NOTE: Here’s the audio version of Abortion: My Story.
In posts and comments here and elsewhere, I often mention the importance of blogging, how delighted I am that social media and our freely commenting allow us to become closer to each other. The simpler it is for people to express themselves into the ethers, the smaller our the world becomes. When we speak from our hearts and personal experience, we see we all need each other and that every single one of us linked in doing our best to get by each day.
All that, and still I left out a vital bit of my own story last time. In that post, “My Jury Duty Pt 1 + Infidel753 Works for Justice and Freedom to Choose,” guest blogger Infidel753 told of his experience as a volunteer for an abortion clinic. Your comments to that story have lent me the courage to tell my own story. As a “pro-choice escort,” Infidel753 described how he navigated women past the intimidation efforts of anti-choicers. As a result, some readers were inspired shared their views on abortion rights. (By the way, My Jury Duty Pt 3 is here.)
In my mid-20s, I terminated two pregnancies. That same year, I got pregnant twice, each time using different forms of birth control. At the time, I’d been living with a boyfriend since I was 18. He was a sweet, intelligent man who I loved dearly.
We were surviving on sporadic work, earning hardly above minimum wage. For that and many more reasons, I didn’t feel I could provide any child with a decent upbringing.
Abortions were expensive, and weren’t covered by my job’s health insurance. Each procedure was a physical ordeal of pain and then high fevers. I had to take days off from work, which I could ill afford.
I had a kind lover to help me through. Never have I regretted my decisions.
Later, in my 30s, I was sexually assaulted. Good luck, if the term can apply to anything about rape, is the only reason I didn’t get pregnant.
When people seek control, they say others “need to be held accountable.”
Seeing the world as “them” versus “us” makes it easy to objectify one another. Not so long ago, United States medical officials conducted the infamous 40-year Tuskegee Study. They pretended to treat black people for syphilis when really they were studying the full progression of the disease. To their reasoning, white lives mattered and black lives didn’t. Sound familiar?
What if you’re very young and your family is the opposite of a Hallmark card? What if you’re not employed? Or your job doesn’t provide insurance and sick days? What if the rape was more than you could bear? And you don’t want the added burdens of facing the police, defending your reputation as well as your case, can’t afford a good lawyer, and don’t want to confront whoever assaulted you in court?
Or say you simply got pregnant at any age, and for whatever reason, just don’t want to go through a full pregnancy?
What if, what if, what if?…
It’s no one’s business why or how many times any woman has an abortion.
When statisticians tally how many people consider abortion acceptable, they sidestep the real issue. What matters is no government ought to be entitled to have say over women’s bodies.
No one should have a say over who is sterilized or who must bear children. End of story.
Is it still legal to get an abortion?
The answer in the United States is yes, due in good measure for Planned Parenthood’s work.
The organization offers a range of affordable health care to all genders, all ages, all over the world. Interestingly, in 1970, President Richard Nixon signed into law funding for family planning services, which included Planned Parenthood.
According to Wikipedia, Nixon decreed, “No American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.”
Remember, it’s not enough to win rights — we must continually work to keep them. We can’t rest on our laurels.
For example, according to Wikipedia:
“Poland is one of the few countries in the world to largely outlaw abortion after decades of permissive legislation during Polish People’s Republic. About 10-15% of Polish women seek abortion in neighboring countries due to the strict restraints in their own country. Poland’s abortion law is one of the most restrictive in Europe, along with a group of other traditionally Roman Catholic countries of the region.”
What about Pt 2 of my jury duty?
It was a holiday weekend, so we all stayed home that Monday.
Since my car was in the shop, on Tuesday my husband lent me his car. Ten minutes away from home, his “check engine” light blinked on.
Fortunately (a word I don’t use lightly, as explained several headings ago), I had another car I could borrow. My mom lives with us and she was away visiting my brothers who live in different states. Can one take a vacation when one is retired? Regardless, her generosity allowed me to continue jury duty, albeit half an hour tardy that day.
Today’s post was an emotional one and it took a lot out of me so I’ll leave off here and fill you in on the rest of my jury service next time…
In the meantime, since the courthouse was in the Los Angeles Historic District, these photos are of Olvera Street. I walked there during our lunch break. According to Wikipedia, it’s “been the main square of the city since the early 1820s, when California was still part of Mexico, and was the center of community life[ until the town expanded in the 1870s.”
How much control over your body do you want to hand over to your government?