My abortion was neither a trauma nor a fight. At the time, I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where there was an excellent women’s health clinic and a Planned Parenthood that offered confirmation of my pregnancy and the means to terminate it. No crowds stood outside these facilities holding “Baby Killer” signs. I did not walk a gauntlet of so-called pro-life demonstrators yelling at me to change my mind about the procedure.
I realize I don’t need to say why I made this choice, in, well, I can’t remember the exact year; it was sometime in the mid-1970s. I was divorced, had a daughter who was of day-care age, the father was not long-term relationship material and he happened to live across the country when I found out I was pregnant.
As recipient of a monthly “Aid to Dependent Children” check, I was entitled to health care, which paid for the physical exam that clinched my suspicions. Home pregnancy tests were not simple or widely available for another decade or more. The abortion was also free.
When I say “no trauma” I don’t mean it was an easy choice. I only mean that it was obvious and necessary, and I just had to walk through the steps, staying calm and trying not to cry or worry about the future. I knew I was lucky to be able to get a common medical procedure as well counseling about my options (and a serious lecture about birth control methods) with respect for my personhood and with support from my women’s group.
I was raised a Catholic, and, as with the clergy’s position on war, homosexuality and other issues, I disagreed about the clergy’s stance on abortion. Bravo for Pope Francis and his position on Covid-19 vaccination, which shows that he understands the difference between personal choice and selfishness vs. public health. I’m free to punch the air until my fist hits another person’s nose, as one of my favorite nuns used to say.
She couldn’t quite stretch this maxim to a choice about medical privacy that causes other people to get a deadly disease, but at least Francis is hip to the moral obligations of the pandemic. I suppose this also comes back to forbidding masturbation as a “sinful waste of seed,” but we won’t go there. I’m not forcing anyone to get an abortion, nor am I in support of any law that would do such a ridiculous thing. Take note, Facebook page readers.
I missed the march in Santa Rosa on Saturday, because I was laboring in my vegetable beds and forgot about the gathering in Courthouse Square. I read about it in my Sunday paper and was glad 500 of my fellow citizens were there. The laws promulgated by Republican legislatures across this country criminalizing doctors and women who make the abortion choice may not happen here, now, but could be a first step to reversing Roe vs. Wade.
The Supreme Court allowed the Texas law to be enforced by any person from anywhere suing for damages, not just the woman, but even those who help her, including an Uber driver who takes her to an appointment. Basically a $10,000 bounty. What’s next? Shooting doctors? Oh, wait…
Read here about a San Antonio physician, Alan Braid, who publicly revealed he broke the Texas law to test the restriction (abortion is illegal as soon as cardiac activity can be detected, no exception for rape or incest). Listen here to congresswomen of color sharing their abortion stories. I am in solidarity with Barbara Lee (yet again!) Cory Bush and Pramila Jayapal.