Las week when the call went out to send more abortion stories to fuel Wendy Davis’ filibuster, I thought that since I never had an abortion, I didn’t have a story. But I do.
Freshman year at MIT and the condom broke. The morning after pill did not yet exist. When the pregnancy test came back positive, I consulted with my mentor and my doctor. They didn’t judge me. They weren’t even phased. My devastation was treated as par for the (college) course. No big deal. Have an abortion, duh. That’s what college women do. The baby’s biological father, another MIT student, emphatically agreed. So emphatically, he would have put a gun to my head to make me have an abortion if he could have. So emphatically, he threatened to abduct the baby after birth and send it to be raised by his mother outside the country.
Young and naïve as I was, I convinced myself that I could appeal to the church to allow an abortion in this one instance. (Pause for laughter.) Hispanic teen moms were abundant and embarrassing. I was a rarity – a promising, proud, double-minority at the world’s top engineering school. I was always in the top academic percent. I did not belong in the common teen mom column.
Too embarrassed to consult with the priest on MIT’s campus, I walked the long mile to Harvard’s Catholic Church and spilled my guts. Again with the “no big deal” bit. The priest listened with great compassion but little affect. And then…I didn’t ask my religion’s permission. The priest’s ear, his presence, his tranquility calmed my terrified heart. In an instant, I grew the fierce and fearless fortitude necessary to defend my baby, defend my life, defend my choice. I made up my own mind, in that very moment, to have the baby. In an instant, I fell boundlessly in love with my child.
With my newfound strength and bravery, I defied the bullies that were my boyfriend and mentor and doctor, and I CHOSE life.
I CHOSE. I CHOSE. I CHOSE. I CHOSE.
I moved back home to face my family and my community. MY CHOICE meant that I had to hold my head up high when my parents cried, my friends gossiped, and my doctor shook her head in seeming disgust and disappointment. MY CHOICE meant I had to hold my head up high at the welfare office. MY CHOICE meant I had to take full responsibility for my life and the well-being of my child. MY CHOICE meant taking accountability for my nutrition and emotional well-being to ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth. MY CHOICE empowered me to be the mother I am today. I can’t imagine the devastating emotional and psychic consequences of a forced pregnancy as much as I can’t imagine a forced abortion or forced adoption.
You who would defy my right to choose are no better than the people who tried to force me to have an abortion. I DEFIED THEM. I DEFY YOU.
I DEFEND my right to choose life or abortion because MOTHERS must go CONSCIOUSLY AND OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL into the decision to nurture and raise a human life. Their effectiveness as a loving, protective mother DEPENDS ON IT. And unwilling WOMEN ARE NOT INCUBATORS for adoptive parents.
BEWARE Right-to-Lifers. At present, the GOP’s observation of the 6th Commandment is selective and hypocritical; consider the death penalty! Granting the government dominion over women’s bodies can not be selective. If the government can FORCE you to incubate a baby, they can also FORCE you to abort a baby. Pro-Life legislation equates to INVOLUNTARILY INCUBATION. Does the government then get to legislate your prenatal nutrition and medical treatment? It is said that it takes great love to put a child up for adoption. What if an unfit mother doesn’t choose adoption? What of them? Shall we take away that choice too!?