let's talk about abortion

punkmama's picture

i have applied to two abortion clinics in the last two days that are hiring counselors. one of them required that applicants write a cover letter explaining why you are interested in the position, and why you think you would be a good candidate.
so, i wrote that and then found the thread that sophiesworld posted. so rather than continue to hijack, i thought, let's talk about abortion.
i have had two, both in highschool, both without a bit of hesitation. not only was it the wrong time for me, but i knew that the wrong people were the sperm donors. i have also had a miscarriage, that i knew was a miscarriage. there may have been one other, but that is a moot point. i only identify it in retrospect, at the time, i never thought of it. then, i spotted with vincent. at that point, it occurred to me, late one night, maybe you wasted the two times your body was supposed to be pregnant and now you are just fucked. that sounded like nonsense in my head the next morning, but in that tearful three am anxiety ridden moment, i think i second guessed my abortions. also, when it occurs to me that i would have a 20 year old and an 19 year old or therabouts (didn't keep track of the abortion dates), i feel both relief, and then of course now that i actually am a mom, i think, shit, i coulda done it. then i think of the certain deadbeat heroin addicted deeply flawed human beings that would be half of those imaginary kids genetics and i shudder and i am very thankful in that moment for roe v. wade ending up the way it did.
my first abortion, my mom and my boyfriend went with me. i was a sophomore in highschool, so i was 15 or 16, can't remember. we both used drugs. neither one of us wanted to have a baby. it wasn't traumatic for me, it hurt, yeah, but i figured it should. kind of a secular penance for being reckless. and i do think i was reckless, i mean, i had a functioning reproductive system and i was having sex. so i was on the pill. big deal, you can always get pregnant if ou have the parts and you have sex. i knew that.
the next time it happened, i felt like a slut. why? well, because of my programming, catholic school and italian american and well, just in general. like, once was ok but twice? you slut. i didn't tell my mom that time. my boyfriend took me. i felt more irresponsible that time, like, what did we learn from our last abortion, class? nothing apparently! so, it was number two.
the pregnancy that i miscarried was unplanned, and again, in a way i am just plain grateful that it didn't work out, cause the thought of seeing any ghosts of my ex husband's face every day in the face of mu child, well, again let's just say i am grateful that isn't something i am dealing with now.
i think that this probably sounds like an affront to mamas who have made the opposite decision, to keep pregnancies that originated in situations that were not ideal, or wound up badly. like, oh, easy for punkmama to sit there and monday uterus quarterback about her sound reproductive decisions. bitch. and i get that. if i had not miscarried with my ex, for example, i am sure that i would be dealing with it just fine, just like the rest of us mamas deal with whatever we need to for our kids. so i don't mean to sound smug, is what i am trying to say. \
anyway, of course i think that each person should be allowed to feel however she wants to feel about her decisions, reproductive and otherwise. but what can we do to allow ourselves and each other that space without globalizing it, without changing laws and hurting feelings and invalidating others? i recognize that my lack of regret about my abortions is mine, and other mama's feelings are theirs. i am not about to get into any more debates about whose feelings are legit and whose are not, i maintain that all of our feelings are legit, if not on a sociopolitical level, at least on an individual experiential level.
so what do you all think? what are your histories/thoughts/opinions? like, do you think fathers should have a say in whether a woman aborts? (i don't) what do you think about parental notification laws? (i think they are dangerous and harmful) how do you feel about your choices, if you have made any other then choosing to become a mama?


Strange Quark's picture

I will come back to respond, as I am super tired and I'm supposed to be packing for a weekend trip. I just wanted you know know that I read this and thank you. Oh, and ps...I don't think that anyone should have any say in whether a woman aborts besides that woman. (And that goes for women that might not be considered women yet.)
"The Universe Molds Itself To Prove Your Beliefs"

"Fundamentally the markswoman aims at herself" DT Suzuki

Strange Quark's picture

"so what do you all think? what are your histories/thoughts/opinions? like, do you think fathers should have a say in whether a woman aborts? (i don't) what do you think about parental notification laws? (i think they are dangerous and harmful) how do you feel about your choices, if you have made any other then choosing to become a mama?

I am always shocked that the abortion debate is going on is this day and age. That's what I think. I have never been able to understand anti-abortion advocates.
My favorite shirt while I was pregnant was an oversized T that said, "I'm pro-choice and my mother is too". I had this shirt on for two reasons: one, I support a woman's choice to have an abortion and two, I support a woman's choice to not have an abortion. The second reason was pretty important to me during my pregnancy, since my aunt and my sister stopped talking to me because I chose to keep the baby. When my mother asked my sister how she could be so mad at me, being that she was pro-choice, my sister told her, "exactly. i'm pro-choice. that means i support abortion." To me, the argument is that the government needs to keep their frakin' hands off our bodies. That applies to abortion, and it also applies to keeping our babies. Don't the anti-abortion activists realize that if the government is allowed to stop abortion, it could just as easily swing around to stopping pregnancies that it didn't want?
My histories? I've had two abortions. I feel very similar to the way you do about them. My first abortion was a "partial birth" at almost 6 months, though I didn't know the terminology for it at the time. I had no idea that I was pregnant until I was over 3 months along (I didn't get my period till I was 18, so it wasn't unusual for me to miss 3 or 4 months at a time). At that point, the cost was staggering, and it took me months to get wic to approve aid for me, so there was nothing i could do but keep pressing the system. It was an absolutely horrible experience. Most of the women at the clinic (in Oakland, CA) were between 12 and 16 years old with their mothers. I was the only woman who had a man with me. They put 5 of us in a room at a time for the "procedure". I had a tough recovery, being that I was so far along. I don't regret my decision.
The second time, I went to a Planned Parenthood. I felt much more comfortable there. This is where I go for my check-ups anyway, so it wasn't a high production abortion clinic like the first one I'd gone to...it was just like going to my doctor. When the male doctor came in, I was shocked, because I had specifically asked for a female. I started crying and told him that I was so sorry that he had to do this for me. He told me that he wasn't sorry. He said that he was so very glad that he could be there that day to save my life, so that I would be able to do wonderful things and someday, when I was ready, have children. I couldn't believe that someone could be so frakin' kind. That doctor was an amazing person.
All notification laws, etc..etc..etc.. are a load of shit. I'll be back for more of this lata!!

"The Universe Molds Itself To Prove Your Beliefs"

"Fundamentally the markswoman aims at herself" DT Suzuki

azblue's picture
Submitted by azblue on

but this thought has been floating around my head all day. Men can have a say in a woman's choice when it is for certain that they will be around at least 50% of the time for the childs life, pay 50% or more of the cost to raise the child and be there emotionally 100% of the time. Since we all know that many men are not going to be doing this then let the person who will be there for the child make the decision.

Lucy Pinball's picture

a 12 year old, a 7 year old, a 5 year old and dd. am i glad i chose not to carry those pregnancies? yeah. i am. the daddies, though not strung out junkies, were both fairly abusive immature assholes that did not tend to "step up to the plate" (2 guys - was pg twice by the same guy in the span of a long twisted relationship). maybe they would have but i had a gut feeling that they wouldn't. i didn't have that feeling with bd. but i had also made up my mind that i wouldn't go through an abortion again if i ended up pg. now that i have dd, i don't know if i would have another abortion. depending on circumstances, i might.

i don't think that the father has any say in a woman's choice. if a woman wants to take his thoughts into consideration, sure. but in my case, i did take their thoughts into account and their thoughts were no fucking way. the bastards.

parental notification laws are really scary to me. i do not want to leave it up to the state to parent my daughter. it is up to me to foster a relationship of trust and honesty with her that will mean that if she were to get pregnant she could talk to me about it. and i would tell her about my experience too. and her dad's (though i can't share that here). and she would make her own choice.

i chose to become a mama at the right time for me. hard as it has been, i haven't regretted it. and b/c of that, i don't regret my previous decisions to end pregnancies. in fact, i feel greater peace about them.

one of my friends is scared she won't have kids b/c she doesn't have an SO and hasn't for a while. i know that her experience with abortion ways on her mind. i have to imagine it would weigh on mine if i didn't have dd. that's the emotions working though - the brain knows that those decisions were made for valid reasons.

i hope you get one of those jobs. you would be amazing doing that work.

"Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me." ~Alice Walker

HipsterMommy's picture

Tough ones. I've made five of them, two abortions, two adoptions and now ds. I do not regret any of them. They were all right. If the woman wants to consult the man involved, then that's her choice. Otherwise, no, none of his beezwax. Prenatal notification laws are bad news. I will write more later.

Jesus was black, Ronald Regan was the Devil and the government is lyin' about 911. Thank you for your time.


Jesus was black, Ronald Regan was the Devil and the government is lyin' about 911. Thank you for your time.


redstockingnosis's picture

I had an abortion when I was 19 and have no regrets about it whatsoever.I was incapable of having/raising a child at that point in my life.I felt relieved afterward, as if I had been given a second chance. Sunflower made several very important points in the other abortion thread about the extreme emotional and physical difficulties of pregnancy and how adoption (as a 'solution') can be far more emotionally traumatic than abortion. I am now 23. Giving birth to my dd this past november has solidified my faith in the extreme importance of choice. I choose to have a child this time around. The first time I was pregnant I did not. Every woman should be free to make this choice without the interference of others.If she needs financial assistance in carrying out her choice, then either the man involved or the government should step up to the plate, in a generous and timely manner in order to prevent there from being pressure on a woman to go EITHER way.
In light of this, something that really bothers me is what I view as the 'commodification' of childbearing and childrearing that has occured, where they are seen as only to be encouraged in people who have attained a particular socioeconomic status. Otherwise your choice is viewed by society as being 'foolish'. I feel as if this reduces one of the deepest, most emotional choices one can face to an economic equation, with children as the ultimate playing card in the great game to perpetuate the meritocracy (which has taken the place of aristocracy in our culture and is IMHO just as 'wrong'...same hierarchal opression, different rules for belonging to the 'club', that's all. some use the term meritocracy to describe what form of government we 'supposedly' have; i've heard it used as a class term and have taken a shine to it.).

nomad's picture
Submitted by nomad on

Remember attachedmama? She wrote something on the topic here a looong time ago that I liked so much that I still remember it.
Spent awhile searching, found it and I'll repost it here:

"I had two and I'm torn..
I mourn the babies I could have had. I cry thinking of their soft skin, hands, fat little feet, missed smiles. I murmur their secret names sometimes when no one is around. Occasionally in the shower, I cry. I'm saddened by my sadness, confused by my confusion. What I feel is not P.C. My body makes miracles. I feel as though I abandoned her. My self I left behind when I chose to cease the life beginning. Safety denied. Guilt plays no part in my spontaneous grief. Knowledge is my antagonist. I am aware. I know. I am a mother of 2?. Do I deny them? My sons know nothing of the others. Just a mother mourning alone.
And yet the choice. Would I take that choice from others? Would I presume to place myself higher than those who have walked away bleeding and empty? Emphatically no. This is the realm of women, of mothers alone. Are those 4 days of discovery and subsequent choice, my legacy? 2 days I chose emptiness. 2 days I chose to be full. I chose. My choice." -attachedmama

linlou's picture
Submitted by linlou on

Abortion should definitely be a woman's choice no matter what. I had one at 19, but it wasn't my choice, even though now that I look back it was probly better that way. The guy I was with started calling abortion clinics when my period was a day late. I didn't even think I was regnant yet. I was, and I did go to Planned Parenthood and was "undecided about the pregnancy" but scheduled an abortion appt. in like a month thinking I could always cancel. I wanted to keep the baby, he didn't. The day of the appointment we went out, got coffee, and I started crying. Begged him to keep the baby. He said we didn't have the money to have a child. At that moment I thought I guess I will go, let them give me painkillers and let them go ahead with it. And I did. I was 12 weeks, not too far along. I came home and milk started coming out of my nipples, or I guess early formation of milk. I got severely depressed, watched tv and didn't come out of my house.
But I guess when I moved on to my next relationship I was glad I didn't have a baby with my ex...but you know what? I think this whole experience made me really baby crazy. I got pregnant with my next partner 6 months into our relationship.
Here I was gonna say how annoying those pro lifers are. My friend and I both got pregnant at the same time, we lived in Chicago at the time, and the only way to ge ton medicaid was to go to this one clinic and get a "proof of pregnancy "from them. So we were just going for a piss test, and got harrased by a bunch of freaks telling us "don't kill your babies" and giving us anti-abortion flyers.
After my experience I told myself I will never have one again, but you never know what circumstances you gona find yourself in, and it's good to have that choice in case you ever need it.
Do you think it has a lot to do with how many catholics/religious people live in this country? Back home most of the population is atheist and I have never seen the issue of abortion being discussed or looked down at. I don't think they do partial birth unless the health of the mother/baby is in great danger, but early abortion is viewed as a common medical procedure.