I was 34. She was 19. We held hands and walked into the abortion clinic for the appointment. I was scared. She was petrified. I stayed with her through the entire procedure. She never let go of my hand. Afterwards, we sat in silence. I carried her to the car. When we arrived at her apartment, she asked me to make a little nest on the sofa with blankets and pillows and tissues and painkillers. I offered to stay. She asked me to leave. A few days later she came back to work. We never spoke about it.
To be transparent, I had nothing to do with this pregnancy. I was not the father. We were not intimate partners. We worked together. I saw the hurried trips to the bathroom and the tell-tale “green at the gills” look of morning sickness. I noticed fear and the obvious and sudden absence of her boyfriend in the parking lot at lunch and after her shift.
Good Girls Have Abortions Too
Her parents raised her to be a “good girl”. To borrow a phrase from Tom Petty, she loved Jesus and America too. Abstinence sermons and a healthy fear of Hell substituted for real education and frank conversations about sex and birth control and consequences. She couldn’t tell her parents she was pregnant and telling them she wanted an abortion was completely out of the question.
Her boyfriend was as unprepared for their pregnancy as she was. The words “are you sure it’s mine? ” tumbled out of his mouth without thought for what he was suggesting. And in the next few moments, shocked, confused, and too concerned with his own future, he did what so many other men do. He abdicated his responsibility. He just didn’t want to know. He said “Do whatever you think is best”.
You Are Pro-Choice by default
In that moment, and in so many words, he said “it’s your choice”. She confided in me that she knew he wouldn’t marry her. There was no way he’d go to her parent’s house with the news. In a swirl of confusion and clarity she knew that he was still planning on attending college out of state. There would be no couple’s childbirth classes or accompanied doctor visits. No support. It was completely up to her. Her choice.
And so she made her choice.
Time To Stand Up And Beside Women
Gents, let me be frank with you. If you’re a cis-gender dude you won’t ever have to make the choice she made. You might be consulted. Maybe asked for your opinion. But when it comes to getting on the bed and putting legs in stirrups, that won’t be you.
If you sleep with women or other folk that can become pregnant, unless you’ve had a vasectomy or know 100% that you’re shooting blanks, you always run the risk of getting someone pregnant. No matter how willing you are to be a stand up guy, you always have the choice to walk away. Sure there’s a cost to your choice, child support is no joke. Imagine how you’d feel if your choice to call it quits, walk away, and just pay a monthly fee was suddenly taken away and you were forced to stay with someone you’d just made a mistake with. That would suck, wouldn’t it.
Imagine what it’s like not to have a choice.
Speak up gents. You might not realise it but this is your fight too. Join the chorus of mostly women’s voices. Declare it loudly. You will protect a woman’s right to safe, legal, accessible, affordable abortion and safe, legal, accessible, affordable forms of birth control.
I am pro choice.
I am pro legal abortion.
I am pro education.
This is my fight too.