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February 22, 2012

My abortion

I read an article about Merle Hoffman, the activist who, at age 25 and two years before Roe v. Wade, opened a Long Island City abortion clinic that is still in operation. She urges us to stop treating abortion like a dirty secret. “I think it’s important to own it,” she said, “one out of three woman before the age of 45!” 

Inspired by my cousin Renee, who wrote about her abortion last September in order to help remove the stigma, I’d like to tell you about mine.

I was in college, I had just gotten home for the summer, I discovered I was pregnant by my boyfriend, I cried in the shower, my mom Shelley heard me, she asked what was wrong, I told her, we went to see my little sister perform in a play, I had a cigarette that night because there was no question I knew what my choice would be (although I did briefly imagine that what if), I told my boyfriend and then my dad and both were completely supportive of my decision, I went to a doctor to confirm the pregnancy test, the nurse treated me like I was a happy new mom-to-be, I ignored that noise, Shelley brought me to a Planned Parenthood, a volunteer ushered us in past we the pushy protestors permanently stationed out front, we waited, we paged through magazines, we tried to read, I studied the young women around me and wondered what their stories were, my name was called, I was scared, a nurse held my hand, it sounded and felt like a very strong vacuum, we went home, I told my little sister I was sick, I rested, I talked to my boyfriend, I felt completely better in a day or two, I went to visit one of my best friends in NYC, I went back to college, I never once, not once, not for even a second, not ever regretted my decision, though a year later I did think to myself, shit, I could have a kid now, like, huh, okay. And that’s it. 

That’s what an abortion is (not always, of course, but more often than not — yes). It’s not agonizing, it’s not shameful, it’s not particularly interesting. The decision to have an abortion is, for many women of my generation and those before mine, among the greatest (and often easiest) they will ever make. It’s something that I’m actually proud of — and I know many of you feel the same. It’s time we started treating it that way.

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