by Max Brantley
I am a 38-year-old, professional woman and I’ve had an abortion.
All the recent talk from the legislature about abortion and women’s rights brings up thoughts about my choice to have an abortion. When I hear the things Jason Rapert says about abortion, it makes me think he thinks that the women who are doing this are slutty people with low or no morals. That’s just not the case. I see myself as a Christian. I believe in God but I also believe everyone has a choice. I chose to have an abortion.
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I come from a good family — my parents are still married and have been for over 40 years. I’m college educated and have a very good job. Growing up in a small town, I knew what I wanted out of life — mainly to not be stuck in that small town. Anybody guessing would think that growing up in that small town is when I would’ve become pregnant. It wasn’t. I was always on the honor roll and in college I didn’t party all that much. It wasn’t until I moved here to Arkansas with my first “real” job.
Fifteen years ago, I moved here for work and fell in love. We were having sex. It was always protected sex with a condom. July 4th weekend of that year, I took him back to where I went to college to meet my college friends and to basically see where I’d come from. We had sex but only this time, the condom broke. This was before the “morning after” pill but even then I didn’t think I would get pregnant. It wasn’t until another trip
Labor Day weekend that I became sick. We thought it was the food we’d been eating (my first time to try sushi was that trip) or I’d picked up a bug from somewhere. Being pregnant never crossed my mind. That changed when that sickness continued.
Lots of things ran through my mind after the pregnancy test showed positive. The first thing was that my mom was going to kill me. The next thought was I can’t take care of a child. That may sound selfish but really, I was looking ahead. What kind of life would my child have? I was 23 with my first job in a city where I had no family. How was I going to support a child? I never thought I would get an abortion. I didn’t think that
was for me or that I could actually do it. After a week of knowing I was pregnant and imagining all the possibilities, both with a child and without, I made my decision.
Driving over to the clinic in WLR that Saturday, all kinds of thoughts were running through my head. Could I actually raise a child? What would people think of me being with a child and not married? Would my child have the same kind of life I had growing up? The answer to most of those questions was no.
Most people don’t know what happens when you go to an abortion clinic. There is counseling to make sure you really want to go through with it. I remember talking to the lady who was with me and the questions she asked me. They weren’t meant to influence my decision one way or the other. They were to make sure I was making the right decision and that no one else was the reason for me being there. We talked about my then
boyfriend (who was with me at the clinic), the direction I saw my life going and I knew I what I needed to do. She even told me that she’s seen abortions make or break couples. Before we went to the clinic my boyfriend and I discussed the options and he left the final decision to me. We went on to date for three years.
Some comments on various sites say that the vaginal probe already happens with abortion. It doesn’t. There is an ultrasound. You don’t have to watch it. I chose to. I wanted to own what I was doing. I know when my
child would’ve been born. He or she would be 14 this year. Writing this down still feels like it was yesterday and not 15 years ago. I guess the point is that the people who have abortions aren’t always the people you think of. Now that I’m older, I ask myself if I could go through that again, I’m not sure. I do know that MY choice back then was the right thing to do at the time.
I’d like to think making that decision to terminate the pregnancy allowed me to continue on into the person I am today. I’m not a monster for choosing to end my pregnancy. Not everyone’s abortion story, or potential abortion story, will be mine. I’m glad I had the freedom to go through with it. Knowing what Rapert and his kind are trying to do, it feels like we’re going backwards instead of moving forward. I do know that I’m glad my situation was in 1998 and not now.