I Just Had an Abortion and I am So Lucky

by Cara Harshman

January 14, 2017

The ultra-sound I voluntarily received and voluntarily looked at displayed a geode-like dark blob shape of cells and blood that would develop into a fetus.

I found out I was pregnant on New Year’s Eve. I had a feeling and plus I was late – a solid 5 days late. So on a trip to the store to get ingredients for a Mexican chicken soup, I bought my first pregnancy test; I watched anxiously as it jostled down the conveyor belt next to the jalapeños and canned tomatoes. Pee on the stick, wait two minutes, decipher. There they were, two intersecting blue lines. Well, this is happening.

I was consciously pregnant for 7 days. I was able to terminate the pregnancy a mere week after I discovered it. For this, I am incredibly lucky. I am incredibly lucky this happened to me in the United States, in California, on December 31st, 2016 and not a day after January 20th, 2017. I am incredibly lucky that I was able to terminate the pregnancy because I chose to, not because it threatened my life. I want to share my experience with you because the ability to learn you’re pregnant and make a choice is not a guarantee, it’s far from the status quo around the world, and it’s in jeopardy. We must continue to fight for the right to choose.

As I write this, the right to choose is actively under threat in the United States. On January 12th the Senate took the first step in repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act that control how much money the government provides for Medicaid and private healthcare services. If this resolution passes the House, and President Trump signs it (two likely events), Planned Parenthood, the largest resource for abortions in the U.S, could lose 40% of its funding. Furthermore, Virginia and Florida are in the midst of proposing bans on abortions at 20 weeks of development, joining Ohio and Kentucky who just passed the ban. Decisions that could make it impossible or extremely expensive to have an abortion are being made right now.

I took care of my abortion with a pill provided by my primary care provider in San Francisco. In total, it cost me $350 out of pocket (my parter offered to help, and if he didn’t offer, I was going to ask). I decided not to go through insurance because it would have likely cost more. The pregnancy was 6 weeks along. The ultra-sound I voluntarily received and voluntarily looked at displayed a geode-like dark blob shape of cells and blood that would develop into a fetus. In some states it’s mandatory to have an ultra-sound and look at it if you want to have an abortion. I chose to do an ultra-sound rather than blood work to determine the progress of the pregnancy, and I was curious so I looked at the blob before taking the pills to expel it from my body.

The process was easy and painless besides the heavier-than-normal cramps. I didn’t feel sad or regretful when I was going through it and I still don’t now as I type this with an empty uterus. When I tell my friends, many of them respond with words of consolation, feeling sorry for me and offering to do anything they can to support me. When I tell them, “it was OK, I am OK, in fact I’m happy and feeling so lucky,” the conversation turns to one of empowerment but I have to take it there.

I’m 28, unmarried (with a fantastic, supportive partner), about to move across the country and start a new career. According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs an average of $233,610 to raise a child in the United States today. Meanwhile, I’m still paying off my college loans.

I believe I will be a wonderful mother if/when I’m ready to be one. I believe the world will be a better place when every woman everywhere can choose whether or not she is ready to step into the radically life altering job of Mother. I believe having an abortion should not be a shameful thing and that the media is dominated by too many fearful aborted fetus stories. I am so damn lucky. I am proud I made my decision. And, if one day you find yourself staring at two intersecting blue lines on a stick you just peed on, I hope you’ll feel empowered to make your own decision too.