This story is not easy to tell.
I was separated from my husband with children under the age of 6. I was working and making a living in those days trying to make sure my children didn’t grow up the way I did.
My parents divorced and different family members and strangers raised my siblings and me, we experienced verbal, physical and sexual abuse. It was not a life I wanted for my children.
Then I found I was pregnant. I faced the news with dismay. If I continued this pregnancy I would lose my job, have to turn to welfare or return to a bad marriage. It was rumored a family friend who was in a stable marriage with four children had an abortion rather than have more children. I went to her and told her my dilemma.
In those days abortion was illegal in the United States, and she had gone to an abortion clinic in Mexico. I got the information and made a decision. My existing children were my priority and I would get an abortion.
A friend took me to the Clinic. Although I didn’t know it at the time apparently I had a reaction to the anesthetic and the abortion was not completed properly. I remember the nurse saying to me as she helped me into the car, “be sure to smile when you are going back across the border.”
A few days later I was in pain, bleeding, and had a fever, I called my friend and she told me of an American doctor who would help me. The doctor completed the abortion and said he was tired of fixing the problems from woman having to go to Mexico for an abortion.
A couple of months later I was at a wedding reception and something triggered a catastrophic emotional cascade of hysterical crying about the procedure. I was completely unprepared for the feelings of regret and guilt brought on by this abortion.
In the 40 years since the abortion I have never lost the sense of shame and guilt over aborting my child. Ten years later a friend and neighbor was almost in the exact set of circumstances, she had children, her husband left her and she was pregnant, but she chose to continue with the pregnancy and delivered a beautiful baby girl. My guilt increased and I wondered why I was unable to be as strong.
So the abortion issue is a very complex issue. I believe in choice, a woman’s body is her own. I don’t want to make a decision for other women. I always feel happy when I hear a woman chooses her child under adverse circumstances. When I hear someone has chosen an abortion I know the emotional turmoil that lies ahead for her and I hope they have considered this.
I don’t know if I would have listened if someone had told me how an abortion affects the mother. You never know when the next great comedian or President will arrive on earth and who will be the birth mother. I believe in a woman’s right to choose in spite of my inability to put this behind me. There is no absolute right thing to do. It depends on the circumstances.
I do know people who kill doctors and nurses who work in family planning and abortion clinics are committing the act they are condemning. I oppose the death penalty and yes I am guilty. My reasons for the abortion were not good enough, but there are reasons that could justify the act, and I cannot be the judge.