I had an abortion 17 years ago, when I was 19, and I do not regret it at all.
The pregnancy was a result of unprotected sex with my first boyfriend. It probably happened one of the first times we had sex, maybe even the very first time.
My first boyfriend was a decent guy and I loved him. We were on and off for about 6 years. But he also had a lot of problems. I’m still in touch with him today and he is an alcoholic. He has been in jail for multiple DUIs. The end of our relationship came about when he started spending all his rent money on scotch.
I know he loved me in his own way too, but our relationship was riddled with issues. I felt unappreciated and ignored. He played video games or the guitar or went out drinking with his friends. I felt lonely. We both cheated on each other. Things were always rocky and when I eventually broke up with him, he was devastated and threatened to kill himself. I still remember how difficult it was for me to break up with him. It took me months to say the words.
When I found out I was pregnant, there was no question that I would have a baby. My mother was in jail and his mother was a coke head. We both had minimum wage jobs, no savings, and were living in my mother’s home with my brother and his various vagrant friends. Having a baby in that situation would have been incredibly stupid, life-ruining, and in my opinion, selfish.
I had no money so I borrowed the fee for the abortion from my best friend. She drove me to the clinic, over the border in the state without waiting periods. I went to a Planned Parenthood and the experience was as clinical and unremarkable as you could hope.
I never had mixed feelings about having an abortion. It was obviously the right choice given the circumstances. I had a friend who had a baby at age 15. If that had been me, I would have had an abortion. But she ended up marrying the guy and they are still married now. She has a 21 year old son, and a 15 year old daughter, and she has not had an easy life. But she also has parent who have supported her and her baby before she was able to support herself. She is very fortunate in that regard. A lot of people don’t have that.
I have been independent since I was 17. I have paid for everything in my own life. I have found my own apartments, bought my own cars, eventually went to college and got a degree. The debt from my student loans is the only debt I have. I have never had unpaid credit card debt. I have never gotten into a relationship with anyone who would have been even remotely capable of supporting me, and I would not want that.
I know a lot of people who completely take for granted their parents’ support. Most people I know had parents who could loan them money or cosign their leases or send them to college. People who have this are often completely blinded by the privilege they have. I am not jealous because I am very proud of my independence, but it certainly would have made things a lot easier at various points in my life.
If I had had a baby when I was 19, I guess I would have been reliant on the government and welfare for support. My boyfriend wasn’t reliable and never became reliable in the 15 years since then. I don’t have extended family. I would probably still be living in the same small town where I grew up. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that having a baby when I was 19 would have ruined my life.
So I didn’t. I got out of that hated hometown in 1999 and I never looked back. I’ve lived in 6 states and on both coasts. I have a career that is creative, intriguing, and pays quite well. I’ve met all kinds of people and experienced a lot of things. I value my freedom and independence above all things. I never want to have kids, I prefer to spend all my free time and energy painting and writing and travelling and reading and hiking and reading books alone at coffee shops. I live in a much better place surrounded by people who are more like me, liberal and open-minded. I had to get away from that small town. I absolutely hated it there. It’s judgmental insular lack of culture. I never even want to visit it again. Being trapped there with an alcoholic father of a child I couldn’t support and nobody to help me would have been a fate worse than death. So I consider the abortion one of the smartest things I ever did. I believe it saved my life from certain despair.
I know a lot of pro-choice people who say “Pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion” and I get what they’re saying. It would be better if unplanned pregnancies never happened. I have no excuse for myself. I had unprotected sex and got pregnant, same thing that happened to my friend who had the baby at 15. It happens. It happens to a lot of people. And if you’re going to blame and judge, make sure you include the male participant in your blaming and judging because a woman can’t get pregnant with out a man. It takes two to tango.
I’m not anti-abortion. Sometimes, abortion is a good idea. Sometimes it’s the moral choice, the right choice and the prudent choice. Sometimes it is the responsible choice. The last thing this world needs is more unwanted children or children living in a state of poverty that puts them as an enormous disadvantage for the rest of their lives. That an embryo or fetus is more important to a lot of people than children who are already in this world suffering is horrendous. Every anti-abortion protester should put down their sign and go do something to help a baby who is already here, right now, who needs love and care and food and shelter and is not getting it.
I had an abortion when I was 19 and it was the smartest choice I ever made. I do not regret it and never have. If I had the chance to go back and change my decision, I would not.