Kid's Quill: Was Abortion the Right Choice?
Abortion will always be a controversial issue, even a polarizing one. Here, two youths offer divergent first-hand accounts of the experience. As with many of the articles in Kids’ Quill, youth workers may find it useful to share these articles with young people who are facing the same choices.
The Wrong Choice for Me
By Sarah Beveau
It was my second ultrasound. I had been bleeding heavily, even though it was only the seventh week of my pregnancy. The nurse was smiling and tilted the screen towards me. She pointed out my baby’s heartbeat. Just a tiny flutter. Hardly anything, really, this green and black fuzzy little butterfly wing. I returned to the little curtained stall, got dressed, and walked to my car. I made it as far as the Safeway parking lot two blocks away before I couldn’t see the road anymore. I cried so long and hard I thought I’d black out.
It doesn’t take much to set me off. A sweet baby on a commercial, the teenage mother with a child in tow, the quick glance from friends when the topic of babies comes up.
Some of my friends know. I couldn’t hide it, couldn’t push it down anymore. I had an abortion. I can usually say those words to close friends in a normal tone of voice without a trace of tears. In public I try to keep a straight face, remain calm. Most of the time. Sometimes I have to excuse myself and attempt to maintain composure until I find a washroom stall I can lock myself into, sobbing into my sweater sleeves.
I am [now] 20, a university student. I have a well-paying job and my IQ is in the top 5 percent of the population. I am not stupid. But I was scared. I knew I could support a child. I even knew I could probably give it a good standard of life. It wouldn’t be lacking in anything.
I would be.
And that’s why I chose to have an abortion. I would have lost my chance at an education, travel opportunities, a challenging and demanding job. So I got scared.
I made a mistake. I knew it on the way to the hospital. Even that was a trip. I got to have my abortion in the hospital, where everything is clean and the nurses friendly and the doctor refers to my baby as “the fetus.” I didn’t have to worry about protesters or dirty clinics or even the cost. Our health care system pays for your first abortion.
After I completed the forms, I was led into a room away from my boyfriend where the nurse asked me if I was sure about my decision. I said I was. I lied. I was screaming inside. I returned to the waiting room, surrounded by other women being comforted by a friend or boyfriend. Under my breath I whispered to my boyfriend, “I want to go home. Please can we go home? I don’t want to do this, I changed my mind.” He kept saying it was ok, that everything was going to be alright.
I wanted him to take me out of there. I couldn’t do it myself. Trembling inside, still on the outside. And I just waited. I didn’t move, I didn’t say no, I didn’t stand up, I didn’t leave. It just seemed so hard, so difficult. As if murder was the easy choice.
I remember laying down on the table, there were three or four doctors in the room. They gave me drugs through my wrist and I spaced out. My first taste of drugs. Then the nurse was helping me up, and I looked at the bed while getting dressed. On the tousled sheets was one spot of blood. A single, perfectly round, crimson red drop on the bright white sheets.
Recently I got a memorial tattoo. It’s an armband of vines and flowers that wraps around my arm. There is a break in it with the date of my abortion. I tell inquisitive people that the date was the day a close friend died. I guess that’s almost true.
I still believe abortion is a woman’s choice. But it wasn’t the right choice for me. I made my choice and it was a selfish one. I’ll regret it for as long as I live.
Be Grateful There’s a Choice To Make
By Robin Thompson
Since women began to really stand up for their rights in the ‘60s, abortion has been a hot-button topic. “It’s my body and I have the right to choose” is countered with “Murderer!” There is a constant stream of poignant stories of women who chose abortion and are now, years later, wracked with guilt.
And that, dear reader, pisses me off.
I have empathy for those women who regret the abortion they had, or feel circumstances forced them to have. I understand the heartbreak of a such a decision but I do not feel it fairly represents women as a whole. Let me tell you about my decision.
In my third year of university I suddenly found myself pregnant. I say suddenly because I had been faithfully using birth control (a diaphragm and spermicide) for years. However, as we all know, birth control measures fail a small percentage of the time. So, yes, you could say I was surprised. And annoyed. And filled with a certain amount of dread at what was to come.
I went to my family doctor to confirm what my body was telling me. When the positive results came back, my doctor sat down. “There are a number of things you can do,” he said, looking grave. But there really was no choice to be made.
I have always known that I don’t want to have children. There are too many people in this world already and many, many children without homes, awaiting adoption. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I would be a good parent. Parenting, and the right to do so, is taken for granted by almost everyone but not everyone is cut out to be a parent. Finally, I have a disease for which there is no known cause or cure. The medical community says it is unlikely this would be passed on to my child, but why would I want to take even the smallest chance?
I did not agonize over the decision. It was thought out long ago, so when that diaphragm failed, I knew abortion was the only way to go, the only way that would work for me, and for my boyfriend as well. My mother supported me fully and without question. My doctor set the outpatient appointment for three days later.
This is a story without drama. I drove myself to the hospital and awoke from the anesthetic to hear mom telling anecdotes of my childhood to my boyfriend (making me want to go right back to sleep). I went on with my life with no backward glances — just a calm certainty that I did the right thing.
Abortion was not a decision I made lightly. It was well considered, made on facts, not emotion. I have not had a moment of regret, and thank God that the option was available.
I understand the grief many women feel after an abortion. It is a perfectly valid emotion but I have little patience with it. We all make difficult decisions over the course of a lifetime and the way to deal with them is exactly that — deal with them. Stop moaning and get on with your life. Be grateful to the women who came before us, who fought for the right to reproductive freedom. Be grateful that there is a decision to make.
Articles to be considered for publication must have been previously published. Youths will be paid for work published on this page. Submit articles to: Al Desetta, Youth Communication, 224 W. 29th St., 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10001. (914) 679-6314. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beveau, Sarah. "The Wrong Choice for Me." Kid's Quill. Youth Today, Dec/Jan 2001, p. 28.
Thompson, Robin. "Be Grateful There’s a Choice To Make." Kid's Quill. Youth Today, Dec/Jan 2001, p. 29.
©2000 Youth Today. Reprinted with permission from Youth Today. All rights reserved.