I aborted a planned pregnancy and I regret it immensely. Because of some underlying health issues, my husband and I expected that it would take us at least a year to get pregnant. We ended up getting pregnant in our first month of trying. Although the pregnancy was planned, I was shocked by how fast it happened. I began to experience severe panic and had thoughts that I wasn’t ready and was ruining my life, my marriage, and that I would ruin my future baby’s life. Because of how anxious I felt, I decided to have an abortion. It was an excruciating decision to make but it felt like the right one at the time.


Several months later, after having more time to reflect on the decision and my feelings about the pregnancy, I realized that I truly did feel ready to have a baby. I worked through some of my anxieties about having a child in therapy and began to feel much more prepared. My husband and I started trying again and got pregnant quickly again. Unfortunately, this pregnancy ended in miscarriage.


I am devastated by the miscarriage. I regret the abortion intensely and worry all the time that I threw away my only chance to have a baby. I wish I could undo it every day. I know this is not the story I am supposed to be telling in a pro-choice space. In our current sociopolitical climate, it feels tempting to be silent about my story, out of fear that it could be weaponized and used in opposition of abortion.


But the truth is that I believe firmly that I can regret my abortion personally and still 100% support the right of each person to make this decision for themself. We all make decisions we regret in life, and much of the time, we have no way of knowing before we make a decision whether we’ll end up regretting it or not. Regret is a part of life and there is little we can do to prevent this. People can regret purchases, medical procedures of all kinds (as well as not getting medical procedures), educational/career choices, dating and friendship choices, and even most parents experience some regret around this decision at some point in their life. Yet when people express regret around buying the wrong house or car, or dating the wrong person, our answer to them is not that this should be made illegal or that their autonomy to make these kinds of decisions should be restricted. With these kinds of decisions, we tend to acknowledge that there is always a risk of regret and that what’s important is learning from regret when it occurs and moving forward. We need to apply this to reproductive decisions as well.


I hate that it often feels like I have two options – either to be open about my regret and give support to the anti-abortion movement or to suppress my feelings of regret in order to support the pro-choice message. I believe that regret should not factor into policy decisions, in particular legislation that restricts anyone’s bodily autonomy. I feel that we, as a culture, need to accept regret as a part of life and as a risk of any decision, and to compassionately turn toward those experiencing regret, rather than weaponizing this against one another.


I regret my abortion every day, and I am also grateful every day that I still had the right to make the decision. I hope that shouting my regret in the same sentence as my pro-choice stance will grant permission for others to be open about whatever complex feelings they have about their abortion(s). We have the right to feel however we feel without this being weaponized against us. Sending love to all who have had abortions, however you feel about it!