waiting room means something has gone drastically wrong – maybe it’s medically necessary like mine, maybe the baby is the result of rape or incest, or maybe it’s the wrong time in the mother’s life for any number of reasons. But, I do not believe the why matters, but what matters to me is that virtually no-one’s first choice is to have an abortion.
No matter why we are there, I believe those of us in that room are bound together, even if we never actually share any words together. The fact is, all of us in that room share in our brokenness and share in our fear of extreme social rejection and negative judgement.
Some people might view some circumstances, like mine, as more socially acceptable then others, but I do not believe that’s a judgement we should be making. I believe in compassion and empathy and feel that if anything we need to start understanding that life simply isn’t black and white and all situations are diverse and unique. And really, we should simply be saying to these women/couples,
I’m sorry you were in a position where an abortion was your best choice. If you need/want to talk about it, I’ll be your shoulder to cry on. I’ll listen and support you however I can and without judgement.
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