This fall, Bill Nye spoke up about abortion. A lot of people have extremely different things to say about it. Although, until recently, most of the people speaking up, or at least the ones shouting the loudest, have been rich white men, naturally, who possess the most power and influence. So it’s always reassuring to me when somebody of influence (say, Bernie Sanders or Bill Nye) speaks up for the ones who are not dignified a voice. In this case, women.
But if an influential rich white man, of the highest social standing, like Bill Nye, can say that it’s okay for women to have abortions, why can’t I? Am I any less entitled to that opinion because I’m a woman? Because I have a womb? Because I’m the one who’s body is in question? Because I’m the one who has to decide if I can or I can’t or I should or I shouldn’t or will or I won’t have this child that I can’t afford to support, that I’m not prepared to nurture in the way a child needs and deserves? So why should I have anything to say about it… right? The fate of my life as women is for rich white men to decide, and me to live with.
In Public Speaking, my professor, a profound and deeply inspirational woman, (bear with me on this tangent) emphasized the importance of persuasive rhetoric—broken down into pathos, logos, and ethos—ethos being the credibility we bring to our argument, as speakers. For our final, we presented a persuasive speech on any topic of our choice. Two students spoke in favor of the illegalization of abortion. One was a wealthy white male, conservative. The other was a young Latina woman, single mother of one. Between the two of them, the latter had all the ethos. She had all the credibility because she spoke from personal experience, unlike the other, who spoke from ignorance.
But this year, women are finally speaking up, and so am I, even though this news will come as a surprise to some, and an unwelcome one to many. I had an abortion. A year and a half ago, at the end of a bad relationship. My boyfriend had already left me. I hadn’t known that I was pregnant, and it was not a healthy pregnancy. I was underweight. I had been smoking and drinking during. I had continued taking birth control, not knowing I was pregnant. In all likeliness, I would have miscarried, but I didn’t want to leave that fate to chance. I couldn’t care for a baby. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to be tied to my ex, and nothing anchors you to someone like a child.
My ex begged me to keep it. He told me he’d take care of it. Even after leaving me, he wanted me to carry his child inside me for nine months just to hand it over to him and let him raise—or rather, neglect and verbally abuse the kid, like he did me. If I had kept it, I would never want my ex in contact with my child, or in my child’s life in any way. But who am I—a woman—to deny my child’s father custody? Keeping it would have meant condemning myself and an unborn child to a life I wanted to protect us from.
I know my relatives eventually will see this. Some of them will be disgusted and ashamed. Maybe some of them will have something to say to me about it. Or maybe they’ll just call my mom or dad. Maybe they’ll tell them that they’ve failed as a parents, or I’ve failed as a daughter and deserve to be disowned. Maybe they’ll just unfriend me on Facebook, or cut me out of their lives, or stop including my name in Christmas cards addressed to the rest of my family. Maybe some of them will be confronted by a reality they never thought they’d face. Maybe some of them will question their beliefs. Maybe some of them won’t give a fuck. Maybe some of them will be proud of me for doing the right thing. To each their own.
But to whoever’s reading this, and whatever you believe, this is just to say that I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry I didn’t have a kid I couldn’t raise. I’m not sorry I didn’t bear the baby of a bad man. I’m not sorry I decided not to fight an unfit father for custody of a kid I didn’t want him to have. I’m not sorry I ended a pregnancy that was threatening my health. I’m not sorry I chose my life, and I’m not sorry for how my choice makes you feel. It wasn’t your choice to make, and I’m not sorry you didn’t make it for me.
As far as cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, one might want to consider how many more abortions the clinic prevents by providing contraception than the number of abortions they perform. Shutting down Planned Parenthood would only result in more unplanned pregnancies.
As a friend and loyal customer Michael Vargo so eloquently put it, we “all have points of view that come from personal experience. And that [we] feel strongly about them shows how much [we] care. Let’s all make that assumption about the other “side”. They are not villains and we are not saints. We all just people.” Many of the people protesting Planned Parenthood are the same ones defending guns, and they raise a valid point about gun laws, that restricting our legal rights to possessing guns will do nothing to stop people who want guns from getting them. The same goes for abortions. Criminalizing abortions won’t prevent women who need them from getting them, it will only increase their risk of getting sick or infected from an operation performed improperly (which many will be if women are forced to resort to their own means of aborting pregnancies without the services provided by PP).
If Planned Parenthood had not been available to me when I discovered I was pregnant, I would have still sought an alternative. Without Planned Parenthood, I would have had to resort to a) somehow self-inducing or b) illegally obtaining a pill or operation from some other source. If abortions were illegal, I would be a criminal, assuming I was able to survive.
Criminalizing abortions will only result in more criminals, more babies abandoned at their birth, more under-privileged children whose mothers lack the means to support them, more mothers who would otherwise have been able to provide for themselves but no longer can due to the financial burden of their child, and more women dead or injured from improper, unsafe abortions.
Before I found out I was pregnant, I never thought I would have an abortion. I never thought that I would be in that position. I never expected to have to make that decision. Being in that position, being faced with that decision changed my mind. And nobody can claim to know from the outside, but I know now, my choice was right, and I’m not sorry for it.
When you say #ProLife, consider the quality of life. The quality of the child’s life. The quality of the mother’s. Nobody’s forcing women who don’t believe it’s right to have abortions to have abortions. But who are you to deny others their right to make that choice?
— Grad Girl Problems (@gradgirlprobs) August 4, 2015
— FemBot3000 (@queenfembot) December 1, 2015
Abortion is not a bad word. #ShoutYourAbortion
— Macleod Sawyer (@mxsawyer) December 7, 2015