Sep 052010

I am so moved by the stories I have read here today and wanted to share my own.

I was 17 when I discovered I was pregnant. I grew up in Ireland – catholic neighbourhood, school, everything. As you may know abortion is illegal in Ireland and still to this day women in Ireland need to leave the country for one.
,p> It was a very scary time for me. I went alone by ferry to England to get it done. I knew when I found out that I didn’t want to continue the pregnancy. I’d never really thought of women’s issues or rights before. Being raised in a catholic situation, abortion was of course thought of as killing a life. In high school I was even in a pro-life group, more from pressure to do it than because it’s what I believed. I left the group after the second meeting because it just didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t think that all situations required one answer – which was to carry to term.

From as young as I can remember my goal was to be married with kids. It was a big shock to me that this was happening in a time when my life was in turmoil. I was planning to move to Canada at the time, the boyfriend was violent and I knew a better life was waiting for me out there. It was my choice to take it or leave it. I took it with both hands.

My parents found out I was pregnant. When they came to talk to me about it I told them I wasn’t keeping it. They were not understanding and disowned me. They even brought my nine month pregnant aunt to “talk some sense into me”, which only made me angry.

I was alone in England, a country I didn’t know, ready to go in for the procedure, anesthetic already given when I had a moment of panic and tried to tell them I changed my mind. I believe it was just a last minute “catholic guilt” thing. Fortunately for me the drugs took effect and soon I was in recovery.

I read these articles about women that have had abortions that regret it a lot and remember the dates etc. I just don’t understand that. I couldn’t tell you the date I had it done, just the year, 1988. Not to say that it wasn’t a huge decision for me. It makes me mad when I hear people say “having an abortion is selfish”. Selfish? I hardly think so. “It’s an easy way out” Huh? What do they know? I just treated the whole thing like a bad tooth being pulled? That’s crazy. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, but in making that decision it’s made me who I am today. A more understanding person.

I did move to Canada later that year. I still live here. In 1994 and 1997 I had children. I’m happily married and have been for the last 12 years. I’ve never regretted my decision. Never.

I’m in the situation now where I am trying to help my sister (who still lives in Ireland) get an abortion. It’s what she wants and of course in Ireland it means she’ll have to go out of the country. So, to keep her life private, safe from family that won’t agree and safe from recriminations she is coming here to Canada to have it done. It’s feasible that she would come to see me, but not that she would go to England. Incredible that in this day and age we still have to go through this stuff just because a woman makes a choice that not everyone agrees with.

I’m here for her. I’m glad I’ve gone through it because I understand what she’s going through and she will have support. I wish she didn’t have to deal with it at all, but this is life and life isn’t easy. You just have to make the best decisions for your life that you can.

As for my parents, they eventually talked to me again. Time heals things. We never discuss it so I have no idea how they feel now. Like I told them at the time, “This is my life, which is all lying ahead of me. If I have this child I will have no life.” I believed it then and I truly believe it even more now that I have kids in a stable relationship. Raising kids is hard enough without doing it before you are ready or in a life situation where it wouldn’t be beneficial to the child.

Pro-life? Yes I am. I’m pro-life about my own life and other women who choose to make their lives better rather than toeing the line that other people set up for us.

Thanks for giving us this opportunity to share our stories.

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