The right to a life

by Anonymous

September 21, 2022

My first memory of being a 20-year-old college student in the university health center with a positive pregnancy test is the nurse looking at me with barely disguised disdain saying, “So, what are you going to do?” My second memory is crouching outside on the sidewalk in tears, wondering what the hell I was going to do. My third memory, a couple days later, is the thought that kept running through my brain, “Who the hell is Jesse Helms to think he can make this decision for me?”

Jesse Helms is long gone but others have replaced him… Mitch McConnell, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Greg Abbott. Now I wonder, who the hell are any of them to tell my 14-year-old daughter what to do with her body if, god forbid, in a few years she finds herself in the same position I was in 28 years ago?

In the end, my decision was not a difficult one. I was a junior in college, in a relationship that was not going to last with or without the news of the pregnancy. I knew that if I carried a baby to term it would determine the rest of my life and would bring someone into the world who wasn’t guaranteed a happy or secure life. And even with that knowledge, I was also one of the lucky ones. I had a family who would have supported me if they had known (I still haven’t told them), financial resources and privileges that would have allowed me to survive and find a way to support myself and my child. I was 20, not 15, and was a mature enough adult to have been able to raise a child if I had needed to. But I also knew that to protect my own life and the life of any future children I may have, that I needed to terminate this pregnancy. I also was very clear in my head that what I was terminating was a mass of cells, a potential life, but not yet a life, certainly not one with more value than my own. For too many others, the choice to abort is even more stark and urgent.

In recent years, it has occasionally crossed my mind that I could be the parent of a 27-year-old. What would that life have looked like? But I have never regretted my decision.

Ten years after that decision, I had just gotten married, moved across the country, and was pregnant again. Again, the decision was easy. My husband and I desperately wanted that baby, and the one who came four years later, and only because of my earlier decision were we able to create a thriving, healthy, happy family of four, with two children who are deeply wanted and loved. Because of my abortion I had completed my education, gotten a Masters, lived abroad, chosen a career I was passionate about, become a loving mother at the right time.

I was born the year Roe v Wade passed. One year before my abortion, college friends and I had traveled to Washington DC to join a march to defend women’s right to choose. A year later that right saved my life. Almost 30 years later, Roe v Wade has just been overturned. My biggest fear now is my beautiful, smart, compassionate, spunky daughter not having the right to make the same decision I did to save her own life. Who the hell is Justice Alito to think he can make that decision for her?

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!