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The Great Divide

People seem to believe that abortion creates some great divide- women who have had abortions, women who haven’t. Pro-choice, pro-life. On and on. But my experience with abortion makes me think that there’s another divide- between the perception of women who have had one abortion and the perception of  women who have had multiple abortions. I’ve had three abortions. I’m not uneducated and I’m not irresponsible. I’m a lawyer, I’m in my early thirties, I have a great life. I wouldn’t choose to have more abortions, and I don’t believe abortion is birth control. I simply cannot take birth control because it makes me feel horrible, and this has led to me getting pregnant.

It’s strange, because often in hearing about other women’s experiences with abortion, there’s a sense that abortion is necessary…once. As if it’s a get out of jail free card that you can use and learn a lesson from. I feel as if many women support abortion, but only once. You only get one abortion to learn your lesson. After that there’s no sympathy, no empathy. You’re perceived as irresponsible, or demonized. I can’t explain the judgment I’ve received from people- even close friends and family. I choose to openly stand behind my abortions, without shame, and will talk about them when asked (or if the conversation entails.) Over and over again, I can see the difference in people’s judgment between having one abortion and having three.

I stand behind my choice and my actions. No one but me can understand the nuance of my life and my decisions and if others’ choose to judge, that’s their issue. But I want to always make clear that being pro-choice means being pro people making choices- not only within a selected spectrum of choices, but all choices.

One Response to “The Great Divide”

  1. Zoe Says:

    Thank you for sharing. I, too, am an educated woman (with a J.D., as well) who just this weekend received her second abortion. Even at this wonderfully empowering, pro-choice, accepting clinic, I declined to tell them it was my second. Braving the stigma with one abortion story is about all I can stomach. I don’t want to be ashamed of my choice, but I don’t want the judgment, either. It’s funny–I can see myself sharing my abortion count once I get my Implanon or my IUD: “I learned my lesson.” Until then, I’ll sense that my personal responsibility is at a deficit.

    I hate that I’m ashamed, because the reality is that my personal responsibility is in the black. I did the right thing for myself and for the fetuses I aborted. My choices *should* be less embarrassing than those of a woman who raised two children but could not provide for them or did not care to be a decent parent to them.

    I don’t hold any religious beliefs that dictate my personal morals or ethics. I don’t believe that conception is a magical process that imbues a zygote with personhood. To whom do I feel, then, that I have to justify my decisions? I don’t know. As I write this, I want to convince you of my utter respect for life, how I contribute what I can with my career to raise the quality of life for myself and for others.

    I wish my story were more accepted, less whispered.

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