Thursday, July 7, 2022

Me and So Many Others

 I’ve had two abortions. They have been on my mind lately, for obvious reasons. What would I do if I was a young woman in Missouri, or Tennessee now? 

So how did I end up with not one, but two terminated pregnancies? I wasn’t raped, it wasn’t incest. My health wasn’t an issue, and it was too early to know if there was anything wrong with the fetus. It was pretty simple and straightforward. At 25, and again at 27, I did not want a baby. I was pretty sure I wanted children, someday, but not yet.

So why did I get pregnant? Did my birth control fail? Again, no. It’s kind of hard to explain 45 years later, but I was an inconsistent user of birth control. Was I irresponsible? Oh yes. But why? Well I was born in 1952. I was raised on a steady diet of romantic opera, musicals, and Disney movies (Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, etc). I was supposed to fall madly in love, get married, and THEN have sex. Then along came the sixties and make love not war. Part of me was more than happy to enjoy my sexual freedom, but part of me was reluctant to admit that I was having sex, so planning for it, by using birth control, would be admitting that I was having sex. So sometimes I did, but others times I did not.

So, I got pregnant. I was sleeping with a few different guys and couldn’t even say for sure who the father was. There was no question about carrying this baby to term, so in 1976 I got an abortion at Planned Parenthood No muss no fuss. I was sad, and annoyed with myself for being so irresponsible, but there was no regret, no guilt.

Now, some people would have continued that pregnancy and carried that baby to term. But not me. Cause here’s the other thing. When and if I did have kids, I was going to be ready, and I was going to do it right, and be the best parent I could possibly be. My parents were very young when they got married. My mother was only 23 when I was born. My father was mentally ill, and to put it mildly, portions of my childhood were pretty tough. I wasn’t going to repeat that scenario. No kids until I was ready, period.

After the first abortion I went on the pill. Problem solved, right? Well this was still the early days of the pill, and the amount of progesterone and estrogen in the pill was still pretty high. So I felt terrible, depressed, cranky, constantly PMSing. I went off the pill and I was back to the same problem.

So time passes, I grow up a little, Lee and I get serious, and we move in together. And once again, I get pregnant. This time, my sweet future husband volunteers to marry me and says we could keep the baby. Many things had changed, but one big thing had not. I still wasn’t ready to be a parent. I was pretty sure Lee and I would get married, eventually, but I never wanted there to be a question hanging over us about whether that was something we really wanted. And I want any future child to know they were wanted, and not something we just made the best of. So I said no, and had another abortion. This time I went to my Obgyn and again no muss no fuss no guilt.

After my second abortion I went on the pill again. The amount of hormones in the pill had been lowered by then and I felt much better. I stayed on the pill until we were married and ready to have children.

I know for sure my story, unglamorous, not traumatic, is very commonplace. But here’s the thing. It was my decision. I didn’t have to worry about government interference. I didn’t have to figure out complicated logistics.

And here’s the other thing. If I was living In Tennessee now, it wouldn’t change my decision. I would travel to another state, or I would get the pills and terminate it medically. I wasn’t going to carry those fetuses to term, and the law was not going to stop me. It might make me, or anyone one that helped me, a criminal, but those abortions were still going to happen.

So now that you’ve read this, judge away. I readily admit I was a foolish, irresponsible young woman. All the more reason not to have a child, in my opinion! 

They can’t stop abortion. They will just drive it underground and make it more dangerous. Lack of access will lead to more abandoned babies, more abused and neglected children, more women dying. But the people that applaud these laws have already shown how much they care about women, as in not at all. 

So I’m grateful that the laws and the atmosphere back then made my abortions simple, safe and legal. And I’m heartsick for the women and girls that won’t have the same freedom today. I don’t know if there is much I can do about it at this point except tell my story, so it is added to the voices of so many others. There are a lot of us and we are pretty angry right now. In fact we are very angry. Very angry indeed. Will that anger be enough? I don’t know, but it’s a start. 

1 comment:

  1. I am angry and deeply concerned for the intended and unintended consequences of the over turn of Roe. I was listening to a pediatric neurosurgeon being interviewed on Fresh Air and he picture he painted was horrifying. Thank you for sharing this Lynnie. I love you dearly.



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