It started with an uncomfortable cramping in my nether regions, and progressed to breakthrough bleeding, nausea and fever. I was far from home and a friend took me to the local hospital, where a friendly and outgoing doctor determined that I had an ectopic pregnancy; a shock to me, since I was on birth control and using condoms.
I needed a lifesaving abortion, and I got one from Doctor [Redacted1] and his team of awesome nurses.
Even if it hadn’t been an ectopic pregnancy, if it had been a totally healthy pregnancy that wasn’t endangering my life, I would have gotten an abortion. I would get an abortion if I was pregnant today (which, wow, let me tell you, would be quite a feat).
I love abortion.
There’s a tendency in some corners of the pro-choice movement to talk about abortion as a tragic but sometimes necessary procedure, to talk about the need to reduce the overall number of abortions, and this is a mistake. It plays into the hands of the anti-choice movement by assigning a moral value to abortion.
An abortion is a medical procedure. Pure and simple. It’s a private choice a person can make to deal with a specific medical issue, and that choice lies between the patient, the medical professionals who provide treatment, and select people the patient chooses to discuss the situation with. The emotions people may experience around abortion are also their own, whether they’re pride, neutrality, regret, anger or anything between.
However, in this politically charged climate, abortion has been a hot potato.
So I’ll say it again: I had an abortion. I love abortions. I’m out and proud about having had an abortion and I wholeheartedly and unilaterally support everyone who has chosen to have an abortion, for whatever reason, at whatever time, along with people who are currently pondering the decision to have one, and those who will face that decision in the future.
I had an abortion, and I support the right of all people to access abortion services. I’m worried, gentle readers, about the eroding access to all reproductive health services in the United States, not just abortion services. I’m worried about the fact that people have trouble getting birth control, that cuts to reproductive health services mean pregnant folks can’t get prenatal care in some areas. I’m worried about the level of control being exerted over other people’s bodies and I want that to stop.
I’m worried about abortion as a lightning rod, and the way that the pro-choice movement sometimes plays right into the language and framing of the political right. Fighting attacks on our rights is sometimes a matter of making it clear that we’re here and we’re not going to take this any more. Approximately 825,000 abortions were performed in 2007. We don’t need to hide that fact. There’s nothing wrong with receiving appropriate and timely medical treatment.
xoJane is a site that prides itself on living out loud, on dragging things into the light instead of leaving them hidden under the carpet and shushing people. We bare ourselves as contributors and you bare yourselves as commenters – we show ourselves at our best and worst and you return the favor, which is part of the reason why I love everyone here so much.
People are often afraid to talk about abortion. It becomes a matter of shame and clandestine, quiet conversations whispered in the corner. For a medical procedure that should be routine, like getting a filling at the dentist or getting a vaccination, it sure is politically charged. I wear my abortion on my sleeve (so to speak) because I want other people to know that they don’t need to feel shame about choosing to get an abortion, that they made the right choice for themselves at the time, that it’s okay to talk about abortion.
And this is the kind of site where we don’t like to let things remain clandestine. If you had an abortion, you can rock on with your bad self, whether you braved the dangers of illegal abortion pre-Roe v. Wade or took some mifepristone this morning. And if anyone has a problem with that, that’s their problem, not yours.
So that’s why we’re assembling a user gallery for all you fine folks to talk about your own experiences with abortion. If you’ve had an abortion, we want your photo with a sign to tell us about it, and we want you to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can include some notes about your experience if you feel so inclined. If you want to protect the right to access abortion, we want to hear from you too.
I’m really looking forward to seeing all your contributions, and I know I’m not the only one.
1. Given the dangers of being an abortion provider in the US these days, I’m choosing not to name the medical personnel who treated me or the facilities where I received care. Return