Laura’s Story

I was 17, just beginning my senior year of high school in a rural, Midwest town. The past several months I had been having unprotected sex with an emotionally abusive boyfriend and, finally, at the closest Planned Parenthood, two hours away from home, I fully realized the consequences of my recklessness. I was already 7 weeks along. I had waited 3 weeks to find out what I already knew.

I don’t have a definite answer for my irresponsibility.

Teenage pregnancies weren’t uncommon in this rural area, but abortion was one of those whispered-about sins that nobody would think of doing, or admit to doing. And although it was common, there was an obvious education level and economic class associated with the teenage mothers. I always though myself better; apparently I wasn’t.

Of course I cried. And cried. And cried. I knew what I wanted to do before I had even taken that drive to PP, and that made me feel incredibly guilty. The boyfriend supported any decision I was to make, he said. Being 17, I envisioned our happy family-to-be. It was exciting.

But I wasn’t too naïve to know that it would be incredibly ludicrous to bring a child into my life. I was with the boyfriend to fill a void, and I knew it wouldn’t last. Eighteen more years tied to him was an unbearable thought. And I doubted his parenting capabilities as much as I doubted my own. Although a high school graduate, he had no job and no desire to pursue higher education. I was a high school student living at home with my mom. I came from a background of poverty and so did he.

After a couple weeks of dread, I told my mom. “We’ll raise the baby together, it will be okay,” she said. I knew many teenage parents, living in subsidized housing, going to the grocery store with their food stamps. No hopes for the future… no goals. They would brag about their love for their children with a joint in one hand and a beer in the other, with the children “safely” asleep upstairs.

My choice was the loving choice.

I, along with my mom and boyfriend, took the trip to the closest abortion provider – 5 hours away and in a different state. If it had been 7 months later I wouldn’t have needed parental consent.

Thanks to the 48-hour policy we had to take two trips. Total cost:: over $800. It was all the money I had saved for college. I barely had the money for an abortion. It’s almost laughable to imagine having a child.

It was an OBGYN center in a hospital, so it provided other services as well. I remember happy looking pregnant women and small children. And I remember feeling guilty. I felt sad for my mother. I felt angry at the boyfriend for his indifference. Humiliated.

The pain was excruciating for a very short time. Relief.

For the last three years, I’ve wondered what’s wrong with me – I was always confident in my decision, no regrets. I thought that I was supposed to feel guilt. Sadness. Regret. And I wondered why I felt none of those things. Then I came across this site, and I learned that I don’t have to be sorry.

I saved a soul from a life of poverty with teenage parents who would inevitably break up. Who knows if the boyfriend would have stayed around? If the welfare would have been enough? If I could have emotional coped. It would have been a sad existence for a life that deserved more.

I also saved myself.

I’m going into my third year at a prestigious university with hopes of going to law school. I plan to use my education to protect women’s reproductive rights.

I’m ashamed that I became pregnant at 17. I am proud of the consequent choice I made. I’m not sorry.