Monday, January 21, 2013
Domestic/sexual abuse and abortion
As a teenager, I never thought about abortion. I knew vaguely what it entailed – early in a pregnancy, it’s a pill that the doctor gives you. Your body takes care of the rest or you have a procedure to remove the tissue. Later in a woman’s pregnancy, it got more difficult and scary, but I knew that the later procedure was almost entirely reserved for tragic cases that end very much wanted pregnancies. I started the pill at 17 in addition to the other methods and visited my gynecologist once a year. Teenage panics over the possibility of a pregnancy came and went, but nothing directed my mind toward abortion as a choice I’d have to make.
For several years, I had an on and off again relationship with a troubled guy. He had serious psychological problems, and he was violent. He routinely abused me in every way that he could. To this day, I don’t think that he truly understands what he was doing to me was wrong. Regardless, I knew that if I ever became pregnant, I couldn’t bring his child into this world. He has a strong family history of mental health issues, some of which are genetically based. Even if I managed to escape him or hide the pregnancy from him, the child would be a daily reminder of the hell that I’d survived. I still wasn’t in a good enough place to care for myself, let alone another person who would wholly depend on me.
Some people are strong enough to raise the baby of a monster, to love it and parent it, and struggle silently or through therapy for years. I’m not, and I wasn’t then. I was a barely-functioning young adult, struggling to pay my bills and make myself go to my classes, which I was already failing from lack of discipline, motivation, and being exhausted from working two jobs.
There was a point in which I thought he had gotten me pregnant and that was the only moment in my life where abortion became a viable option. A wishy-washy person of no hard opinion on the subject of abortion became a desperate woman in search of relief from fear. I wanted to live a normal life. I was struggling enough with my own depression, relationship and family problems, and financial problems. Adding the baby of an abuser to the mix was not what I needed.
Because I don’t know the situations surrounding other women’s choices, I do not feel qualified to make their decisions for them. Legal medical procedures should be accessible and affordable for those in need. I know without a doubt that I would have resorted to suicide if I hadn’t been able to get an abortion. Instead, I was lucky, so lucky that I didn’t have to have an abortion or commit suicide. I broke it off with him, healed myself, got my life together, and I have a family of my own now. I want every person to have the opportunity to make these choices for themselves, free of judgment and other people’s interference.