Laurie's Story

Abortion is a difficult enough choice...

I was just furious when I turned up pregnant one spring day in the early '80s. I was in my mid-20s, I had one tornadic toddler and we'd just moved to a different part of the country where my husband's salary wasn't stretching quite as much as we'd hoped. While I wanted to work outside the home, the market was kind of tight for former liberal arts majors, and staying at home was a better choice than working for minimum wage. My husband and I had been religious about practicing birth control, and our child had been very much planned. How could we have had a birth control failure?

But another pregnancy? Already? A baby we really couldn't afford? While I fought hard for abortion rights, the idea of having one myself really bothered me. So even though I knew I had a legal right to this abortion, it was not an easy choice for me to make.

Since it was the early '80s, it meant making an appointment, getting the cash for an abortion (no checks/no charges), then running a small but determined gauntlet of antiabortion protesters. I had to sit through what seemed like a day of discussions on birth control and feminine health. I can understand the lecturing tone - many of the women had never learned much about birth control. But I found it kind of humiliating.

Finally, the abortion. It was pretty fast and antiseptic, but since it was late in the afternoon, the doctor wanted to be out of there fast so he didn't exactly wait for the anesthetic to work. So while fast, imagine your cervix going from being 1 cm dilated to about 5 cm dilated in about 10 seconds. Not pleasant for about a minute.

I got dressed and ran out. The protesters were long gone. I ate dinner, went home, and felt like a massive weight had been lifted from me. Within a few months, I got a good part time job which lead to a wonderful career. A job I could not have afforded to take with an infant and a toddler to buy day care for.

Years later, our child is about to go off into the world, and my husband and I are about to be empty-nesters without any regrets. For the people who say that abortion is murder all I can say is if it's a killing it's one in self-defense.


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"feminism = Respecting the differences between men and women without putting anyone in charge of the hierarchy."