Abortion Story: Rural California
Submitted to Abort73 by a 27-year-old woman on March 12, 2012.
There is no religious irrationality clouding my mind, no shallow soliloquies of the unborn crying to mommy. At 7 weeks, sentience is questionable, but there is no forward thinking of missed prom nights and thrown baseballs. I am not so mystical to think that a fetus can comprehend the life they were going to lead if allowed to develop. There are a myriad of possibilities that all of this emotional jibberish that results from choosing this path - ending this life - fails to take into account and I refuse to fall prey to that.
Choosing a rationally based life comes with many advantages. It means that I am completely aware of where I stand, I can follow my logic back and forth with ease. You'll see no waiver in in my convictions, simply because this is a time of weakness. Logic is a strong foundation.
Yet for me, there is also no promise of a mystical or divine forgiveness. What we did, when you parse through the logic, when you observe the cost benefit analysis, when you recount the facts, was wrong. I don't write to absolve myself. Talking may make one feel better, but it doesn't change the facts.
I've always considered myself secular, liberal, yet pro-life, a rare thing in the US. I don't think abortion is wrong because some man floating in a cloud says it is wrong (or rather some man in a funny hat saying he speaks for the man floating in a cloud). The truth is what you have is a combination of DNA that will never again exist on the face of the planet. It isn't wrong because of some fear of what will happen in the afterlife if you do it; it is wrong because life is possibly all there is. You deny that and you deny everything.
I still follow that logic. But in January, there was panic. In January, logic was abandoned and a regime of inflated apocalyptic forecasting was favored.
We had done everything right. We are monogamous, in a long term relationship where for 3 years our method of preventing pregnancy had worked flawlessly.
So there were stages of panic. How could this happen? A combination of a faulty thermometer and taking for granted years of charting that said my cycle is two days longer than it was in December. Anger at circumstance, all of these irrational outbursts. What should we do? What are our options?
We are new here, both moving from across the country. It is a small town, my job is very public. His job is very demanding; he will rarely be home in the summer months, when I would need him the most. We aren't married, but even if we were, that doesn't change the facts. We have very little money. I have no insurance, and would get no maternity leave; he has bad insurance, he was going in for surgery in a few weeks that was already going to put him into debt. I am still paying off student loans. Our family and friends are back east - we have no support community.
When you look at the cost benefit analysis of having a child versus not having a child, it is clear, a child would have suffered with us as parents. And we would have suffered, which would have resulted in further suffering for a child. It would have resulted in future children being disadvantaged as well. People who are poor and pregnant usually stay poor if they stay pregnant. And we'd never get the money we'd need to get back east where our support community is.
Of course though, that logic only works if you are considering the decision of to become pregnant or not to become pregnant. The weight of actually killing somebody in order to avoid the above mentioned costs tilts the balance of the scale significantly.
Did I exaggerate? Could we have made ends meet somehow? I don't know, I can't say, I can only speculate. Accordingly, I am still not sure if it was THE wrong thing to do. The possibilities are endless, but the probabilities are few.
A wrong thing to do and THE wrong thing to do are two entirely different things though. It was a wrong thing to do. There can be no doubt there.
So for that, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for what we did to you.
There is nothing to do to rationalize our action. No punishment that will absolve, no way to make amends, no higher up to grant forgiveness.
I said, "This is a decision we have to make together. If you say, lets leave this place, then we will leave."
He said, "Are you sure we can't figure something out? I am not sure I can do this."
He had been crying since we found out, crying about doing something, crying about not doing something. For the first time, I cried, "I just won't have a future."
Now I have a future still. But if you don't learn from your experiences, then it is truly a waste. Though nothing can make this not a waste.
(I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.)
What could I have done, to ground our actions in the rational logic I like to cling to? What could I have done to get out of that panic zone? Probably a million things, though it is hard to tell anyone beset by crippling emotion that they must simply stand up and shake it off.
The choice, the responsibility, the wrong, was mine, ours. But the support to explore other options and talk down two scared people was also not there. The focus on preventing these killings is strong, and justifiably so, but shouldn't the focus on making sure the circumstances, the environment of being born is welcome and safe, be also strong? How much easier is it to make a rational decision, of life versus death, when you do not have the fear of no insurance, no money, no future, haunting your judgment? Is it a good thing to think, If I have a baby, the very next day I will have another choice: Go to work and leave an infant alone and starving or stay home and at best, not get paid and thus be barely able to feed ourselves and pay bills, at worst, lose the job completely?
I think things would have been different in a different society. I think some women would be able to keep their heads on straight, and make the right choice, if there were more options available to them.
But nothing, nothing, nothing in the world makes what we did OK.
I wish I could have done things differently.
You'd be 13 weeks. Who would you have been? I don't know. I can only speculate, but now nobody ever will know.
Location: Rural California
Date: March 12, 2012