Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mine to Tell

Ours to Tell is a wonderful project, begun in March of this year.  By inviting women to tell their personal stories about abortion, it seeks to change the false perception that women who choose abortion are callus, misinformed, or any of a thousand other inaccurate adjectives frequently applied.  
I posted this piece to Ours to Tell on March 28.  I must thank my mother - my brave, strong, wise, beautiful mother for allowing me to share her story.

The abortion that changed my life happened in 1972, eight years before I was born.  My mother, a 16-year-old preacher’s kid, found herself pregnant and terrified.  She knew what happened to girls in her community who got “in trouble”.  Her father would force her to marry her boyfriend, another 16-year-old whom she may have loved, but certainly did not want to marry.  She and her boyfriend made the most difficult decision of their lives and pooled their money to obtain an abortion.  My grandfather went to his grave never knowing.
Four years later, when Mom was a college student visiting home for the holidays, she met my dad at a church party.  They were married 92 days later, and will celebrate their 35th anniversary next week.  My brother is 32 and I am 30.  My son, my mother’s only grandchild, is 2.
I’ve spent my life surrounded by those who would rail against abortion by calling it a violation of God’s will.  To those I would say this: Do you believe my parents’ 35 years of marriage is God’s will?  My brother’s existence, or mine or my son’s?  None of this would be, if my mother hadn’t made the decision she did at 16.  If you believe in a god who planned for the three of us to be on this planet, a god who sanctioned my parents’ union, then you cannot believe that the decision my mother made at the age of 16 was a violation of that god’s will. 
Mom is a nurse, and worked in women’s health for most of her career.  She is an amazing wife and mother, an astonishingly successful professional, and a kind and loving person.  She is not a murderer.  Nor is the man with whom she conceived a child all those years ago; He is a good man with a beautiful family.  
I fight for women’s rights because I believe it is the moral thing to do.  I am often asked, “How can you look at your beautiful child and still support abortion?”  The answer is easy for me.  I look at my son, and I am eternally grateful for the abortion that paved his way into my arms. 

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