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I appreciate the eloquent response and rebuttal to "it's not about the women's rights, it's about the baby's rights." The tone of the essay was a wakeup call for empathy, understanding, and compassion. It's purpose was to shed light upon the blind hypocrisy that follows public shaming of any group of people. Many pro-lifers hide behind the argument of "I will be the voice of the unborn, who have none" which is convenient when one has never experienced circumstances that would require that individual to make a choice. In regards to a pregnancy, a person has 3 options: carry and raise a child (a minimum 18 years and tens of thousands of dollars dedication along with unmeasurable emotional and physical trials and tribulations that come along with raising a child) putting a child up for adoption (very difficult 9 months of knowing that you will not be a parent on the other side of these circumstances, abuse from others throughout the process of an "out of wedlock pregnancy," and of course the worries and sadness of such a sacred separation that feels more than unnatural) and finally abortion (very stressful- especially with the added social stigmas, similar to adoption- a biologically exhausting and sad separation, then depending on the circumstances it can be very physically uncomfortable).

My own journey has led me through each side of these circumstances. I was raised in a massively staunch, Catholic household and brought up very pro-life. I myself was pro-life because at the time it made sense. I didn't really care how others conducted their own sex lives, I personally thought contraception was very reasonable and responsible, regardless of how little I was taught about it. I was very sold on the idea that unborn babies didn't have a voice so someone had to speak for them, and if two people were to get pregnant through failed contraception or none, then they could at least bring the baby to term and put him/her up for adoption, right?

Things are definitely not that clear-cut... I was saving myself for marriage not to avoid pregnancy, but because I was told I would not have a meaningful sexual relationship with my husband unless I waited until after marriage (and of course avoided any sex whatsoever with any other person). This all obviously went to shit when I was sexually assaulted in my first year of college and became pregnant as a result of it. Because of my strong personal convictions I carried my baby to term and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, whom I gave up for adoption. It was a secret I kept from my entire family, with the exception of my parents, but of course that didn't stop my judgmental mother from blaming me for the rape and pregnancy... I was looked down upon during my pregnancy by others who only saw an unwed 18-year old and then strangely praised by others who thought what I did was "admirable." I hated that, because it was so much more complicated than either one of those attitudes. Yes, it was a sacrifice, but I really didn't think I had any other choice. I had a wonderful, healthy son who makes his family wonderfully happy, and I was thankful for that, but there was still a part of me that struggled with that separation and felt empty and worthless afterwards. I never regret the choices I made because it was all meant to be.

Later on in life, after a complete makeover of my personal definition of human sexuality, and a revamp of my understanding of gender conflict in the world around me, I found what I thought was a place of homeostasis. (This of course was not without a multitude of extremely self-destructive behaviors and a violently successful rugby career to desperately regain a feeling of personal power and control in my own life...) By the grace of the Universe I eventually defined a "healthy sex-life" for myself within a very good relationship, so I was comfortable and knew what I wanted even though things with him did not work out in the end. I eventually found myself in a relationship with a person I knew I wanted to be with. This person was someone I could see myself with very long term (as in could potentially have a family with...) We didn't know much about contraception- really, I thought I knew more about my cycle than I actually did, and found myself pregnant for a second time. We spent hours discussing our circumstances, crying, trying to seek clarity. At the time, we were pretty much homeless and away from a support system of any sort. We also discussed the reality of adoption. This was something I didn't think I could go through yet again. Plus, we wanted to be together and what would we tell our children if they had a direct brother or sister running around in the world "that we didn't want"? Over my soul searching (after the first pregnancy) I had decided to define FOR MYSELF when I thought would be an absolute cut-off day in a pregnancy that I would absolutely not get an abortion. I expressed my request to my partner we went together for an abortion within my time constraint. It was absolutely physically and emotionally exhausting. We both cried and talked about what had happened, and of course there was a temporary negative impact on our relationship. It's incredibly sad- JUST LIKE ANY OTHER DECISION WE WOULD/COULD HAVE MADE.

The thing people forget about in an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy is that there is no decision that won't be massively difficult. This is something my partner and I both will have to continue to heal through, but just like with the decision I made with my first pregnancy, neither of us regret our decision. It's been close to a year now, a copper IUD, and lots of good times and bad times later and we are stronger than ever. We both are excited to continue on with our lives preparing our circumstances for raising a family. I hope this helps anyone who is in the process of healing, or that it softens the hearts of anyone that finds themselves "unswayable." As cliche' as it sounds, watch where you point your finger because in that stubborn fist are three other fingers pointing back at you.