I am a 30-year old married Arkansas woman who works full time and is a full time student…and has had two abortions. Long before I met my husband, I was in a relationship with a man for about a year. I would not consider him to be abusive–definitely not physically–although he did have a real knack for making me feel horrible about myself. The first time we had sex, I got pregnant. I have never really been a sex-driven person. This guy was actually the first guy I would consider a “boyfriend,” and I had only been sexually active for a couple of years before we met. I was probably about 21 when I fell pregnant the first time. Even though I am a highly intelligent person, I fell for the whole “I’m sterile” thing. It was incredibly naive, but I was not very experienced and did not expect him to lie to me. His initial response when I told him that I was pregnant was to say, “I doubt that. I told you I’m sterile. If you are by some miracle, we’ll just get married.” I did not know what I was going to do. At the time, I thought I did want to marry him, but I knew I was not ready for kids. Luckily, my parents were liberal and easy to talk to. I told my Mom what had happened, and SHE asked ME what I wanted to do about it. She let me know that abortion was perfectly acceptable, and that whatever I decided, I would not have to do it alone. I mentioned this to my boyfriend. He seemed relieved to have a “way out.” I got the abortion, and paid for it 100% on my own (he was to pay me half, but never did. Come to think of it, he did not even take me to the clinic; my Mother did).
My boyfriend came from a very conservative family, so obviously he did not tell them about it. I was told not to, as well (not that it mattered, as he never introduced me to them). Almost a year later when I was actively taking birth control, I became pregnant again. It was much less stressful this time: I knew what to expect, how my family would react, etc. I had another abortion. Both times, I was around seven weeks along. I got through both of them with the help of supportive parents and a couple of close friends. I kept the experiences to myself for years, except for those people. I did not want my extended family to know, for fear that they would disown me.
As I have gotten a bit older and more educated, I now know that there is NOTHING to be ashamed of. Abortions exist for a reason. Abortion is NOT murder, it is NOT the government’s decision, and it is NOT shameful. It is a matter of life or death for many women. For me, I simply was young and ill-prepared. However, I have NEVER been more grateful for anything in my life. Had I not had abortions, I would be tied to my ex-boyfriend for life. Shortly after he broke up with me (over the phone, without warning), he began dating a much younger girl, who he also impregnated. She actually went through with marrying him, and they were divorced within a couple of years. That could have been me! I could be a single mother trying to balance a career and a kid, having long given up hope of going back to college. Because I had two abortions, I am free…free to live the life I have always wanted for myself. I am back in college on the President’s List, I have a great job at which I excel, and I met my soulmate seven years ago and we are very happy. I am still close to my family and still have supportive friends.
For anyone who is considering an abortion, please know that there is no such thing as a right reason or wrong reason, an acceptable situation or an unacceptable situation. This is YOUR body. It is YOUR choice. We have to fight to keep it that way. Do not let the religious right dictate the story of your life. Do not let them feel bad about this decision. Only YOU know if it is the right one for YOU.
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