Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My Choice

Lately I have become very aware of the fight for continued abortion rights. It's been in the news and some of my recent follows on Twitter are quite vocal in their support for the right to choose. It has made me examine quite closely my own experience and views on the subject.
When I fell pregnant unexpectedly *cough* years ago I knew that I couldn't go through with the pregnancy and so, along with the support of my partner, decided to terminate. I won't bore you with the reasons as then I would feel like I am justifying our decision and I don't need to do that.
I saw the locum at my GP's and was treated like something he had just scraped off of the bottom of his shoe. We went to a clinic but were treated like a number, a statistic, and this left me feeling awful. Luckily, at the time, I just about qualified to be seen by the Brooke Clinic where we were seen as two human beings who were making a tough choice and needed support throughout.
The appointment was made. I went in pregnant. My partner stayed in the car, fighting back tears. Tears for me and what I had to go through. Tears for the situation and the choice we felt we had to make. When I came out I wasn't pregnant anymore.
What came after is hard to explain. There were feelings of guilt but why should I feel guilty? There were feelings of loss and grief but it was my choice so why was I so sad? Why was I so angry? And who was I angry at? I worked my way through them with the help of an amazing partner and supportive and open family and friends.
I went on to marry that man and have two wonderful kids with him. My mind wanders back to that period of our life sometimes but I never think "What if..." or have ever regretted the decision we made. If anything, having two children has bought home the sheer commitment and duty involved in having children and it's so apparent I, we, weren't ready.
Today I got involved in a debate on Twitter with an anti-choicer. It was all civil and well mannered and we discussed our respective sides articulately and lucidly. And then she compared abortion to the Holocaust. Well, that put my back well and truly up. I asked her where I stand in this comparison. If abortion was like the Holocaust then who am I? Am I Hitler? Am I a concentration camp guard? Where does the woman who terminates a pregnancy feature in this side-by-side view of abortion and a humanitarian horror? I received no answer to my question.
Funnily enough there was support for me in the debate from another woman opposed to abortion. At least it shows that even in this emotive issue of abortion and abortion rights we can agree on some things.
The 'abortion = Nazi' lady also said that abortion doesn't only affect the woman. Agreed. She said that many post-abortion women have feelings of guilt and regret. Agreed. She said that women must be protected. Agreed. Where in this argument does this equate withdrawing the right of the woman to choose?
My experience was an extremely tough thing to have to go through and one that I would implore women (and men) to avoid. Is abortion a good thing? Generally, no. Is it a fair thing? Not really.

But we must, we simply must, retain that choice. I made it. And I'm glad it was mine to make.

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