Draw the Line

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Jennifer

California

Topics: Abortion
Area of Life Affected: Family Relationships, Other Children

One of the Most Difficult Jobs

In 1980, I was 26 years old and living with the man who is now my husband of 33 years. Even though we practiced birth control religiously, I became pregnant.

“While I've always been pro-choice, I became even more so after I had my daughter.”

I wasn’t sure what to do at first. Several of my friends had recently had babies and I contemplated that. But I also knew that my then boyfriend was not ready to be a husband, let alone a father. Adoption was out of the question. Even at 26, I knew that if I carried a pregnancy to term, that I would keep it. I did ask him what his opinion was about the situation and he wouldn’t really answer me. He wanted this to be my decision.

I felt that even though a part of me wanted kids then, the more rational part knew this would be a bad idea. So I had an abortion. I was, and still am, somewhat squeamish about physical pain, so I elected to have the abortion done under general anesthesia.

My boyfriend drove me both ways and waited for me. He was very supportive.

I was also fortunate to live in California. While there are pockets of very conservative areas, most of the state is progressive.

We now have been married for 33 years, have 1 daughter and 2 grandchildren. As I look back on that experience, I know I made the right decision for me.

My husband and I have spoken about that experience within the last year. We agreed that neither of us regrets the decision to have an abortion, and given the same set of circumstances, I would do the same thing. My husband had a vasectomy when our daughter was about 7. If I had become pregnant, despite the vasectomy, we would have discussed it and come to a decision.

To my way of thinking, no one has the right to prevent abortions or make them next to impossible to get. Three people in my family had abortions before 1973 and we didn’t live in California at the time. I do know one of the women went to Mexico to have her abortion. I’m not sure about the other two. I do know that making abortion illegal doesn’t stop them. It simply makes it more likely that a woman will have an unsafe abortion.

What is interesting to me is that while I’ve always been pro-choice, I became even more so after I had my daughter. Being a parent is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. And just like I don’t want an airline pilot or a surgeon who doesn’t want the job, so too, I don’t want to see a person becoming a parent and not wanting to be one.

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