Remembering Dr. Tiller: How Abortion Made Me a Better Person

28 May

I had an abortion at 19. I was in college, with a bright future, and I was dating a much older man. Neither of us was ready to have a baby. So we didn’t. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the single most life-changing event of my life.

I grew up in an affluent suburb of Albany, NY. The community was well off. We felt entitled. Our parents worked hard and made decent money. We didn’t get into much trouble, beyond that of smoking a little and an occasional party. We felt superior. Back in high school, it was an easy thing to judge a book by it’s cover. We did it almost automatically. If we saw a pregnant teen, she was clearly promiscuous. If we saw a homeless person, it was their fault.

I was also, ironically I realize now, a practicing Catholic, and thought that sex should be saved for marriage. I’m not sure at what point during my freshman year of college that I changed my mind, but I did. I met an amazing guy. He was 6 years older than me, but I was mature for my age, so we had a lot to talk about. We went out on a date, and I remember it as being this incredible evening. We became a couple, and like many couples do in college, we spent every night sleeping next to each other. At that point, I thought we were going to get married. Anyway, despite the birth control that I was on, I ended up pregnant.

Suddenly I was the person that I had been judging and I knew full well that people were judging me. I hated every second it. I hated realizing that I was a hypocrite. I hated having to become a responsible adult and make the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life. Someone told me that it was my fault. A doctor at my college’s health clinic told me that I couldn’t possibly have been taking my pills correctly, and she thought that I should suffer the consequences. Guess what? Being pregnant is a huge consequence. Having an abortion is a huge consequence. That decision has been with me every single day of my life.

But, instead of making it about me and my pain, I decided that I would never be a hypocrite again. I would help those in need regardless of their situation, without judgment. This is something that being a Catholic should have taught me, but it didn’t. Oh sure, I had done service work when I was younger, but it never mattered so much to me. It took having an abortion to make me see that life isn’t simple. Black and white don’t exist in situations. People struggle to survive each and every day, and who am I to make their lives harder by applying my judgment to them?

Having an abortion made me compassionate. It made me more caring. It made me patient and kind. I gave me motivation to help others in a meaningful way. It will make me a better parent, when I eventually do become one. And, while it’s easy to wish that it had never happened, I wouldn’t trade who I am today for anything.


4 Responses to “Remembering Dr. Tiller: How Abortion Made Me a Better Person”

  1. NYCprochoiceMD May 28, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    “It took having an abortion to make me see that life isn’t simple. Black and white don’t exist in situations. People struggle to survive each and every day, and who am I to make their lives harder by applying my judgment to them?”

    This is key; many want to make abortion a simple matter, and for some it is, while for others it isn’t. Even for those for whom the decision is easy, the circumstances surrounding it can be difficult. The fact that women’s lives are indeed made harder by the anti-abortion rights faction is the saddest aspect of this battle.

  2. placenta sandwich May 29, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    This is a FANTASTIC post! I had a similar upbringing and mentality until college, and although I didn’t get pregnant, becoming sexually active (and eventually having a pregnancy scare) gradually made me realize that we all come by crises honestly, and I couldn’t judge other people and should be working to support them in their crisis times. Anyway, this was so nice to read…I’m going to link to it on our facebook page, if you don’t mind 🙂

  3. author May 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Please do. I’d like as many people to see this as possible.

  4. First-time commenter June 4, 2010 at 3:22 am #

    This was a great post to read. I liked the line

    “Black and white don’t exist in situations.”

    I agree completely. When one is young, and how young depends on the individual, things look black and white. The shades of grey usually come in as people age. Unfortunately, some people never mentally mature, so they continue to see the world in black and white terms.

    I have heard of and seen many young “pro-lifers” who think abortion is “teh ebil” and that we are “killing babies”. I used to get into arguments in middle school with such people. Many years later, now in college, I see the same people changing their minds once becoming sexually active.

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