When I was 22, I had an abortion. It was absolutely the right thing to do. And here’s why it was the best healthcare decision of my life.

Growing up…

I grew up in a broken home with two addicts for parents. My father wasn’t around and my mother was physically, mentally and verbally abusive. She had my older brother when she had just turned 20 and me at 26. I could never for the life of me figure out why she had children. She didn’t like us, she didn’t take care of us, and most of the time I thought she hated us. I always wondered if she simply had us because she didn’t have access to abortion, or if abortion was just too tabboo back then to undergo. She passed away this year from her addiction, and I’ll never know.

I just knew that I never wanted to bring a child into this world unless I really, really wanted it. Unless I planned for it, had money and the emotional stability to properly care for and love it. To this day, one of my biggest gripes with the world is the people in it who take having a baby lightly. The people who have no business bringing children into this world, the people who treat babies as accessories and not tiny, precious, helpless little humans. Having a child is a very big deal. And it’s a task that should be entered into with careful thought, planning and care.

Why An Abortion Was the Best Healthcare Decision Of My Life

Which is why at 22, in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic and completely immature and unstable – I decided to have an abortion. At 22 I was ridden with anxiety, I was drinking too much, I hadn’t yet discovered that I was celiac and therefore incredibly sick most of the time, I was immature, irresponsible and honestly – just being 22. I was a kid with my first big girl job at the Department of Labor. I wanted to break up with my boyfriend (we were actually already in the process of breaking up), and start my own business. I wanted to better myself. Simply put, I was a mess.

When I found out I was pregnant, the boyfriend and I didn’t even question the abortion. We both immediately agreed it was the best and only option. From the time I the pregnancy test turned positive to the time I called Planned Parenthood was probably all of fifteen minutes. We had a discussion, both agreed we were not committed to a relationship with one another and much less committed to being parents. I felt no hesitation in that decision.

I could go on about why we were unsuited to be parents, I could give dramatic details, I could talk about all of the horrible things that happened in our lives and in that relationship – but the truth is all abortions are valid no matter the reason. That is my business and it’s doesn’t need to be shared to make my abortion the right decision. It was the right and best healthcare decision of my life.

I want to drive this point home: abortion is healthcare.

My Abortion Experience

I went to the Planned Parenthood in DC, which luckily was only about 20 minutes from my house. I didn’t have to travel miles to get there, take off work or try to find a way to pay for it. I had the resources to do all of these things.

I saw nurses and doctors who were kind, gentle and patient. They explained everything in detail to me, made sure time and again I wanted to have an abortion, made sure I knew what it meant, that I was consenting, that I was not forced into my decision. They were incredibly thorough and professional. I was thankful.

I left with a couple of pills to take, then spent the weekend in bed. I had what amounted to a heavy period and never passed anything bigger than a clot. To be honest, I pass bigger clots on my period. By Monday I was back and work and relieved. I just kept thinking how grateful I was to have the option to have an abortion.

The Truth About Abortion

While it seems like right wing Christians think women and children are out there getting abortions for full-term babies, the reality is that the vast majority of abortion occur within the first trimester, when the fetus is a miniscule bundle of cells, usually the size of a grain of rice. Not a baby.

The fact is that over 90% of abortions are performed within the first trimester, when no baby is present or viable. A bundle of cells is present. Of the women who have abortions, most are under the age of 25. Most are at or below the poverty line. Most have jobs, many are in school and over two thirds want children in the future.

I think so many people have this idea that abortions are torturous, people have even messaged me to say abortion is literal torture for the mom and cells, that “babies are ripped apart limb by limb.” This goes to show you how uneducated and ignorant people are on abortion.

There is no baby to rip apart limb by limb. There are cells, and most abortions are induced with the pill, not the surgical procedure. Women are not tortured, fetuses are not tortured. And I know this because I have had an abortion. It was uncomfortable at worst. My periods are more painful. And again, no baby came out because that early it’s only cells.

What about late term abortions, when there IS a baby?

This is I think what most people think of when they hear “abortion.” They think of a fully formed baby being ripped from the womb. The reality is this: only 1.3% of abortions are performed at or beyond 21 weeks. These abortions occur not because the woman no longer wants a baby, it’s actually heart breaking. These abortions occur because the mother or baby is ill or will not survive. This happened to a family member of mine at 26 weeks when she found out her baby would not survive outside of the womb. She was devastated but thankful she didn’t have to continue to carry. I can’t imagine if she were forced to. That would be cruel and barbaric. And it happens.

Recently in Poland, 30 year-old Izabela went to the hospital after her water broke at 22 weeks. Scans had shown numerous defects within the fetus. Due to Poland’s strict abortion laws as a devout Catholic country, doctors had to wait for the baby’s heart to stop beating before they could perform an abortion. Izabela texted her mother saying she had to wait, and she was expecting sepsis. That is exactly what killed her on the way to the operating room. A healthy, 30 year-old woman died to prioritize the life of a baby who wouldn’t have even been able to survive outside of her room. As far as I’m concerned, she was murdered.

Why I’m Thankful For Planned Parenthood and How You Can Help

Before I ever had an abortion, I saw Planned Parenthood for birth control and pap smears. They were the first to diagnose my abnormal cervical cells (you can read about my cervical dysplasia here and how I got rid of it).

How you can help:

  • Donate to Planned Parenthood.
  • Donate to various women’s rights organizations.
  • Speak up! I’m tired of women saying they aren’t political because they don’t want to offend or seem too aggressive – our very basic rights are being stripped away from us!
  • Share your stories – whether it’s abortion, miscarriage, rape, molestation, harassment in the workplace, being passed over for a job because you’re a mother – TALK ABOUT IT. The world needs to know!
  • Vote for people who support welfare programs for poor mothers.

The lasting repercussions:

Honestly, I didn’t have any. I felt a bit sad about the situation after it happened, just the whole thing, where I was at in life because it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wasn’t the person I wanted to be. And I can say without a doubt in my mind that I would’ve never become the person I was meant to be if I had a baby at 22. That baby would’ve been unwanted, with a mentally ill and alcoholic father, with an immature and irresponsible mother – that weren’t even together. That baby’s quality of life would have been absolutely terrible. It would have grown up in a cycle of abuse and addiction like I did, and the cycle would have just continued.

Instead, I went on to get my nutrition certification. I met my husband. I started my own business. I had an amazing, healthy relationship. I found my self worth. I worked out my traumas. I healed. I got married. We bought a house. My husband and I did a preconception diet for months before we even tried to get pregnant. Both of our beautiful sons were planned, wanted and therefore are the healthiest, happiest, most loved children. That’s how it should be.

Quick facts:

  • 91% of abortions occur within the first trimester, when the fetus is just a bundle of cells.
  • Late term abortions account for only 1.% of abortions and performed when the mother or baby are in danger, ill or not viable.
  • Abortion is safe professional whether you choose the pill or the surgical procedure.
  • No, Margaret Sanger was not trying to eliminate Black people. Margaret Sanger did believe in eugenics, but the idea that healthy humans should procreate as they choose with other healthy humans to create healthy babies. She did believe, as did almost all medical professionals at that time, that mentally and physically disabled people should not reproduce. Her main goal was birth control and reproductive rights for women, and she often worked in poor areas because these women were more likely to have unwanted pregnancies, get sick, even die.

If you don’t support abortion, read the following:

If you don’t support abortion, it’s most likely because of your religion. Let’s not forget that religious leaders didn’t care one bit about abortion until 1979 and then it was only a rallying cry to deny Jimmy Carter a second term – in reality the religious right didn’t care about abortion but they needed something to cover up the real reason they didn’t want a second term: they wanted segregation.

Jimmy Carter rescinded the tax exempt status of all-white schools evangelical Christians were creating. Religious leader Paul Weyrich needed a rallying cry to get Carter out of office so white evangelics could continue operating these all-white schools, but they couldn’t openly say they wanted Carter out of office because they’re abhorrent racists, so instead they did it by throwing their support behind you guessed it: pro-life. Something Christianity not only didn’t care about, but openly supported. You can read more about this here and here.

Basically, if you don’t support abortion because of your religion – fine. You’ve been played, but fine. That is your prerogative. Here is what is not your prerogative: imposing your religious beliefs on other people. If you don’t want an abortion, great, don’t have one. But this country was founded on a separation of church and state. That’s part of what makes America the free nation it is today. This isn’t Afghanistan, and as much as the religious right decry nations like this, it seems like they have more in common with them than they’d like to admit.

If you do not support abortion, instead of fighting against women’s rights, might I suggest you fight for the actual lives of humans that have been born? Maybe fight to end the death penalty. Fight to end police murdering innocent people. Fight to end war. Fight to support poor mothers who do choose to have children, but don’t have resources. Maybe vote for the politicians who support welfare programs, money health and childcare for these less privileged mothers. Because if you support politicians who are anti-abortion, who always also fight against welfare programs, you’re not pro-life, you’re pro-birth, and also maybe just a terrible person.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2019/02/06/tough-questions-answers-late-term-abortions-law-women-who-get-them/

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/67/30/67305ea1-8da2-4cee-9191-19228c1d6f70/210219-annual-report-2019-2020-web-final.pdf

https://www.guttmacher.org/global/abortion

https://www.foxnews.com/story/fast-facts-u-s-abortion-statistics

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/death-pregnant-woman-ignites-debate-about-abortion-ban-poland-2021-11-05/

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/cc/2e/cc2e84f2-126f-41a5-a24b-43e093c47b2c/210414-sanger-opposition-claims-p01.pdf

https://time.com/4081760/margaret-sanger-history-eugenics/

https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/08/14/432080520/fact-check-was-planned-parenthood-started-to-control-the-black-population

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