resonated so much with me. I got pregnant a few months after I turned sixteen
by a boy my parents disliked so much, they sent me to a different school just
to get me away from him. Let me make this clear -- they're not overbearing, terrible
people. They were just people who wanted "the best" for me, and obviously
believed they knew better than I did what constituted "the best."
mother gave me two options: have the baby and give it up for
adoption, or get an abortion. Keeping the baby was not an option. I said I'd
run away and keep the baby, and she said they'd find me. I said I'd stay at home,
keep the baby, and get a job to pay for it. She said I couldn't live at home with
a baby. At 21, I can see how circular and silly this argument seems, but at that
time, I was sixteen, of Catholic upbringing, dealing with parents who were obviously
ashamed of my behavior, underinformed, and confused.
Skye, people like Skye,
you have to know this: No one, and I mean no one, can tell you that you HAVE to
get an abortion or HAVE to have the baby (to keep OR give up). This is so important.
I had no resources, no mentors, and I was too emotionally battered and physically
tired to secretly seek out resources to help me understand my rights.
can call Planned Parenthood for
help, you can call your school counselor, you can call any number leading to a
city office and ask to be referred to social workers, people who know about welfare
benefits, people who can help you understand your rights. Seek out resources in
your community -- just pick up the phone book and call until you are directed
to resources that will help you. Is there a local college? Call it and ask if
they have a women's rights group (such as a NOW
chapter or a Women's Collective) you can call, or whether they have a Women's
Resource Center/Women's Center on campus, or if they know of one in the community.
wish someone had told me what rights were mine when I was Skye's age. I can't
honestly say whether it would have affected my final decision (abortion) but I
know, I KNOW it would have affected how I felt about it. It's the difference between
choosing your life and having your life dictated to you; it's the difference between
being guided by adults you love or having those adults autocratically decide your
life for you, leading to lifelong resentment no matter how much you love them;
it's the difference between empowering yourself through choice and allowing yourself
to be disempowered by handing that choice over to others.
I love my parents
to this day, and I will still never, in my heart forgive them for their decision
to limit my choices. It made my life so much harder, it made my frustration and
grief so powerful and so hard to escape from...
I want Skye and every girl
like Skye to know that the choice is ultimately theirs to make; no adult has any
right, legally or morally, to make any kind of choice for them. There are resources
out there to help women through the difficulties of unplanned pregnancies, to
guide them without bias toward the choice that is right for them, and I hope fervently
Skye will find those resources as I did not.
Am I against abortion? I want
to categorically state that I am not against it; I am vehemently pro-choice, my
grief stems from the fact that my choice was taken out of my hands. Did doing
what I was railroaded into doing ruin my life? It didn't -- I'm an honors college
student, a poet, a columnist, a small magazine editor, and president of a NOW
chapter, I am happy with my life. And yet, how much happier might I have been
if my choices were entirely mine?
I know this is lengthy -- but it touched
something I thought was buried in me, to see that someone else was going through
what I went through. If Skye should happen to read this, or anyone like her, I
can only emphasize again that help, allies who will enforce your right to choose
your own destiny in this matter, exist only a phone call away. I am working, and
will work my whole life, to make sure women of all ages/economic status/races/religions/nationalities/etc
have access to the full range of choices concerning their reproductive health,
and I couldn't pass up this opportunity to say, should Skye or someone like her
read this, the choices are there for you. You DO have a say in this. Value yourself
and allow no one to sway you from what you know is in your best interests.
you be free as I was not, may you choose as I could not, may you find the power
you need to control your own destiny.Eva
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1992 rates, 43% of women will have had an abortion by the time they reach 45 years