Draw the Line

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New York

Topics: Abortion, Access and Affordability
Area of Life Affected: Family Relationships, Freedom

A Different Path

I had just turned 22 when I found out I was pregnant. I knew I wanted to be a mom, but didn’t know if I was strong enough or financially stable enough to care for a child yet. I was scared, so naturally I called my parents.

“I was forced into something I wasn't ready for.”

My mom told me I was better off having an abortion since I was so young, and my boyfriend and I weren’t financially stable enough to take on the responsibility of parenthood. My father, on the other hand, beamed with love and excitement when I told him. He wanted to be a grandfather and was delighted to hear the news but also understood what becoming a parent meant: sacrifice. I would have to give up my life of spontaneity and lack of responsibility for one of structure and little sleep.

I appreciated my dad’s support, but decided my mom was right and that an abortion was the most logical route. I went to Planned Parenthood and sat for almost two hours just to be seen and confirm my pregnancy. After their test came back positive, they sat with me and went over my options as I bawled in this tiny room. I looked at pamphlets and listened to what they had to say but I was sure I wanted an abortion.

It would take two more appointments and three more weeks before I was allowed one. I spent the time between appointments unable to sleep, eat, or work. I had vivid nightmares that prevented me from sleeping at night and functioning during the day, and all I wanted was to be out of the situation I was in.

It was after my second appointment, my consultation, that I was told I wouldn’t be able to have the procedure for another week and a half because of the mandatory waiting period. I was destroyed. I couldn’t wait anymore. I was terrified of what I’d have to go through because by the time I could have my abortion I would be past the point of being able to just take a pill at home. I would have to have a more invasive procedure to have the pregnancy terminated, and I didn’t want that. My fear of the abortion and the laws set in place that made my experience that much more difficult led me down a very different path from what I’d planned on.

My son is four now. I went through my own personal hell to get to where I am now. It was painstaking but I don’t regret it, and I don’t regret having my son even though I so desperately wanted that abortion and to hang onto what I’d had for a little bit longer.

The only negativity I feel toward what I’d gone through was the fact that I was forced into something I wasn’t ready for. I wasn’t ready for a child but I was even less ready to deal with the stress and anguish of having to wait almost a month for a procedure I was ready and prepared for.

I would never take back being a mom. But I wish it would have been on my terms, not anyone else’s. I draw the line for my son and for my husband. The man that stood by me through it all, and the boy we created and love unconditionally. I draw the line for them because this isn’t about women’s rights but basic human rights to health care. It’s about wanting the child you’re bringing into this world and not feeling obligated to carry out a pregnancy because someone doesn’t think you’re capable of making the right decision for yourself in a split second.

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