Sep 062010

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My husband and I were married July 4th. He is 34; I am 31. We were friends for four years before we ever began to date. Though our relationship is not perfect, we strive hard to build connection, intimacy, and communication together. I have never been pregnant, though I have been sexually active for over 12 years. While dating, my husband and I chose condoms as our contraceptive, though we were not always faithful in using them. But somehow, we avoided pregnancy. That is, until we became married and pregnant all on the same day. I knew I was ovulating, but the romance of marriage stimulated us to enjoy each other fully, without contraception. Two weeks into the marriage, I missed my period and tested positive on a home pregnancy test. I was devastated and dismayed. My husband and I spent many hours discussing our options. I have always been pro-choice, but never believed that I would choose to abort myself. Yet in the moments that followed the double pink lines on the pregnancy test, I realized that I was not ready to share my time with the needs of an infant. I want children; my husband wants children. But the timing was wrong. My husband is attempting to attend art school; my career is demanding and stressful. Financially, we are attempting to resolve old debt, including my student loans.

We met with a counselor at the abortion clinic who profoundly stated, “You must look at today and whether or not this is a fit for your lifestyle. You can not focus on what might be in 6 months.” The decision to abort was not easy. My emotions vacillated frequently, and I ran the gamut from excitement at being pregnant to regret at the timing. All in all, my husband and I, together, decided that we were not ready to continue with a pregnancy. Luckily, with the choice of the abortion pill, we were able to think of abortion not as termination, but as a reversal.

The process of aborting has been easy, though not without sadness and grief. But I do not regret the decision to abort at this time. I feel relief that I am not following through with a pregnancy, which is not appropriate at this time in my life. And I am confident that my husband and I will become pregnant again, when the time is right for us. I worked hard to keep my husband empowered in the process of the decision to abort. He attended the counseling session with me, and was able to ask all the questions he needed. Unfortunately, the clinic in our area was unable to recognize his involvement with the process, and my inclusion of him in the process. While the decision was ultimately mine, I recognized that for my husband, the decision needed to also be his—this was my commitment to him, as his wife. The clinic did not allow him to view the ultrasound, nor was he allowed to accompany me to see the doctor. The personnel at the clinic operated in a traditional masculine framework, such that the atmosphere was sterile, impersonal, and further victimizing. The clinic staff did not take the time to introduce themselves—I still do not know the doctor’s name that performed the ultrasound.

For me, the most grievous part of the abortive process was participating in the atmosphere of the clinic in which every feminist ethic of equality, democracy, and respect was violated. I was not informed of the steps of my visit, nor was I, or my husband, afforded the respect of our needs being acknowledged. I am disappointed that a clinic, whose purpose is to affirm the choice of women, did not affirm the need to respect women in an empowering, encouraging, supportive manner. But my disappointment with the clinic does not change my response to the abortion: I feel powerful that I was able to make a choice for me and my husband that was based on my/our needs, not based on politics.

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