Sep 052010

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The following is the story of how and why I arrived at the decision to obtain an abortion and why it was a decision I will never regret.

I have always been the kind of person who needs to learn “the hard way” and I learned a lot of valuable life lessons through trial and error. I was a 16-year-old high school student, working part-time at the local Walgreens. I had been experimenting extensively with drugs since my early teenage years. At the time of my pregnancy, my drugs of choice were cocaine and LSD. These substances, along with promiscuous sex, seemed to bolster my extremely low self-esteem and offer a short-lived euphoric haven to my troubled adolescent psyche. I was in the throes of a serious yet tumultuous relationship with a boyfriend, Hugh. We had been fighting quite a bit around the time of my pregnancy and to anger each other, we would often sleep with other people. During this time I engaged in unprotected sex with two additional people. Hugh and I rarely used condoms because we didn’t have the money for them and I was afraid to ask my parents to help me obtain contraceptives. Because of this, we often had unprotected sex and he “pulled out” instead.

About five weeks following conception, I began to suspect I was pregnant, but denial and fear kept me from taking a pregnancy test until I was 7 weeks along. I told my mother and she was extremely supportive. Hugh wanted to consider having the child but luckily I had enough maturity to realize that I was not ready to have a child. I was a 16 year old high school student, a drug user, and I wasn’t even positive that Hugh was the father.

Upon seeing the doctor, I was told the approximate date of conception, which confirmed Hugh as the father. My options were explained to me but I had already made up my mind. I was told I might feel depressed and regretful after the abortion but I felt very strongly that this was the right thing to do; the only thing to do. I went through with the procedure and chose not to tell anyone at school about it. I haven’t felt a moment of self-doubt since.

I broke up with Hugh shortly before I graduated high school. Sadly, he dropped out of school, became a heroin addict and overdosed shortly after I graduated. I quit drugs and went to college in New York City, where I graduated with honors. I had the amazing opportunity to travel around the world in a semester abroad program. After graduation, I spent some time driving across the country to earn graduate credits at Biosphere 2, an environmental study program in Arizona. When I returned home a few months later, I fell in love with a wonderful man and we recently married.

None of the wonderful things I have done in my life would have been possible if I had decided not to terminate my pregnancy. I would have brought a child into the world that would have likely been unhealthy because of my drug use. Chances are, this child would have grown up in a low-income home with an immature, uneducated and unskilled mother, and no father. Not only would it have been a horrible personal disservice to have denied myself the time I needed to grow up and experience the world, it would have been a disgrace to saddle a child with so many obstacles and difficulties to overcome.

I was not mature enough to have a child but I was smart enough to make the right decision; one that I believe gave me the freedom to grow as an individual and pursue a satisfying and productive life. My husband and I are considering having a family, and though I regret having learned “the hard way”, I recognize the importance of knowing when the time and circumstances are right, and understand how to plan appropriately for this major responsibility.

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