#YouKnowMe abortion essay: I’m not sorry for my abortion
IIf you’ve ever had a drink with me, I probably told you about my abortion. Online, however, it’s a bit of a different story. Until last week, I only shared abortion-related news without any personal anecdotes. It’s not because I’m ashamed, but because I want to protect myself from trolls.
This neutral public stance changed for me this week after Georgia and Alabama have passed some of the toughest abortion bans in the countryside. First i I just tweeted that I had an abortion. But then I realized that I wanted people to put a face to the procedure, to hear from someone with a very ordinary story. So here is mine.
Four years ago, when I was 22, I already suspected that my new partner Ben and I were probably going to get married one day. We had only been together four months, but we had already planned to move together from Boston to New York at the end of the year, where we planned to live our big dreams next to each other.
But then I was fired from my first job out of college. I had about $ 1,000 in my name, $ 100,000 in student debt, and was not entitled to unemployment benefit or severance pay. Even though I was fortunate enough to live rent-free with my aunt and had supportive parents who could step in if necessary, the financial reality of my situation was still grim.
Around the same time, Ben noticed that my breasts were getting bigger. I just attributed the change to the huge amounts of bread and cheese I ate on vacation earlier in the month. But when my period didn’t come when it was supposed to, we got nervous. He suggested that we buy a pregnancy test to allay our fears. We are both very supportive of abortion; when I came out of the bathroom sobbing with a positive pregnancy test in hand, our decision was already made.
There was never a time when I regretted terminating my pregnancy.
While anti-abortion activists would have you believe that having an abortion is quick, easy, and on-demand, I’ve found it to be quite the opposite. Even in a state like Massachusetts that does not have mandatory waiting periods, the first meeting available at Planned Parenthood was at the end of the following week. It was at the same time as a job interview, which I couldn’t afford to skip. So it would take me another two weeks before I could have an abortion.
These next two weeks were the most miserable of my life. I threw up on the side of the road, in my interviewer’s bathroom, and even in my own purse. I couldn’t smell the food without getting sick. Although I had no reservations about my choice, the early pregnancy hormones made me cry constantly.
Most stressful: the cost. The procedure cost $ 650, and asking my parents for a loan to terminate my pregnancy was not an option. My mother, a religious southerner, had repeatedly said that she would not support an abortion. That’s how I found myself sobbing in front of the receptionist at Planned Parenthood. Fortunately, she directed me to the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund, which subsidized half of the abortion.
On the day of my appointment, I was called to meet with a counselor who asked me if I was sure of my decision. I told him that I had never been so sure about anything in my life. I was given an ultrasound so they could see how close I was. They asked me if I wanted to watch it, but I didn’t. My options were either quick surgery or a medical abortion, which would be given as two pills. I chose the latter option and was given a pill to take that day and a second pill to take at home 24 hours later.
I didn’t feel anything after taking the first pill. The second pill was another story. I was grateful that my best friend was home with me to hold me up and wipe the sweat from my brow. But after the excruciatingly painful first 30 minutes, I started to feel normal. I spent my recovery time watching the first season of How to get away with a murder and ate Nutella straight from the jar. I bled for a few days and wore a compress for the first time since I was 14.
There was never a time when I regretted terminating my pregnancy. If I hadn’t had an abortion, I wouldn’t have been able to fulfill my dream of starting a career in New York. It’s not just speculation: less than a year after my procedure, I got a great job where I earned more than double my previous salary. I don’t believe it would have been possible if I had been able to support myself and a child. Even my own parents, whom I never thought would be okay with abortion, ultimately respected my decision once I told them about it.
So the trolls, I’m one of the one in four women who have had an abortion. I don’t care if you come after me. My abortion was the best decision I ever made because it allowed me to choose the course of my life. I am not sorry.
A woman tells how having an abortion at 16 changed her life. And here is what you can do to help people living in states that have restrictive abortion laws.