I Had A Choice, And I'm Grateful For It

by Kate Donnelly
Originally Published: 

I’m Kate, and I had an abortion.

I had a choice.

A choice that is once again threatened. It is this threat that has lead me to share my story.

Ten weeks into my planned pregnancy, an ultrasound showed that our baby had significant issues in utero. By 12 weeks, we were officially given a very poor prognosis. It was a heartbreaking and stressful time. There was no possible resolution for our story where we ended up with a healthy baby. Deciding to abort was a very sad, complicated, and weighty choice. It was made much more so due to the stigma attached to abortion and the fear I had regarding other’s judgment towards me.

I have not publicly discussed my choice for a number of reasons. Ultimately, I didn’t want to face the judgment and possible negativity I could receive for what was a very difficult and personal decision. A decision that was no one else’s business anyways.

Suddenly I find myself thinking maybe it should be your business. Maybe it is my job to talk about my choice. Maybe if you can put a face of someone you know to the issue, it will help make it more personal for you as well. Because I can promise you, whether you realize it or not, it is a personal issue for you already.

One in every four women have an abortion by age 45. You likely know friends, family, and loved ones who have had or will have an abortion. Women who may have chosen not to share their abortion story due to the stigma attached and the emotions involved. By keeping silent, we do not risk the judgment of others, but we do risk allowing others to remain ignorant of just how many people access this important procedure.

I did not think I closely knew anyone who had an abortion. As I started sharing my story, friends and family started opening up to me with stories of their own. It was a relief to hear I was not alone in my decision and that women I know, respect, and love have made a similar choice.

An open and honest conversation around what abortion means to those who consider themselves against abortion access and what it means to the one-in-four women like me is critical at this time. Because abortion is such a sensitive, personal, and emotionally loaded topic, it is difficult to have a conversation around the opposing views.

It is difficult, but necessary.

I hope we can be brave and mature enough to have open and honest conversations so that people on both sides fully realize the weight and outcomes of the beliefs they hold and the power of the votes they cast. It isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be. We are talking about lives of people. Not only the lives of the unborn children, but also the lives of hundreds of thousands of girls and women each year who find themselves pregnant and for whatever their personal reasoning, decide to abort. That’s hundreds of thousands of people who will be forced into parenthood against their will.

There will always be situations where someone feels the need for a safe and legal option for ending a pregnancy and they should be allowed that choice, regardless of anyone’s personal feelings on the matter.

I’m Kate. I place a strong value on life, but don’t think that it is my place or the government’s to make a decision about a pregnancy for another woman. Let’s talk.

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