The Twitter topic #ShoutYourAbortion was intended to be a discussion of the stigma surrounding abortion and how it isn’t always an earth-shattering tragedy. The fact is that whether you agree with abortion or not (I’ll get to you in a minute, anti-abortion people, because I have words for you), it’s legal. The Supreme Court has refused challenges to Roe v. Wade over and over, recognizing that it’s a legal right to decide whether or not to be pregnant.
Women are being asked to tell our abortion stories. It would be easy for me to shut down abortion critics with mine, about how it literally saved me from a life-threatening complication of an incomplete miscarriage, how I nearly died that night. But here’s the thing. I’m one of the cases anti-abortion people consider “necessary,” and when I confront people calling women murderers for having abortions, they always backpedal with “Well, I didn’t mean you!” Yes. Yes, you did. Because whether you so graciously think my reason was justified or not, I am a woman who has had an abortion.
It was 2008, and I was 22. I was just before the 12-week mark when I miscarried, and it didn’t complete properly. The fetus had already started to rot, causing an infection, but still had a heartbeat when they told me that I couldn’t wait any longer. They couldn’t save the fetus, and if I didn’t allow the procedure, I could die too. I made the decision to live to see another day, even though it broke my heart and the serious antibiotics to deal with the infection made me sick to my stomach for days, and I don’t regret it. After that experience, and the other miscarriages I’ve had, if I were to find myself pregnant again (unlikely with Mirena, but if it did happen), I would most likely choose to abort again, because the odds are good that I would have to. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t carry a child to term, and that with the childhood I had, I’m not equipped to raise one.
Here’s the thing you miss, when you consider me a murderer until you don’t. There’s not a good reason to have an abortion. There’s not a bad reason. There’s only a reason that’s none of your fucking business, and I shouldn’t have to leave those old wounds so bare just so that you know I’m not a cold-blooded killer. Because women who have abortions are not. We’re people who made a personal, private choice, the hardest call we will ever make, and if you haven’t been there, you don’t have the knowledge necessary to say what you would have done in our shoes.
Now I’m going to curl up in bed next to a man who treats me like a human being with inherent worth, dignity, and value regardless of hard choices I’ve had to make in the past. If you can’t view me that way too, that’s a commentary on the person you are, not the person I am.