It really wasn’t the ‘Easy Way Out’

by Phoe

March 21, 2023

I always have been and always will be pro-choice, but it had never crossed my mind how distressing having an abortion would be, until I had one myself. This was last year, I was 21 and still at uni, on the pill but would now and then take pregnancy tests for peace of mind. On a Thursday morning before a lecture, I took a test and for the first time ever saw two lines, quick, strong and prominent, I remember feeling completely lost. I was angry and I so was disappointed in myself for letting this happen, but most of all my strongest feeling was fear. I was just scared. I panicked on who to tell, if anyone at all, everyone says they’re pro-choice until it’s actually there in front of them, I just didn’t want to risk any judgement. I mean to my own surprise, I was already judging myself, a lot. The next few days were a nightmare, emailing doctors, refreshing my gmail constantly for anything from BPAS, leaving classes for calls from nurses, waiting for the pills in the post. Mind you, the whole process, from finding out I was pregnant to actually having an abortion, only took a week but there wasn’t a moment where it wasn’t on my mind. I’d get these anxious acidy hiccups whenever I’d think about it. And because I’d googled it so much, all my recommended YouTube ads were pregnancy and baby related – why don’t people ever talk about small things like that? Literally the worst thing to be seeing at that point.

On the phone, I was told it’d be like a heavy period, which was bullshit. I was throwing up, shitting, sweating, shaking. It was fuck all like a period. There was so much blood, I gave up with the pads and just lay half in the small dorm shower and half on the bathroom floor. After a huge cramp in which I could only breathe when on my hands and knees, I remember catching something in my palm, thick and jelly-like about the size of a lime. I sat there for a moment holding it thinking what have I done. And sometimes I still think about that moment, when I’m drunk alone in the toilet at a party or club or right before I fall asleep. I don’t think it’s something I can forget.

The summer after Roe v Wade was overturned. On the news, I heard a pro-life supporter say that abortion was the ‘easy way out’. There is not a chance in hell that that experience was the ‘easy way out’.

I’ve noticed an ongoing misconcpetion that individuals who are pro-choice view abortion as if it’s a form of contraception, which is so far from the truth. I didn’t actively choose to be in such a difficult position, I didn’t want to undergo such a mentally and physically painful procedure, the ‘choice’ part of ‘pro-choice’ happened once I became pregnant, not before. I chose me, and although it was horrid, I’d choose me again.

After a while, I started making art that I felt expressed my own experience with abortion. The bloody, painful side of abortion is often covered up because of shame and I’m really tired of that. As well helping me, I hope my work can pay homage to the strength and courage of other individuals who have decided to undergo abortion and show that terminating pregnancy really isn’t the so-called ‘easy way out’.

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