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The Story Behind Sarah’s Abortion

I knew even before the two little lines appeared that I was pregnant. I’m not saying I had magic intuition or anything, just that I use a period tracker app that’s surprisingly accurate, I had sex on a day I was ovulating (it tells you that as well), & my period was late. It was the logical conclusion, but I will say that as a chronically ill person, I think I’m a little more in tune with my body than most people. Mostly because if my body is doing something different and I don’t pay attention to it, things could go downhill for me pretty quickly.

I’ve been talking about wanting kids with my husband for a few months now, but when we talk about it, our conclusion is always the same: I’m just too sick right now to have a baby. I’m the kind of person who actually does read the information packets included in my medications, and many of them say the same thing: “Do not use while pregnant, if you could be pregnant, or while breastfeeding.” My husband and I are realistic people (him probably moreso than me; the occupational hazards of being an idealist), and we knew it was impossible from the moment I screamed “FUCK!” from the bathroom (I’m a really romantic person, as you can tell).

I’ve had exactly one pregnancy scare before. It was within my first few weeks of college. I was 8 hours away from my family and my boyfriend, and living in a very conservative, small town in Iowa. I went to an Urgent Care clinic since I didn’t have a doctor in town yet. I had been throwing up, my breasts were tender, and I was spotting but wasn’t getting my period on schedule. I had recently changed birth controls, so I was sure it was that, but I needed a doctor to write the script for a new kind. So I told the doctor what was going on, and he immediately says, “You’re pregnant.” I explained the situation with my new birth control and how I was sure it was just that, at which point he told me, “There’s no way changing birth control would give you these symptoms. I’m 95% sure you’re pregnant.” I peed in a cup and sat there for 45 minutes while panic set in.

A group of 9 people holding bowling balls at an abortion fundraising event.

My first bowl-a-thon team! From 2012.

I had only recently gone from being someone who was ardently pro-life to a judgey “I’m pro-choice, but *I* could never have an abortion!” (which is a fine position, but you don’t actually have to say that last part). Yet as soon as the doctor said I was probably pregnant, my mind was already made to have an abortion. I wasn’t even done with one semester of college and I had high hopes for my future career that would have been destroyed (or at least very delayed) if I had a child at 18.

I texted my then-serious-boyfriend to tell him what was happening. He told me in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to abort his child. He would work 3 jobs to support the child if he had to, and I would have to drop out of my college to move back home. He consoled me by saying that if I wanted, I could probably transfer to University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee to work on my degree part time while I focused on being a mother. I had never felt so powerless. I would either lose my dreams or the man I thought would become my husband.

Fortunately, my decision was made for me when the doctor came back to announce that I wasn’t pregnant. “So it must be the new birth control, right?” I asked hopefully. “You should have told me you changed birth controls, then we wouldn’t have wasted so much time.” (Unfortunately, this was neither the first nor last time that I was gaslighted by a medical professional.)

As I matured and my views evolved, I moved past that relationship (as well as a few others), and finally met a great guy who I married two years ago. This time couldn’t have been any more different. My husband came into the bathroom after I screamed an expletive, and sat down with me as I cried on the floor. We talked a bit, and then had the following conversation:

The author sitting on her husband's lap at an abortion funding event.

Sean and I at the 2014 Women Have Options Bowl-a-Thon

“Well…what are you going to do?” he asked me.

“This isn’t a ‘me,’ decision, this is a ‘we’ decision.” I told him.

“No,” he replied, “It’s your body, and your decision. I will support you 100% no matter what you decide.”

THAT’s how you do it right, fellas. We talked and both shared our thoughts, weighed the pros and cons of either decision (like adults), but ultimately the final decision was up to me.

Obviously, you know what I chose.

I called Planned Parenthood the next day and made an appointment. Since Ohio has laws requiring a consult appointment and then a 24 hour waiting period, I had to make that appointment first. To prepare, I wore my “Women Have Options” shirt (they’re the abortion funds provider who I’ve supported through the local bowl-a-thon) and my Planned Parenthood hoodie. Most of the staff members I encountered told me they loved my shirt, and when I replied that I was one of the top fundraisers for WHO for the last few years, they all thanked me profusely.

At the consult, I had to have an ultrasound done. Fortunately, you have the choice of whether you want to see the ultrasound or not and whether or not you want to hear the heartbeat. I marked “no” on the form they gave me, but during the ultrasound the technician asked me again. I was curious, so I said yes (I had marked no because I’d had panic attacks before when getting ultrasounds and I didn’t want to repeat that, but this technician made me feel safe and well-cared for). She pointed out a circle the size of a nickel and asked if I could see it. “Is that the baby?” I asked.

“No…that’s your ‘yolk’ that feeds the fetus at this stage. Do you see this tiny little circle underneath it?” I squinted and nodded. “That’s the fetus.”

“So…it’s like the size of peanut?” I asked.

“No, not even. This magnifies it. It’s like the size of a really small seed at this point.” (According to BabyCenter.com, it’s about the size of a sesame seed at that point.)

A group of four people, including the author and her husband, standing in front of bowling lanes at an abortion fundraiser.

My 2013 bowl-a-thon team, Coup de Twat!

After my ultrasound, I got to meet the doctor who’d be doing my abortion. She was very kind and compassionate, and I liked her right away. She had to go through state-mandated counselling where I had to sign a paper that said something to the effect of “I am aware that I am terminating the life of my unborn human child.” (I wanted to take a picture, but the clinic specifically forbids pictures due to privacy concerns, and I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble, especially since they had all been so nice to me.) I openly scoffed and mocked the language, and went on a short rant about how it’s inherently sexist to force women to undergo a medically unnecessary “waiting period” before a procedure, as if we don’t understand what we’re doing and aren’t capable of making decisions on our own. The doctor smiled at me and said, “Everyone has different feelings and reactions to having an abortion, and they’re all valid.”

I replied, “But you know it’s bullshit, right? That this is just the state’s way of controlling women? Ugh, don’t answer that, because if I’m a Live Action plant I don’t want you to get fired or sued or whatever. I know this isn’t your fault and you’re just following the law, but the law is bullshit. Okay, I’m done now.” and I signed the sheet. (Live Action is the group that sneaks cameras into Planned Parenthood and selectively edits them to make it look as if Planned Parenthood is some scheming baby-killing operation. I’m not even going to link to their website because fuck them.)

(If I sound harsh toward anti-choice activists, it’s because I am. I think they are sexist (even though women are not the only people who have abortions, but I still think claims of sexism are valid). I think they are forcing their religious beliefs on other people. And I also think they are fascists for supporting terrorism against people seeking abortions and abortion providers (if you don’t think it’s terrorism, go volunteer as a clinic escort for a few weeks), as well as the fact that they want to control womens’ medical decisions. If all you do to end abortion is pray, then I don’t care. But the minute you start lobbying to create laws to restrict other peoples’ rights, harassing them on their way inside the clinic, or creating misleading “Pregnancy Centers” where you provide inaccurate medical information, we’re going to have a problem.)

Anyway, back to my abortion! Luckily, I was able to schedule an appointment a week out from my consult. I was offered the choice between medical and surgical abortion. If you’d like to read more about the differences, this website is pretty informative, but the gist is that a medical abortion is a pill you can take at home, and a surgical abortion involves mild to moderate sedation. Since my friends who have had abortions said they experienced a lot of nausea from the medical abortion, I opted for the surgical route with moderate sedation. They told me to wear loose clothes, to have thick pads ready for when I got home (though they would provide me with a pad to wear home from the appointment), and that I would need a driver as I should not drive for 24 hours after my procedure.

The author and her husband dressed up, holding plates of cake and kissing

A good marriage is built on a foundation of three things: good communication, healthy respect for one another, and a shared love of cake. (This was at our wedding, by the way!)

The night before my appointment, I had a lot of feelings. I don’t want to say I was worried I was making the wrong choice, because I knew with complete certainty that I was making the right decision for me. Being pregnant was hell on my body. I had constant morning sickness, to the point where I felt like calling it “morning sickness” was a cruel joke. I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t eating, I was just in constant pain. So my feelings were mainly rooted in the realization that I may never be a parent because I may be this sick for the rest of my life. My husband stayed up late with me and talked to me. He told me his number one priority was that I was as safe and happy as possible, which helped my fears that he would resent me if I’m never able to give him biological children.  This would have been a lot more difficult if he wasn’t talking to me through this process or if I didn’t completely trust that he was being forthright.

The morning of my appointment arrived. I was ready to face protesters, but fortunately there were none. They took me into a special waiting room and got my vitals. The nurse gave me a 4 mg tablet of Zofran (anti-nausea medicine) and I laughed and said I’d need more than that, because my doctor prescribes me 8 mg since my nausea/vomiting are especially bad. I made a comment about how I basically hadn’t stopped vomiting for two weeks, and a woman in one of the chairs replied that she also had bad morning sickness. We bantered about how the name “morning sickness” was awful, among other things. It felt nice to have some camaraderie with someone who was going through what I was. They took me to a back room and told me to take off my pants and underwear and cover myself with one of those paper sheets. At this point, I started tweeting under the hashtag #SarahsAbortion.

One of the nurses started an IV, and then the other nurses (or technicians, I’m not sure what their titles were) and doctor came into the room. I was talking and joking around with them when the nurse gave me something by IV. I was mid-sentence when I stopped and just looked around the room, wide-eyed. They could all see that the sedation meds had hit me, so they laughed (I laughed too– I at least had enough temporary self-awareness to realize what was happening). And then…I don’t remember a thing. The next thing I recall is sitting in the special waiting room again. (This is completely normal! One of the drugs they give you for sedation is called Versed, and it causes temporary amnesia. I’ve had it before so I knew to expect that.)

They let me rest in my recliner for a bit to make sure I didn’t have any adverse reactions to the procedure or the meds. They brought me crackers and water, and so I sat and chatted with the woman I had been commiserating with before my abortion. As she told me her story, I felt my anger at the system growing.

Without giving too many of her details away (I want to protect her privacy), she was telling me how her insurance didn’t cover her abortion, so she had to pay out of pocket. She said she wouldn’t be able to afford rent this month, but she hoped she wouldn’t get evicted if she could scrounge up half of it and promise to pay the rest as soon as possible. She also said she had a lot of anxiety about the procedure, but couldn’t afford the stronger sedation since it was $100 more. I tried to help by pointing out that this Planned Parenthood should have money from Women Have Options, but the nearby nurse told us that they ran out of WHO money three months ago, so there was really nothing they could do to help her.

Can you even imagine having to make that decision? It’s so upsetting that the system is stacked against women this way. She said she knew she’d be worse off if she had a kid, but what do you do when you have to decide between possibly getting evicted and being forced into giving birth? What kind of society do we live in? Even if she gave the child up for adoption, there’s still the fact that she’d have to take off work for prenatal checkups (and pay for those as well), not to mention all the (unpaid) sick time she’d have to use for days when she isn’t feeling well. She already told me her morning sickness had been just about as bad as mine, and I basically didn’t leave the house for as long as I had morning sickness. How can you call yourself compassionate when you’re okay with all of this happening to a woman who doesn’t want this?

A group of six people, including the author and her husband, standing in front of bowling lanes at a bowl-a-thon.

My 2014 bowl-a-thon team, also named Coup de Twat!

Talking to her was a stark reminder of my privilege in life (thankfully, my husband and I were able to afford my abortion fees without having to worry about not being able to afford other bills this month) and a fresh reminder of why fighting for abortion rights and funding abortions is so important. I will definitely be participating in my local bowl-a-thon in 2015 (they’re usually held between April and June, but you can start fundraising earlier in the year), and hopefully I will be able to make an end of year donation to my state’s Abortion Fund (you can find the one nearest to you here). I encourage you to do the same if you’re financially able to this year.

Now that my abortion is over, how do I feel? Honestly, the biggest feeling I’m experiencing is relief. I also feel better (physically) than I have in almost 2 months. I don’t have any regret or guilt. I also haven’t thrown up from morning sickness since before I had the procedure done! So aside from some cramping, overall, I feel pretty good.

So why did I write this massive article about my abortion? A few days before my consult, I ended up in the ER due to lower abdominal pain. I knew I was pregnant at that point, so I told the ER staff. The doctor was concerned I had an ectopic pregnancy, so they gave me an ultrasound. While I was waiting for the ultrasound, I remember fervently hoping that it was an ectopic pregnancy, so if people found out I was having an abortion, I could say I had a “good” reason for getting an abortion. And once they told me my pregnancy was fine, I realized how totally fucked up it is that I was hoping I had a life-threatening medical condition just so people wouldn’t judge me for having an abortion. The really messed up thing is that I’m not even in a situation where I would face serious social repercussions if people found out about my abortion! I have some very serious medical conditions that I’m open about, so people already know how difficult pregnancy would be on my body. I’m not working, so it’s not like my job or coworkers could give me a hard time for it. My family is generally pro-life, but they know how sick I am, so they supported me. My friends are all extremely pro-choice, so that’s not an issue, either. So what repercussions could I face if this became public knowledge (that I’m not already facing for being an outspoken feminist online)? Not to mention that fact that I 100% believe in abortion on demand without apologies, so even if I didn’t have a “good” reason for getting an abortion, it doesn’t matter, because it’s my body and my choice.

That’s how serious abortion stigma is. And that’s why I did the best thing I could think of to help end the stigma: sharing my story publicly. I hope if you’re in a similar situation, you’ll consider doing the same.*

 

*But please don’t feel compelled to share your story publicly if it will endanger your personal safety or well-being!

Sarah

Sarah

Sarah is a feminist, atheist vegan with Crohn’s Disease, and she won’t shut up about any of those things. You really need to follow her on Twitter (and probably Google+, just to be safe).

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25 Comments

  1. December 12, 2014 at 11:43 am —

    What do you mean by this:

    “I think they are sexist (even though women are not the only people who have abortions, but I still think claims of sexism are valid).”

    My current understanding;

    Sexist means discrimination against specific sexes.

    A women is anyone who identifies as the female gender.

    Anyone with female sex organs has the potential to seek an abortion.

    This means a person having an abortion will either be of the female sex or intersex, but not of the male sex or sexless.

    Therefore gender is irrelevant here, and claims of sexism would be completely valid.

    • December 12, 2014 at 11:45 am —

      “Anyone with female sex organs has the potential to seek an abortion.”

      Scratch that, it’d be more accurate to say:

      “Anyone without female sex organs cannot seek an abortion.”

    • December 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm —

      Not quite. Any -ism (as defined in feminist studies) is prejudice + power. So in this case, since women do not have structural power that men have in our society, sexism can only go one way: toward women. (Yes, men can absolutely suffer from the consequences of patriarchy & toxic masculinity, but they cannot be the direct victims of sexism.) So what I’m saying here is that the people who get abortions can be women, men (trans men still need reproductive healthcare), non-binary, or any other gender, but since the majority of people who get abortions are women, I believe calling the pushback against abortion “sexism” is still accurate.

      This page has more info, should you be so inclined to read more: https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/

      • December 12, 2014 at 1:06 pm —

        As a transman who is likely able to become pregnant, I agree with you. The reasons for people’s objections still come from sexism. Transgender men and trans masculine people can still be victims of sexism and restrictions on our reproductive rights are part of that.

      • December 12, 2014 at 1:32 pm —

        I wonder if it would be more accurate to say sexism is both against women and people/things coded feminine*, so it can intersect with transmen and non-binary people with functioning uteri and ovaries (organs coded feminine). If you consider male = default, care for these organs (which includes fertility and pregnancy) is separate from ‘normal health care’.

        * Do we need a separate word for these two related concepts? Because the latter starts to veer into ‘sexism hurts men too’.

        • December 12, 2014 at 4:01 pm —

          As a cisman, the main thing for me to do on this subject is listen, so I’m happy to hear from women, transmen, or anyone else who has a different perspective from me on this, but it seems to me that sexism could be pretty much any discrimination against anyone other than a cis male?

          And then it seems to me that most people who are sexist and opposed to abortion probably don’t even recognize anyone outside of the normative gender binary categories, which makes their motivation sexist, either way.

    • January 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm —

      Ugh, what a gross point of view. Sexism means discrimination about girls and WOMEN (including trans women) not your TERF-y idea of “specific sexes.” Also, someone’s true sex is–like their gender–is determined by self-identification, not by some stranger’s assessment of their “sex organs.” The reality is the majority of trans men are of the male sex and the majority of trans women are of the female sex– that is, unless you are in the business of telling trans people we are wrong about our own bodies and our own lives.

  2. December 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm —

    I think all pregnant women bond about the fact that “morning sickness” actually lasts all day.

    I’m glad you were able to make the right choice for you! Yay for rights!

  3. December 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm —

    My condolences that you are in the situation where you want a child eventually but not now, and the ‘now’ depends on something as unknowable as your future health. I’m also glad you could get the care you need now, leaving the future open to what you can handle when you can handle it.

    (Also, yes, I hate the idea that there is a hierarchy of reasons for abortion, with ‘I have an ectopic pregnancy, so leaving it alone will kill me’ higher than ‘I have chronic health issues that means pregnancy could seriously injure me’ higher than ‘I could lose my job and become homeless because of this country’s poor excuse for health care’ etc.)

  4. December 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm —

    Wow, what timing. Today is 9 years since I took the pills that ended my pregnancy. On Sunday will be the anniversary of the birth. I had to have a medical abortion because I was 15 weeks in when I found out I was pregnant, 17 weeks when I had the procedure (I originally intended to keep the baby, it wasn’t a mandated waiting period).

    I have a bunch of medical conditions, and the meds I’m on carried a huge risk to the fetal development, but not one that could be seen on an ultrasound – things like heart/lung development, and neurological stuff. We wouldn’t know until well after the cut-off point if there was anything wrong. So I made the horrible decision, and it nearly killed me. The grief, I mean. Because I was so far in, I had to have an induced labour as the safest option. While it wasn’t planned, I had wanted this baby, and so had my partner, and we both had to grieve the loss. Part of that, for us, was giving the child a name, having a private ceremony of letting go, and I went to grief counselling.

    It was not an easy decision, and people kept telling me I had to be sure, and I wasn’t. I am now – for all the pain, I know I made the right decision – but I still wonder about the could have beens. Particularly since I found out I was pregnant after picking up a test on the way home after visiting my newborn nephew in hospital. It occurred to me there that I might be, and I thought I’d better check. So my relationship with my nephew was unfortunately strained for the first couple of years as he was a stark reminder, and now there’s just an edge of sadness at his milestones for me.

    This is the first year in a while that the anniversary has been bad for me – I think it’s because my husband (not the father of the baby) and I are thinking about starting a family so I’ve been going over and over all the possibilities, and the specter looms large.

    Here’s the thing: it was a desperately hard decision to make, and the grief was all-consuming, but it was still the right decision to make and I genuinely don’t believe that the alternative would have been better. I am glad that, while it is a difficult decision for most people, it isn’t usually as traumatic as it was for me. And anyone using my story as evidence that it is awful has to be damn sure that they’re also presenting all the evidence for the risks to physical and mental health of continuing a pregnancy. I am also glad that there are people for whom the decision is not difficult, and who do not grieve. I would not wish this on anyone. We all have our ways of dealing. There is no hierarchy of reasons, but we should have compassion for the people who struggle afterwards, as their grief is real and brutal too. For a long time, I felt like I wasn’t entitled to that grief as I had killed my baby, so I deserved this pain, but my grief counseller got me past that.

    One more note: I have never, ever been so glad not to live in the US as I was on that day. Having to run a gauntlet of protesters likely would have pushed me over the edge and into suicide (major depressive disorder is one of the things I was medicated for). I came close enough without any of that. I was treated with respect and dignity, in a private room in an anonymous short procedure ward in the hospital. They made sure I was sure and wasn’t being coerced, and held my hand as I sobbed my heart out.

    9 years. Wow.

    • December 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm —

      Thanks for sharing that. I’m so sorry you’ve gone through all that but at the same time I’m relieved you weren’t in the US and you did have options available to you.

    • December 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm —

      Wow, what a powerful story. I’m so sorry you had to go through with that, but I’m glad you made the decision that was best for you, and used the best possible coping mechanisms. I hope you’re able to have the family you dream of. <3

  5. December 12, 2014 at 5:15 pm —

    I think the culture of silence and the prevailing idea that “good women” don’t have abortions isolates so many people. So thanks for sharing your story.
    Also I had to smile when you talked about your period tracking app because it reminded me of the time I laid back in a post coital stuper when it hit me. I scrambled for my phone to check my app and son of a bitch there was the green circle of fertility. This app gave me the opportunity to use an emergency contraceptive within the necessary window.
    Period tracking app – a girls best friend

  6. December 13, 2014 at 10:13 am —

    Thank you for sharing your story. I found it to be very powerful and insightful. I am not able to have children, but I have always been pro-choice for various reasons. It was sad to hear about the woman was lack of resources. We can do so much better as a country!

  7. December 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm —

    We need these stories to demystify and destigmatize abortion.

    I remember a few months back, reading about a mother (as in, she already had children) who was pregnant again, had a cancer dx, and refused chemo because ‘it might harm the baby’. Never mind that not getting chemo would kill her and leave her already-born children orphans. That is the degree to which abortion is stigmatized.

  8. December 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm —

    Tragic abortions are the ones where the pregnant person would like to remain pregnant and have a child but cannot for some reasons.
    If “pro-lifers” were actually pro life, they’d put their efforts into helping those women, for example by lobbying for better protection of pregnant women. A friend of mine spent about 20 weeks mostly lying on her back cause she was at risk of losing the pregnancy. During that time health insurance paid 67% of her wages and her employer culd not fire her. If you need, health insurance will even pay for a domestic worker to do your housework and take care of your small kids. That actually saves fetuses and lets them grow into babies.
    But no, “pro lifers” protest abortion clinics. They harass women, they harass those women for whom the abortion is the worst day of their lives.
    I needed an abortion when my first pregnancy had gone Wahoonie-shaped. Which never gets counted as an abortion since no fetus was terminted, even though the medical term is “missed ABORTION” and the procedure was a D&C, a common abortion procedure. If I imagined having to go through protestors who called me a baby killer that day would probably have broken me into pieces (btw, no need to express your sympathy now. It was bad then, but I’ve had 2 kids since, so I’m fine).
    So, that’s a tragic abortion.
    Everything else is not tragic or sad in any way, shape, or form. I will not have another child. We’re using contraception, but of course it could fail. That would mean an abortion and I HATE that in Germany you cannot get a legal abortion except in rare circumstances. You can get an illegal but not prosecuted abortion within the first 14 weeks AFTER you’ve been told what a horrible person you are and that you should have the baby (mandatory pro-life counselling).
    It’s something that walks with me every day, even though I haven’t needed an abortion yet. It sucks.

    • December 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm —

      That was a nice fuck-up, wasn’t it? I remembered to type “person” first and then defaulted to “women”. I’m sorry, I’ll try harder next time.

    • December 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm —

      I love this comment. It really shows how messed up the people who claim to be about the sanctity of life are. We have the resources to provide and care for people, but we would rather shame people for poverty, or for making decisions to protect themselves.

  9. December 14, 2014 at 9:20 pm —

    Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your story!

    I very much concur with helping out your local abortion access fund. Also, if folks have the opportunity, get involved with the work of various reproductive rights orgs collaborating in the fight to end the federal funding restrictions for abortion.

    http://allaboveall.org/

  10. December 15, 2014 at 12:27 am —

    Read these:
    http://dalehusband.com/2013/04/14/a-powerful-statement-about-abortion/

    http://dalehusband.com/2009/09/16/female-imprisonment-syndrome/

    “I texted my then-serious-boyfriend to tell him what was happening. He told me in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to abort his child. He would work 3 jobs to support the child if he had to, and I would have to drop out of my college to move back home.”

    In other words, he was a potential recruit for the Taliban! Yikes!

  11. December 15, 2014 at 2:08 am —

    An ectopic pregnancy would still not be considered an acceptable abortion for the Catholic Church or some others.

  12. December 19, 2014 at 10:59 am —

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.
    Support from the father is also something you were very much blessed with. This line brought grateful tears to my eyes, your husband sounds like a wonderful human.
    ” This would have been a lot more difficult if he wasn’t talking to me through this process or if I didn’t completely trust that he was being forthright.”

    Also, and importantly,
    how can I find or start a Women Have Options Bowl-a-thon in my city??

  13. December 21, 2014 at 11:45 am —

    A few thoughts came to mind.

    In his talk at TAM 2014, Dr. Steven Novella had a part about how when explaining to people their diagnosis, they will sometimes break down and be unhappy when it isn’t the MORE severe but definite outcome because an uncertain and less organically obvious diagnosis leaves them in an uncomfortable grey zone. So when you relay in your story how you were temporarily hoping for a more potentially deadly outcome so you could use it as a way to justify your abortion to other people, I thought it was an interesting illustration of Dr. Novell’s anecdote. It’s amazing how the rational parts of our brains give way when we are under extremely emotional circumstances.

    Also, though it can be difficult and awkward at times, it can be very helpful to talk openly and unapologetically about things that our society sees as subversive. People are often times afraid of what they don’t know. I remember reading about a study somewhere that stated simply KNOWING a gay person increases the likelihood that one will support gay rights. I bet that same concept could be applied to abortion. If it’s topical, I talk openly and honestly about being a person with HIV, not only because it helps be deal with it on a personal level, but because I know it could change the stereotypes people carry with them about who HIV+ people are.

    And sorry for the long comment, but relating both of my thoughts above to your story at the same time, shortly after my HIV diagnosis when I began telling people, I would lie and say it was because of a broken condom in order to deflect judgment away from myself. Until I decided, and I’m quoting you Sarah: “Fuck that!”

  14. December 27, 2014 at 9:14 pm —

    While I understand the fact/evidence of your health circumstances, I fail to understand the logic of the abortion argument in circumstances of a average health women and a father who wants his child. In other words acknowledging but setting to the side perfectly valid arguments of medical conditions and rape circumstances, if a father is perfectly able to financially provided for the mother until she is able to move on with her life, why is it a better moral standard to give the women sole decision over a fathers child and the opportunity of the most advanced life form to live approximately 80 years? I fail to see this as a logical conclusion based on the well being of all three members. It is great you have an example of a man not caring what happens with his child and gives the sole decision to you, but it doesn’t make it an acceptable decision for ALL MEN. We need to make sure feminism does not confused equality for shifting the burden of unfair from women to men.

    • December 30, 2014 at 2:50 am —

      I understand your argument but I think there are a lot of things you fail to consider. Your argument would be more valid if we were talking about an embryo that is wholly developing within an environment other than a person’s body. But we’re not.

      It can be traumatic and emotional for a person to feel like some part of themself is being destroyed or their (perceived) rights are being taken away. But pregnancy and childbirth can have long-lasting and life-altering consequences on a person’s body. And because of this disparate effect of pregnancy on one party versus another, I don’t think it is logical to conclude that each person has an equal and analogous say in whether or not to continue with a pregnancy. Just because someone’s’s DNA is 50% of an embryo’s makeup does NOT mean their voice is equal to or analogous to the person who must physically carry out the pregnancy. Not everything involving two people should always be seen as 50-50 in all respects.

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