I will not tell you about my abortion because it is none of your business. But I will tell you that the baby was wanted. I will tell you that the decision to abort in the late stage was made by me, with my husband, and with the advice of my doctor who discovered the circumstance that made my path clear. I will also tell you that because my doctor was at a hospital that was funded by a university the abortion could not take place there. That my doctor who had guided me through an already high risk pregnancy would not be there to support me. That I was sent to a clinic that did not have a posted address or identifying signage because of the very real risk of violence.
That my husband and I sat in the waiting area in silence with three other young couples who wished to be parents who were heartbroken and weary. That I was required to drive forty-five minutes in each direction for three days while my cervix was dilated to prepare for the abortion. That when the procedure was completed, and I was able to return home, my mother in-law, a Catholic, greeted me and held me saying that she was grateful for my bravery. That our rabbi supported us and that the remains of the baby were buried.
I am a writer of fiction and skilled in finding the heart of the matter. I considered then that I might someday testify about the details not shared here.
But I remembered that speaking to a panel of men, as Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford did, might require that I appear either resolute or fragile as women are expected to when conveying important information. And although my story is filled with such details that might evoke sympathy or shock or might remind the men on the panel of their daughters or wives. I was not willing to display my heartache in an attempt to move them or change their minds.
That it was a betrayal of the truth to make use of these emotions to get through to them. Because my personal story should not matter. The fact of my decision is all that should matter. I am an adult. I am a citizen. I was by definition qualified to be a mother. And if I am equal in this country my decision should be enough. There are a dozen reasons why a woman may choose to abort. No woman should be required to share her story in order to convince those who imagine they are owed an explanation.
The explanation is that this was my private and personal decision to end a pregnancy. If I am a full citizen of this country, my right to choose is mine.
Many of us have lost sleep over the direction our country has taken. I think moment to moment of women and girls who will risk losing access to a safe legal protected abortion. I offer my story here with the understanding that we must prepare to take care of each other.
Even while it was legal, abortion has too often been treated as everything but health care. Going forward, we need to remain lucid. We deserve, in all areas, the respect and equality to make the decision to end a pregnancy without the interference of the state. We deserve safe, legal abortion in cases of being a person with a uterus. It is nobody’s business but our own.
Racelle Rosett was awarded the WGA award for drama for her episode of thirtysomething. Rosett wrote the pioneering episode “Blossom Blossoms” on the subject of Blossom’s first period, and the award winning episodic storyline for TV101 advancing the subject of abortion rights. Her short story “The Unveiling” won the 2011 Lilith Fiction Prize.
Photo credit: Fibonacciblue on Wikimedia commons