I was born in 1974, post Roe vs. Wade. My (then) 16 year old mother had choices but with limitations. Limited by her lack of foresight. Roman Catholic families are more inclined to advocate adoption than they are abortion. Homes for un-wed mothers were common and that’s where my own would be sent for the duration of her pregnancy. I was going to be adopted until a nurse at the facility advised her that she couldn’t be forced to give up her baby. That a baby, is leverage. Especially to a teen seeking liberation from her parents.
Adoption was then off the table but a teenager wouldn’t just be allowed to do as she pleases. At least, not without convincing a judge she was capable. After I was born I was placed with my God-Mother for a period of about a year. During that time the judge expected both parents to have jobs, a place to live and demonstrate adult responsibility. Marriage was thought to be a bargaining chip, so that’s what they did: Instant nuclear family. It was far from ideal. In fact, it was a decision that ruined their lives and nearly ruined mine.
For all the shit I had to endure as a child, for as many times as I was told I should have been an abortion; I agreed. I would have been much better off dead. Adoption doesn’t come with guarantees either. I’d go on to attain my own liberation but without bargaining with my egg-basket. If the sins of my parents taught me anything it was not to do as they did. Even if I was often told to do as they said. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make some of my own mistakes.
When I was 20 I was ignorant to the effects of antibiotics on my birth control. Having been on it so long, conception was the furthest thing on my mind. When I became pregnant, I knew immediately, the pregnancy test just confirmed it. The body tells you things, shows you signs, and instincts that lay dormant become visceral. I never wanted children up to that point. I had contemplated abortion for a time but I wouldn’t exactly call it a crisis. I ultimately decided to have my son. I had choices. I also knew that I wouldn’t want any more children. I made damn sure of it too. In 22 years there were no accidents, a lack of perspective, or insight. It’s actually not that difficult to not become pregnant. It also doesn’t require medical insurance. Over the years I’ve been both insured and uninsured. Paying out of pocket for contraception isn’t even that expensive. It’s just being responsible (at any age). Post the Affordable Care Act, women don’t even have to complain about the cost-factor playing a role in their decision in most cases. Women today still have choices.
After 30 you start to think about the long-term health effects of contraception and informed decisions need to be made for the long term. At 35 you know you need to do something, especially if you enjoy smoking as much as I do. Hormonal treatments carry risks and with age that risk increases. At 42, I opted for sterilization which does come with a set of its own. While Erin Brochovich has taken up the torch to ensure women are informed, I conducted my own research for about a year before ultimately deciding on trans-cervical sterilization. As for doctors NOT informing patients of risk, can’t say that has been my experience. When I met with my gynecologist to discuss options months ago, we discussed the studies available to date in depth. There’s also a series of forms to sign to acknowledge them. Statistically speaking, there’s bound to be patients that suffer particular side-effects. This was also the case with my rather lengthy history with various types of contraception (pill, depo-provera, Nuva-Ring, etc.) Everything from weight-gain to acne. A friend of mine dropped unconscious at work, was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, to find the cause (and the culprit) was blood-clots; a side effect of her birth-control. There’s always risks associated when one intervenes with Nature.
The uproar over recent updates to Abortion Law presents itself as limiting if not removing a woman’s choice all together. Many of these claims are over-exaggerated and reactionary. When HR7 hit the floor, women went ballistic. Me? I think it’s ridiculous to expect tax payers to foot the bill to terminate a pregnancy that wasn’t resultant from incest or rape. Putting aside tax theft, why do people feel so entitled to be excused from personal responsibility?
As a woman I’m told I should be fighting for Abortion Rights. That since 2013 there’s been over 70 abortion restrictions put into practice with even more in the future. Some states are even trying to make it a form of murder (North Dakota) and as a woman I should take this up as my cause. What the hell for? I’m not a potential customer. Abortion has never been an issue for me in the past so why should it be now?
I had choices. I chose to be a Mother. I don’t want any more kids so I chose to sterilize.