Sep 062010

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I was 18 when I had my abortion. It was from an acquaintance rape from a guy with whom I was in the beginning stages of a relationship with. One night after we had closed and were working on closing paperwork, he suggested we crack open a few beers and get to work. I figured why not, its not like I was planning on getting drunk. One beer wouldn’t hurt. Boy was I wrong. Halfway through the beer, I began to feel very tired. I commented on how I thought something was wrong and I remember him saying it would be ok, that I needed to sleep it off. Everything went black after that. I woke up a few hours later, naked and confused. I didn’t want to believe that anything had happened, so I got my clothes on and went home to put this out of my mind. Six weeks later it came rushing back when the second line on the pregnancy test appeared. I knew instantly what had happened, and more so what I was going to do about it. I chose to have an abortion.

My first attempt at doing this was about two weeks after finding out I was pregnant. I went to the clinic and told them that I had decided to undergo a medical abortion at home. Upon testing I was told that I was too far along to do this so we decided that a surgical abortion was best. During this time, my mother had discovered that I was pregnant and reluctantly agreed to go with me. My parents are both Catholic, and very pro-life but for that one moment she saw past religious dogma and her own views to support her scared child.

The day of my abortion was one of the longest days of my life. I was told to be at the clinic at noon. My mom and I got there a little before then. She was told to go wait in one room and I was to go into another one. There I had an ultrasound; some blood drawn; and was issued a packet of information to read over. It contained all of the physical things I needed for my recovery. After I left that room, I was sent upstairs to talk to a counselor. I think this woman must have been the strongest woman I had ever met at the time. We talked about my rape. We talked about my choice not to report it, a choice I still regret but I didn’t receive medical attention right after it happened so any evidence was gone, everything except for the physical symptoms of pregnancy that left me drained, nauseous and angry. We talked about everything that would occur during the procedure. Every question I had was answered in the most loving manner. Every time I cried she told me this was not my fault. She told me that this choice was the hardest choice any woman can make. She made me feel as if I was making the best choice possible.

Exactly 5 hours after entering the building, I had my abortion. I had opted to have this done under twilight anesthesia so I don’t remember much of the actual procedure. It wasn’t until I was in the recovery room that the reality had sunk it- I had become a part of some of the most hated people in the United States. I had become one of the 1.3 million women who had an abortion in the year 2000. Was I ashamed? Not at all. I think it was at that moment, as I chatted with the girl next to me, that I realized how important this procedure was. I wasn’t going to be forced to raise a child conceived in rape. The girl nest to me wouldn’t have to be a mother. No one in the room with me would be forced to endure an unwanted pregnancy to term, be forced to give birth, and then have to make the hard choice to parent or to give their child up for adoption. We had all made the choice that was probably the most important choice we would ever have to make. We were strong in our choice. As I was leaving the clinic, the counselor with whom I had talked with was in the parking lot making sure there were no protestors to bother us as we left. I remember that she looked over at me and said, “Stay strong little sister”. I didn’t know what she meant at the time. I sure know now.

That was four years ago. Life is drastically different for me. A few months after I had my abortion, I met my now fiancé. Together we have a child. A wonderful wanted child. I often think back and realize that none of this would have happened had I not have had access to a safe, legal abortion. We need realize that this right we have to have a safe abortion is one many of our foremothers didn’t have. We need to put any thoughts of regret and being ashamed out of our minds. We need to thank everyone who has fought for us to have this right. We need to scream it from the rooftops so that every anti-choice activist can hear it; so that all of the politicians who wish to make this illegal; to George Bush who is waging his own personal war on reproductive rights: WE’RE NOT SORRY!

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