Many woman have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion in an attempt to remove the social stigma from those who have made that choice. I’m not a woman, obviously, but I am a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose and I have been a party to an abortion, with an ex-girlfriend nearly 20 years ago with whom I was in a relationship for many years. So I think I’ll tell my story in solidarity.
When she and I first got serious, she asked me what I would want to do if she got pregnant. She already had one son, who was then about 5 years old. We were having safe sex, but that is not 100% foolproof so we knew there was some risk involved. I told her that I was truly pro-choice, that if she got pregnant I would leave it entirely up to her to decide what to do and would support whatever decision she made. I also told her I would never make her feel bad about it or punish her for it.
Lo and behold, a year or so later she got pregnant. She asked me again what I wanted to do. And I told her again what I’d told her in the first place, that I truly believed it was her choice to make and that I would support any decision she made. If she chose to have the baby, I would be the best father I could possibly be (luckily I had a great role model for that). And if she chose not to, I would support that 100% and never, ever make her feel bad about it (I hate, hate, hate men who try to make women feel guilty in that circumstance with all that “you killed my baby” garbage — if you’ve ever done that, you’re a horrible person).
This was very early in the pregnancy, thankfully, and after a few days of contemplation she decided that she just wasn’t ready to have another child. I supported that decision 100% and we went to Planned Parenthood together, where I had to escort her past a wall of protesters shouting vile things.
She and I broke up a few years later, but have remained friends. She’s brought it up a time or two in the last 15 years or so and does not feel at all guilty about it. Good, she shouldn’t. She believes to this day that it was the right decision for her. And I believe to this day that if it was the right decision for her, it was the right decision, period. Because it was her decision, not mine, to make. My job was to be caring and supportive regardless of what she decided.
I was going to say that I’m proud of how I handled it, but I’m not sure that’s the right word. Should I be proud of doing what I think is the only right thing to do? For me, how I responded and behaved in that situation is the way every man should and it seemed absolutely obvious to me at the time. So given that I think that was the only reasonable choice, I don’t really have any reason to be proud of it. But I am pleased that I did so and I’m glad that she was, and is, as well.