I Terminated My Second Pregnancy 29 Years Ago While Still Married — And It Was The Best Decision I’ve Ever Made
I knew I had to go through with it. My marriage was ending. I was already the mother and soon-to-be single parent of a young child and had a burgeoning media career I worked hard to achieve. I didn’t want to give that up. Then came the nights weighing the alternatives. There were none. Therefore, deciding to terminate my second pregnancy was not a matter of “if” but “when.”
Having an abortion is not an easy decision. It’s not one most women and gestating people take on a whim. It’s gut-wrenching. Trust me.
Many things came into play: religion, family, guilt, and shame. The boogeyman in the room is the dreaded “qué dirán” — what will they say?
If you are Latina, you know what I mean
Thankfully, I had been taught an important life lesson by my great-aunt Margot. She had the guts to have an abortion in Puerto Rico in the 1950s, where abortion was legal but taboo. Boricua women that had abortions were shunned and branded as bad people.
Margot decided to terminate her pregnancy because she didn’t want another child with her husband; she already had a daughter with him.
Hers was an arranged marriage, and, how should I put this, Margot didn’t entirely take to him. She hated him. But that is another story for another day.
So she made a profoundly personal decision — to end her second pregnancy. She did so in secret and told no one but me.
I can still see the expression on her face as she unpacked her truth. It was a mixture of sadness and relief. And, even though I was a young girl, I understood what she meant and, more importantly, why she did it.
As fate would have it, I ended my second pregnancy for a reason not dissimilar to Margot’s. But I didn’t have to hide. On the contrary, I could easily sidestep the taboo and shame because I had access to a doctor and a clinic that helped me through it.
To this day, I have never regretted my decision
Having an abortion changed the course of my life, but today, it’s not so easy for many women and gestating people.
Since Roe was overturned, 13 states automatically banned abortions after they enacted trigger laws.
And in the most dangerous move against reproductive rights since the collapse of Roe, a Texas judge recently stayedthe FDA approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, setting in motion an arduous legal battle.
To add insult to injury, these lawmakers are trying to restrict traveling out of state to end a pregnancy, labeling it “abortion trafficking.”
This criminalization of reproductive rights impacts all women — independent of age — and will only succeed in driving poor women, women of color, and working-class women back into the shadows of illegal abortions, where many will die.
Rich, predominantly white women will always find a way to get an abortion
The anti-abortion groups are well-organized and have been in this fight for a long time — and they are not giving up. Instead, the attacks have become more brazen.
This is where we are now.
The Supreme Court temporarily extended women’s access to the abortion pill mifepristone until Friday. The justices must now consider whether to allow restrictions on mifepristone as a legal challenge to the drug’s Food and Drug Administration approval drags through the courts.
The court’s decision comes after a Texas judge attempted to roll back FDA approval of mifepristone — the most common method of abortion in the US, potentially upending medical abortions nationwide — and setting an example for anti-abortion groups in other countries.
The FDA first approved the drug in 2000, and it has been readily available, even delivered by mail in states that allow access.
Mifepristone is a highly effective drug used safely by millions of patients for medication abortions and to assist in miscarriages.
It has been two decades since this drug has helped women. So to put its approval into question — by a lower court — is madness.
If it feels like the circle is tightening, it is
What is at risk is facts, science, and the health of women and gestating individuals in the US and other countries that will surely follow suit and impose these draconian measures.
The most salient fact of all: maternal deaths will increase.
And what angers me is that our daughters, my daughter, will now have fewer reproductive rights than my mother, Margot, or I.
We are being shoved into a dark room by faceless judges in black robes who want nothing more than to slam the metal doors shut.
We can’t let it happen. Our right to control our bodies and decide our healthcare is a human right. The US needs to stop acting like a theocracy.
In The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, Aunt Lydia (the evilest of characters) says what would be the nightmare scenario — that we just accept it.
“Ordinary,” Aunt Lydia says. “It’s what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time, it will. After that, it will become ordinary.”
Curtailing reproductive rights for women and gestating people is not ordinary. It’s criminal.