That neutral public stance changed for me this week, after Georgia and Alabama passed some of the harshest abortion bans in the country. First I just tweeted that I'd had an abortion. But then I realized that I want people to put a face to the procedure, to hear about someone with a completely ordinary story. So here's mine.
Four years ago, when I was 22, I already suspected that my new partner Ben and I would probably get married someday. We had only been together for four months, but we'd already made plans to move from Boston to New York City together at the end of the year—where we planned to live out our big dreams at each other’s side.
But then I got laid off from my first job out of college. I had about $1000 dollars to my name, $100,000 in student debt, and wasn’t eligible for unemployment or severance pay. Even though I was lucky enough to live rent-free with my aunt, and had supportive parents who could step in if needed, the financial reality of my situation was still grim.
Around this same time, Ben noticed that my boobs had gotten bigger. I just attributed the change to the enormous amounts of bread and cheese I had eaten on vacation earlier in the month. But when my period didn’t come when it was supposed to, we got nervous. He suggested that we buy a pregnancy test to settle our fears. We’re both very pro-abortion rights; when I walked out of the bathroom sobbing with a positive pregnancy test in hand, our decision was already made.
There has never been a moment when I have regretted terminating my pregnancy.
While anti-abortion rights activists would have you believe that getting an abortion is fast, easy and on-demand, I discovered it was anything but. Even in a state like Massachusetts that has no mandatory waiting periods, the earliest appointment available at Planned Parenthood was at the end of the following week. This was at the same time as a job interview, which I couldn't afford to skip. So it would be another two weeks before I could have an abortion.
Those next two weeks were the most miserable of my life. I vomited on the side of the road, in my interviewer’s bathroom and even in my own purse. I couldn’t smell food without becoming sick. Despite having no reservations about my choice, early pregnancy hormones meant I cried constantly.
The most stressful thing: the cost. The procedure was $650, and asking my parents for a loan to terminate my pregnancy was not an option. My mom, a religious southerner, had said on a number of occasions that she wouldn’t support an abortion. This is how I found myself sobbing to the receptionist at Planned Parenthood. Thankfully, she directed me towards the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund, who subsidized half of the abortion.
The day of my appointment, I was brought in to meet a counselor who asked me if I was sure of my decision. I told her I’d never been more sure of anything in my life. I was given an ultrasound so they could see how far along I was. They asked me if I wanted to look at it, but I didn’t. My options were either a quick surgical procedure or a medication abortion, which would be delivered in the form of two pills. I chose the latter option, and was given a pill to take that day and a second pill to take at home 24 hours later.
I didn't feel anything after taking the first pill. The second pill was a different story. I was grateful my best friend was at home with me to hold me and wipe the sweat off my forehead. But after the first excruciatingly painful 30 minutes, I started to feel normal. I spent my recovery time watching the first season of How to Get Away with Murder and ate Nutella straight from the jar. I bled for a few days and wore a pad for the first time since I was 14.
There has never been a moment when I have regretted terminating my pregnancy. If I hadn’t gotten an abortion, I wouldn’t have been able to fulfill my dream of starting a career in New York. This isn’t just speculation—less than a year after my procedure, I got an excellent job where I made more than double my previous salary. I don’t believe that would have been possible if I was supporting myself and a child. Even my own parents, who I never thought would be OK with abortion, ultimately respected my decision once I told them about it.
So trolls, I am one of the one in four women who has had an abortion. I don't care if you come after me. My abortion was the best decision I’ve ever made, as it allowed me to choose the trajectory of my life. I am not sorry.
One woman shares how getting an abortion at age 16 changed her life. And here's what you can do to help people living in states that have restrictive abortion laws.
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