My abortion was not a difficult decision.

I vaguely remember taking the pregnancy test. I was eighteen in the bathroom of my small apartment in my college town. I had felt strange for a couple of weeks. Odd soreness, inability to sleep, headaches, and I suspected that something was off. I was at the tail end of a Depo shot’s longevity, and a pregnancy was my first suspicion. I took the test quietly in the bathroom and sat cross legged on the floor waiting for the results.

I called my local Planned Parenthood a few days later while walking laps around the fountain in front of the student union. It was the second week of my freshman year of college. Planned Parenthood answered a few questions and I set up my first appointment. Then, I contemplated how I was going to pay the required $684.

I had a work study job at a local regional theatre and was babysitting, but that was only covering my basic needs. I thought I was going to have to ask my grandmother, but really didn’t want to. She would have been upset and stretching herself thin, but likely helped me anyway. Ultimately, the person I was seeing at the time offered to pay and saved me from putting her in that position. It was a significant financial hardship for him, and we’d only known each other for a couple of months. I am still incredibly grateful.

There was about a two week wait for my first appointment. I did not tell many people. Just my mom and a close friend. I remember exaggerating the difficulty of the decision and the emotional turmoil I was in to them, feigning sadness. I felt shame about how easy the decision was for me, how immediate and without doubt. There is a pervasive narrative around abortion that I had not yet unlearned that abortion is “one of the most difficult decisions a person can make.” For some people, that’s true. For others, it isn’t. But I felt like it was supposed to be, and questioned whether something was wrong with me that it wasn’t.

I was in the early stages of breaking generational cycles of substance use disorder, trauma, abuse, and poverty. It was hard, necessary work that I am privileged to have the capacity and resilience to undertake. I did not have the capacity to mother and simultaneously build a new world for myself, nor did I want to. I knew that from the second I saw a positive pregnancy test. And that’s okay.

I had two appointments at Planned Parenthood. During the first appointment, they did a trans-vaginal ultrasound, did a lot of talking and asking questions, and walked me through the process. They determined I was ~eight weeks pregnant. I came back a week later to take my dose of mifepristone in front of a doctor. Taking it in front of a doctor is unnecessary but was required by law.

The medication induced menstruation, causing my uterus to shed its lining and pass the fetal tissue. There are usually deep cramps, so I was given a low dosage of hydrocodone and told to take ibuprofen. At that point in my pregnancy, the fetal tissue was around ½ an inch in size. I also received misoprostol to take at home. I bled for about a week, had moderate cramping, and that was it. If I recall correctly, I called out to work the day after I took the first medication and spent the day watching Netflix. After that, I went back to my normal routine.

I have never regretted it, never felt shame about receiving an abortion, and do not have any abortion related trauma. My privileges throughout this situation were huge. I had an accessible clinic less than ten minutes from my house that offered medication abortions and could get me in relatively quickly. I had a way to pay for the medication. I was not experiencing intimate partner violence. I had a job that did not fire me for calling out. I was never asked by anyone to justify my decision. The list goes on.

It is true that sometimes there is lot of trauma associated with having an abortion. Regularly though, the process is like mine–a routine medical service that comes and goes with minimal stress and pain. But there is *always* trauma associated with forced birth. With death or near-death or loss of fertility due to lack of access to care. With loss of autonomy over your body.

My decision was an easy one. It was one I deserved to make for myself. It’s one everyone deserves to be able to make for themselves. Abortion is a human right.

The Planned Parenthood in my city closed several years ago and abortion is now completely illegal (and criminalized) in my state.