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Would Not Have Had Her Without My Abortion

by Kathryn E. Karcher

July 17, 2018

My third daughter Katie and me at her high school graduation (used with her permission)

I did not tell my kids – three daughters – about my abortion until it occurred to me that if I had not had an abortion, my third daughter, Katie, would not have been born. Here’s why.

My birth control failed while I was with the man I later married, and I had an abortion. I had just started my first professional job and it was a pressure cooker – I couldn’t imagine caring for a baby, I could barely keep myself together. My career might have been derailed (a career that has always supported my family well), but beyond that, I was not ready for a child.

A few years later I married my husband and we had our first daughter, and then our second. The plan had been to stop at 2. But we loved our kids so passionately that we decided to have a third child. We did, and Katie is the light of many lives. We cannot imagine our world without her. She is pictured above, at her high school graduation. I had the abortion 30 years ago, and she is now 20 and going into her junior year in college. If I hadn’t had an abortion, Katie would not exist. I never never never would have had a fourth child. If I’d had the child from my first pregnancy, I would have loved him or her every bit as much, but that’s not how life turned out, and that’s okay. It’s more than okay – just look at my beautiful child.

I never felt that having an abortion was wrong. It is manifestly not wrong and it was the right thing for me, yet there is this cultural understanding that even while you advocate for the right, you don’t talk about your own exercise of it, you tell almost no one. I internalized and complied with this sanction for more than 30 years. No more. I am so done with that, and I am using my full name. I am not ashamed.

When I told my daughters about my abortion, they said (exact quotes): “Mom, it’s great you took care of yourself.” And, “Mom, way to go – you exercised your constitutional rights.” I did, on both counts, and I’ve never regretted it.

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