My President, Barack Hussein Obama II Inspired me to share my story, here's why…
When you think of women who’ve gotten abortions, what type of woman comes into your mind. Is she a slut? Is she a deadbeat? Is she poor? The question…is who is she? She’s not any of those things. The unfettered truth is, the ones who make up the one in three American women who have gotten an abortion in her lifetime are wives, mothers, college grads, doctors, lawyers, your friends, your sister, or basically anyone.
I bring this up is because it seems like the war (yes war) on women’s reproductive rights have sky rocketed into a messy, jumbled up, hair ball of a discussion with no real rhyme or reason. This topic especially gets misrepresented when we have our new president elect who is completely unqualified and even more so uneducated on the issue when he says things like “I think it is terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.” – WTF? No, not true, that’s incorrect, not possible, as in not even medically feasible…though long and behold, his “evil band of loyal followers” clap and cheer for his inaccuracy. Thankfully, our current sitting president, Barack Hussein Obama II, recently proposed a change to Title X family planning regulations that would prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood. According to the New York Times, the revision was aimed at stopping organized efforts to defund Planned Parenthood on the grounds that it provides abortion services in addition to those specified under Title X.
The disrespect towards women’s right to choose and reproductive rights doesn’t stop there. Do you guys remember back in 2012 when Lisa Brown, Michigan lawmaker pretty much got silenced during a House of Representatives meeting and thrown out because she said the word…”wait for it”, vagina? More recently, the Polish government is attempting a new legislation that would guarantee a five-year prison sentence for women who have abortions, as well as for the doctors who provide them. My point is the people who are silencing us women and trying to make these harsh, horrific laws against us are in fact, men. Men are controlling the conversation on reproductive rights in this country, according to a new study done by the Women's Media Center.
Why are we allowing men to comment and make laws on a subject they know little to nothing about? I spoke with Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Master’s Student and one of the leaders of University of Cincinnati’s 1in3 Campaign, Kimberley Mason on the subject. “There is a long history of the ways in which women’s bodies have been illegitimized, objectified, sexualized, politicized, subdued, controlled, traumatized, and terrorized in order to maintain existing dominant power structures.” The continuation of shaming women who have made the decision to act on their Pro-Choice right is adding to exactly what Mason spoke on. It illegitmizes and controls our bodies giving politicians and government officials the okay for them to say statements such as the one Trump made as mentioned above.
I believe if we start putting a face with abortion, humanizing it, and have an open dialect about it then people would understand why it is important for women to have their personal rights. Cosmopolitan.com did a story called “6 Women Talk About Why They Got Abortions”, Melissa Madera, Ph.D started a podcast collection of women’s abortion stories called, “The Abortion Diaries”, film maker Dawn Porter created and directed an award winning documentary titled, Trapped which was shown at UC’s Women Center on Oct. 26, and Kimberley Mason even shares her abortion story through her work with the 1in3 organization at UC. Every woman should be able to access her fundamental right as a human being, as guaranteed by the bill of rights, and this should never be prohibited due to a lack of finances or opinions of lawmakers. Florence Kennedy said it best: “if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”
So I wanted to share my story with you all. There will be people who won’t be happy with me afterwards, but I don’t care…
I think I remember the exact day of conception. It wasn't long after my 21st birthday, and having a baby was the furthest thing from my mind. I had just graduated with only an Associate’s degree and I think I worked at some mall retail store. My boyfriend at the time had been working at his first “big boy job” and neither of us were mentally or financially ready to bring a child into the world. Somehow our regular form of birth control failed us (I was on birth control pills, so it's possible I unknowingly missed one), and we were faced with making a huge decision. The main thing I remember thinking was “we’re both kids ourselves.”
There was so much I still wanted to do with my life, so much more I wanted to achieve that I knew would not have been possible with a child. The day I took a pregnancy test and found out I was pregnant, was the same day I received my acceptance letter to the University of Cincinnati to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree. As soon as I got that letter, my mind was made up. I knew what I was going to do.
I didn’t tell him about our pregnancy right away. I was still in shock. After waiting a couple days, I finally told him I was pregnant on our way home from a football game. As he drove us home, he quickly, just for a second, took his eyes off of the road, looked at me, and grabbed my hand. He held it the whole way home. He didn’t say much.
He didn’t push me to go in either direction. He gave his opinion and then he allowed me to make the choice. He told me he would be 100 percent supportive of whatever choice I made – that was all that I could ask for. The procedure was strange, but quick. When me and my boyfriend went to Planned Parenthood, there were maybe three protesters outside, not really talking or chanting, just awkwardly holding up their anti-abortion signs as people drove in. It was freezing outside. The nurses made us watch this 1990’s safe sex and abortion info video before my procedure. During this whole ordeal, I didn’t have any second thoughts, I knew I was making the right decision for me.
Having an abortion changed and saved my life, and it made my life what it is today. It helped shape who I am and I was able to achieve many of the goals I had set out to do. I’m happy with myself and I am at peace with my decision. I think because of waiting, I’ll be able to be a successful individual and parent when I am ready to be one. Now, I’m much more educated and safe when it comes to my sexual health than when I was 21. Me and my boyfriend were together for over a year, though we eventually broke up. Not because of the abortion, we just wanted different things out of life and that's okay.
This leaves me to ask, for Pro-Lifer’s out there, what are you so afraid of and angry about?? If you are Pro-Life, does that automatically make you Anti-Women’s Reproductive Rights? Making the life-long decision to birth a child because a woman feels that is best for her, does not mean to shame other women who have made the decision to wait on motherhood. Each decision is a tough one to make and neither decision is a wrong decision.
I have peers and friends that are great parents to their children. Close friends of mine that have kids, I love them as if they were my own. I understand why someone would choose to have their family even if the circumstances are not ideal. The staff and people who are behind Planned Parenthood, as well as it's patients are not criminals and should not be treated as such. I just wish that women who decided to exercise their reproductive rights, didn't get shamed for it. The Bible doesn't talk about abortion, but it does say when a human being's life begins. Genesis 2:7 is clearest. The first human became a “living being” when God blew into its nostrils and it started to breathe. "Life begins at first breath."