Thanks for giving me this opportunity.
had two abortions (the only ones I have had) in one year back in the 1980s. I
was in an abusive relationship with a boyfriend who coerced me into unprotected
sex. I was the divorced mother of a 5-year-old and working rotating shifts, weekends,
and holidays. I depended on my boyfriend for part of my childcare. My job was
nontraditional and I was constantly being threatened with losing it, even though
I missed only two days in 10 years for child-related reasons.
I had been an active feminist, founding and co-chairing my campus feminist group
when I was a college student. I never thought this would happen to me. I was deeply
ashamed, not of getting two abortions, but of needing them in the first place.
After the second abortion, I got the courage to seek help, both legal and psychological,
and was able to end the relationship. Later, I married a decent man and had another
(planned and wanted) child.
Growing up, I was anti-choice. Hearing stories
like the one I lived through changed my mind. In the abstract, abortion still
bothers me, but we don't live in the abstract. We live in very complex and changing
life circumstances, and in a society that doesn't support women's choices, no
matter what they are.
If I had not had the abortions, this terrible man
would have continued to play a role in my life, I'm sure I would have lost my
job, and I would not have the happy marriage and children I have today, nor the
successful professional career I have now. I would have condemned my first child
to a life of poverty and abuse. There are those self-righteous types who would
say I was terribly irresponsible to have this happen in the first place and that
I deserved to be "punished" for my lapses of common sense. It took me
years of therapy to not look at it this way myself. But as a mother, I did what
was responsible for my child. I wasn't going to condemn him for my mistakes. He
certainly didn't deserve this "punishment." He'd already gone through
I've learned to forgive myself, but it still hurts to
think that there are people out there who would not feel any empathy whatsoever
for women who experience something like this.Millie
22 January 2003
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friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can
stay with us in am hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing,
not curing, not healing - and face with us the reality of powerlessness - that
is the friend who really cares."
- Henri Nouwen