In 1977, when I was 25, I was spending a lot of time with the guy I was dating, and another couple who happened to be J's best friend and his girlfriend. We had wonderful, carefree fun: weekend scavenger hunts in J's convertible through the back roads and countryside of southern Connecticut, evenings out with dinner and movies and board games-it was really a magical time in my youth. I had a job that required nothing mentally or emotionally, selling flowers in a lovely shop with terrific co-workers and a great boss. My friends were similarly situated, and we remarked more than once on how we had "the life." Not a care in the world...until...
S became pregnant. She was 24, as was her boyfriend. They made minimum wage. They were not committed to each other long-term, and this news shattered the bubble of their lives. She was baffled and horrified, repeating to me several times that they were using birth control and could not understand any of this. They had no money, no means of supporting a baby. Their parents were not in a position to help. They grappled long and hard with the choice, and made their decision. In a late-night phone call, conducted in hushed tones, we made a plan. She would go across the border in to New York State, and have an abortion. Her boyfriend would take her on a Monday, and since Tuesday was my day off, I would stay with her all day to make sure she was ok. And so we did. And so she was. And after a while, the sea of youth that had parted momentarily to allow for her very adult grief, began to rush back together and we carried on with our lives...until...about 7 months later, when I realized I had not gotten my period on time. I was on the pill. I was never "late." I waited, a day...two days...three days. I didn't know about home pregnancy tests, so I called my doctor. But before I did, I called S. We made the identical plan for me that we had made and carried out for her.
As luck would have it, there was another reason that I missed my period-a reason that was resolved with medication. But I am here today to testify that if I had been pregnant in August of 1977, with my minimum wage flower shop job and a boyfriend who would have made a terrible father (and who "grew up" to be a terrible father with another partner) I totally would have had the abortion, difficult as it would have been, and I would not have looked back.
As I adopted my first child when I was 36, I looked deep into her eyes and knew, all over again, that the decision I had made 11 years before would have been as right for me and a baby then, as the one I was making in 1988 was for me and my daughter.
We are long past fighting to be "pro-choice" in my opinion. We need to keep abortion safe and legal.