In a recent New York Times article written by Katha Pollitt, she asks those of us who want to keep our rights to have an abortion to speak out. Well, I am a woman who has had two abortions - HEAR ME ROAR!
After the most recent Republican debate, many of us women fell in love with Carly Fiorina - that is, until we heard her pejorative (and largely false) comments about abortion and Planned Parenthood. In fact, that single political stance has been reported to be preventing her from possibly winning the presidency.
While men still get dragged to the altar - fearful that their lives will be changed irrevocably by the commitment and responsibility - they haven't seen anything until they have a child.
As we all know, you can divorce your spouse - but once you've brought a child into this world, you are responsible for the safety, health, education, and well being of that person for at least the next eighteen years. Not to mention the financial obligation. Talk about loss of freedom.
I want to be clear that I am talking about early (before 12 weeks) abortions. Given that we women usually know early on when we are pregnant, there is no reason for a late term abortion, and a reputable doctor will not perform one later than twelve weeks of pregnancy.
Having an abortion is not a casual decision for most of us. It is often a painful and heart-wrenching choice that is personal, complicated, and can be shrouded with doubt. "What if?" scenarios may run rampant in our hormonally foggy brains, and yet, I, and, fortunately, everyone I know who has made that decision, have never regretted it. Several of my closest friends who also had abortions went on to become wonderfully responsible mothers - when the time was right. I am also blessed and proud to be the mother of three children.
Ironically, I attended a Pro-Choice rally in New York City with my mother the day following my second abortion. And let me tell you, those angry Pro-Lifers really got in our faces as we marched down Madison Avenue. Many fights erupted and it was quite heated.
But I knew I had made the right decision. And it was mine to make. I was fortunate to be able to terminate pregnancies before I was truly ready to become a mother.
In the first scenario, my then boyfriend and I were at the peaks of our acting careers, and I was too young and emotionally unprepared to bring a child into the world. The second time, a few years later, I found myself pregnant while volunteering at an orphanage in Romania. Again, I knew that I could not go forward with the pregnancy. I knew what an enormous responsibility it would be and the timing was simply not right. (Life is all about timing, isn't it?) Also, being the product of teenage parents who were far too immature and dysfunctional to be parents, I spent decades trying to properly parent myself. I vowed to never have children unless I was truly ready.
Years later, when I immediately got pregnant by a guy I was crazy about, it was a total blessing. We had only just met weeks before, but we both knew that it was right. We were both ready. That was seventeen years and three children ago.
Being a mother is the most important role I've ever played (I've been a professional actress since my teens), but if I hadn't had children, I still wouldn't look back on those abortions with regret. Having a child is a life altering decision that should not be taken lightly, and it is our God-given right to make that decision.
Why is it that the right wing conservatives who are vehemently opposed to abortion call a fetus in the womb "sacred", and yet they do nothing to ensure a good early start by helping legislate health care and paid maternity leave for new mothers (for example, as the Swedes do) and parental education for first time parents?
And why is it that all those same conservatives who are trying to cause the demise of Planned Parenthood do nothing to protect the lives of children by calling for gun control in our country - but rather are focused on protecting fetuses??
Like Katha Pollitt, I encourage women to share their stories of the complex choices they've made -- whether it was to terminate a pregnancy or proceed with having a child - so that perhaps those who judge us may see the humanity in our decisions and come to understand that it is our right to choose that is truly sacred.