"I got pregnant the first time I ever had sex. I was young, naive and had no good information about birth control (I can tell you that douches don't work!) The sexual experience wasn't good, and I came away knowing that I wanted nothing more to do with that man. He was dominating and domineering and wanted me to give up my career, settle down, give up my dreams, and get married and behave like a "normal" wife and mother. No way was that going to happen!
Then I missed a period, went to Planned Parenthood and found out I was pregnant. It was the worst day of my life! I had always known that I didn't want a typical marriage and especially, that I did not ever want to be a parent. I had just taken a huge step up in the career I was dedicated to, and there was no way that I could keep my job or continue to work in that field if I was pregnant. (That career and its world are a deep and essential part of me, and to lose it would be like losing what made me who I am, and what made life worth the living.)
I was terrified of my parents finding out that I was pregnant, because I was sure I'd be under tremendous pressure to "do the right thing" and get married. If the man had found out, he would certainly have used my pregnancy to establish a hold over me and I would be expected to marry him and raise his kid(s). I never wanted to be a mother, and I think it's a terrible thing to do to a child, to have a child that you don't want and can't love. I felt like my body, my life and my future had been taken over by this entity that I did not want, and I wanted to be free more than anything in the world. I just wanted it gone, and I'd do whatever I had to--legal or not, safe or not.
Thank the universe for Planned Parenthood! They not only helped with pregnancy testing and the information I so desperately needed, but gave me options I never knew I had. They offered counseling and did not try to influence my decision, but I knew from the start that I did not want this pregnancy and would never go through with it. I asked for a referral to a clinic, and they gave me one. They also gave me a lot better information on birth control (which I wish I'd had earlier!)
I went to the clinic alone and had the abortion. I had no doubts or qualms, and I didn't want anyone to try to influence my decision or perhaps hold it over me later. The procedure was painful--worse than the worst menstrual cramps I'd ever had--but when it was over, I was flooded with a feeling of profound relief and gratitude, as if I'd been saved from drowning or escaped from a prison. I had no doubts, regrets or guilt--I was just so glad to have it over and done with, and my life back in my own hands.
Looking back, 40 years later, I regret my ignorance and naivete in getting pregnant accidentally and with a man who was not the right one for me, but I have never regretted having the abortion. It saved my life! I'm grateful that I lived in a time and place where I could make my own decision and not be coerced into going through with a pregnancy that I hated. I truly believe that I, and every other woman, have the right to make my own decisions about my body, my health, my reproductive choices, and my life, and this is nobody's business but my own--certainly not the government or any religious organization, especially one I don't belong to or believe in.
I've never told my story before, because I'm a private person and I don't like to be judged. But I'm willing to share it if it will help remove the silence and stigma that so many women feel is there, and perhaps help someone feel that she has the right to have an abortion without guilt, shame or social consequences. I would never try to tell another woman what she should do, but I would say that your life and the decisions you make about it belong to you--not to a man, your family, a religion, the government, or a fetus." —Susan