My abortion is one of the few experiences that I feel has deeply impacted my life and the person I have become.

by Megan Rice

June 3, 2019

photo by Elizabeth Rudge

When I was 15, I got a teensy bit pregnant. It was a couple weeks before finals my sophomore year of high school. I sat down with my 21-year-old boyfriend and we discussed our options. He brought up the fact he was making pretty good money on unemployment, and as long as my room was clean every Friday I’d get my $25 allowance from my parents, so we were like, “Let’s have a baby!” Upon further review, I realized that was a little crazy and dipped over to my local Planned Parenthood for a quick abortion.

It took me a long time to be comfortable enough to talk about this because I knew a lot of people would look at it as though I took a beautiful child out of the world, but I prefer to think of it like I brought an A in AP English into the world.

I’m a comic, and this is the joke I wrote about my abortion. There’s a lot of truth in the bit, but some stuff has been omitted, and a few little white lies have been added in order to make it, well, a joke. True: I was 15 and secretly dating a 21-year-old. It did take me a long time to come to terms with my decision and to openly talk about it. Untrue: I didn’t get an allowance. I didn’t get into AP English. I never considered not having an abortion.

I knew I was pregnant before I got the actual medical confirmation. Women say this all the time: I just had a feeling. And I did; I just knew. It took two trips to my local clinic to come back with a positive pregnancy test. When I received my positive result, the young woman who delivered the news did so in perhaps the worst possible way to tell a 15-year-old she’s pregnant.

“Wow. You’re so young.”

That was the first sentence I heard after being told I was potentially going to be responsible for another human life before I could even drive a car. I didn’t even have my learner’s permit. The woman began to go over my options. I stopped her and explained that I wanted an abortion. She said I could go home and think about it for a few days and come back. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing to think about. We scheduled my abortion for two days later, Saturday. It was almost time for finals, and I didn’t want to miss school. The concept of ditching school for anything, even to have an abortion, was something I’d never entertained.

I left the clinic and went outside to my boyfriend who was waiting in his van. He was the exact type of guy you’d think would have a van and date a teenage girl. He did not handle the news well, but he did agree to drive me to the clinic and help me find a way to come up with the $350 needed for the procedure.

How responsible! I called a few friends who I felt comfortable enough telling, and asked to borrow a little money. I had $100 saved up, and my boyfriend borrowed some money from his brother. With the financial aspect solved, I proceeded to go home and be a regular teenager for the next couple of days. My parents had no idea what was happening.

Saturday morning came and we headed to a different clinic 30 miles away, where the abortions were performed: an abortion clinic. I was nervous. I was worried there would be people protesting, and that I’d be reminded how young I was. None of that happened, but there were other things to be nervous about.

I don’t really remember that day as a whole, but I have a few very strong flashes. I remember my boyfriend walking me into the clinic. He left and I went into the back alone. I remember sitting with my feet in the stirrups as the nurse performed a transvaginal ultrasound and told me I was six weeks along. I’d never asked how far along I was, and them telling me felt unnecessary and cruel. Writing that sentence now makes me angry. After that, in came the doctor and the anesthesiologist.

I woke up, groggy, in a different room. I was in recovery. There was a woman still asleep directly across from me, and the girl next to me was sitting up and drinking water. I had on what felt like a diaper. Once I was up, they gave me some water, made sure I was capable of walking, and opened what felt like a back door into an alley. My boyfriend was there and we got into the van. I was pretty out of it most of the drive home. He asked if I needed anything, and I said, “pineapple pizza.” I had never had pineapple pizza before. Ever since that day, pineapple has been my favorite pizza topping.

I spent the next few hours in the back of the van in a residential neighborhood. Scream-crying. I mean movie-style, uncontrollable, hysterical crying. I’m not sure if I’ve ever cried like that before or since. At the time I thought it was because of pain, but in hindsight I’m not sure if there was any actual physical pain. I think I was just finally letting myself fully and emotionally take in everything I’d just gone through.

Did I do the right thing? Would I regret this for the rest of my life? Did I take a beautiful child out of the world? If I could give my younger self answers to those questions, I’d say: Yes, I did the right thing, for me. That isn’t saying that a decision to not have an abortion would have been wrong, but I stand by my choice and am proud of who I was at 15 for being able to make such a difficult and mature decision. And no, I have never regretted my abortion. There were times I would wonder what would have been, what my life would have been like, how different the last 16 years would have turned out. But never for a second have I regretted my choice. As far as the last question: This isn’t a theoretical argument about personhood. This is a personal story about my unique and singular experience of deciding something every single woman has the right to determine for herself, no matter the circumstance.

My abortion is one of a few experiences that I feel has deeply impacted my life and the person I have become. I’m grateful that I made the choice I did, for myself as a teenager, myself as a college student, myself as a comedian, myself as I am now, and myself as the future woman and mother I will someday become.

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