Susie’s Story

I’ve terminated two pregnancies, one the product of being very young and very stupid and the other the product of a date-rape. Even though I was 15 when I figured out I was pregnant the first time, I immediately knew what I wanted to do. I was not going to carry a baby for the next nine months only to give it up for adoption, I was not going to drop out of school to raise a child, and I certainly wasn’t going to foist the responsibility on my parents. I told my mom I was pregnant and that I wanted to terminate, and this mother of six agreed it would be best. Although my mother has always waxed poetic about the joys of pregnancy and childbearing, even she could see (no doubt because of her experience) that a fifteen-year-old should not have a child. She drove me to a private clinic, where to my horror we found anti-choice protesters abusing any woman who entered the building. The protesters were so aggressive that I had to be shuffled in through the back door to avoid their harassment. Once inside I was treated especially well by people who were concerned for my psychological well-being. I could see their consternation at the protesters’ terror tactics, and their sympathy for my position. It was such a marked contrast that I immediately felt comfortable, despite the shock of fear I had upon seeing the anti-choicers outside. In fact, during the entire experience of deciding to have the abortion, terminating the pregnancy, and recovering physically, the only time I experienced distress was when confronted by angry, aggressive protesters who I knew would stand in my way of making the best choice for myself. The distress I felt was a profound fear of these people who, if they had their druthers, would force me into a role that I neither wanted, nor was prepared to assume. As for the experience of the abortion itself and the recovery period, whatever physical discomfort I may have felt was more than compensated for by the ecstatic relief I felt when I knew I was no longer pregnant. I had the life I wanted back!

The second abortion was different in that it was performed at a Planned Parenthood, at age 18, and was preceded by legally mandated counseling. The counselor was required to inform me of abortion “alternatives,” show me pictures of developing fetuses, and ask me about why I decided to have an abortion to see if the decision was one made under relievable duress. Even though the cause of the pregnancy was radically different, I felt my reasoning was essentially the same as the first time I aborted: I had neither the resources, nor the inclination to carry the child to term. This time around I was angry at the anti-choicers’ second invasion into my private decisions. Even though there were no protesters at the door, I could see them just as well in the form of the pregnancy crisis center pamphlets, in the pictures of fetuses, and in the counselor’s embarrassment at the entire process. I remember angrily thinking, “Where do these people get off, thinking I can’t make this decision without them providing information? What makes them think I didn’t research this myself? Do they think I’m a wholly emotive being, incapable of making sound rational decisions without aid?”

I’m now 27 years old and haven’t felt an ounce of regret about my abortions. If I had had either of those children, I would not have the life I do now, the life I deliberately chose for myself for MY OWN reasons. I do not feel a need to explain my decisions to anyone, and I’m certainly not sorry. In fact, whenever I get to experience something special as a result of my education and socio-economic status, I often thank god I made the decisions I did. I wouldn’t give up what I have for a hundred unborn babies!