My Abortion Story
September 29, 2021
“I chose myself.”
This is the line, in @Mona Eltahawy’s powerful essay, that has prompted me to share my own abortion story. Because I, too, chose myself.
I was 25 years old, living in San Francisco, engaged to be married later that year. I was studying for the bar exam, and had a job lined up at a downtown law firm. My fiancé wasn’t really ready to have children, but was supportive of whatever choice I made.
I was young and unsure of my place in the world and of who I was, let alone who I wanted to be. I was embarking on a career and a marriage, and that felt like plenty.
I chose myself.
As far as I knew, the pregnancy was normal. With both of us practicing law, we were under no financial strain. While my ob-gyn did not perform abortions, she referred me to a clinic that did. It was easily accessible, and I could afford the procedure.
This isn’t the kind of narrative we hear a lot about when we hear abortion stories. I’m very grateful that these were my circumstances: that they weren’t traumatic in the way so very many are. And these circumstances are also important to share, because they too are normal, in the sense of being experienced by many. And we need to normalize the choice to have an abortion.
As long as we continue to emphasize and share only the stories of rape or incest, or medical risk, or desperate economic circumstances, we continue to suggest that there are more and less justifiable reasons for choosing an abortion. And that undercuts the principle of our autonomy, as people, over our bodies and our lives.
I have previously shared this story with only a few close friends and family. My decision to have an abortion wasn’t easy, but it was clear, and I’ve never regretted it. But with the narratives of trauma and exigent circumstances so predominant, I have felt that my experience wasn’t really worth sharing.
My fiancé and I got married later that year. He and I are now divorced, but we have two beautiful, amazing children, now young adults, whom I love more than I can adequately express. I have been a far better mother to them than I would have been had I taken that pregnancy to term, back in the summer of 1988.
I chose myself.
Everyone should be able to make that choice.
And that is what Saturday’s march is about.