Monday, 26 July 2010

Guest post: An abortion story

Thanks very much to the anonymous reader who has sent in the story of a friend. Another perspective to the abortion discussion. To me stories of this nature just underline how important it is that no woman is forced to continue or terminate their pregnancy against their wishes. Please comment with respect, in the spirit that this has been shared.

In 1985, as a 15 year old, this person became pregnant as a result of what she now knows as date rape. It was her 2nd encounter with a male, but this was with a male a couple of years older than her and he frightened her. She thought what she was experiencing was how it was done with adults.

She confided in a friend that she was pregnant, this friend told several people at school. She has told less than 5 people about this. She is a pro-lifer and wanted to keep the baby. The male was never to be seen again. Her mother knew, her father did not - this was for her own safety. She had no choice but to abort. She protested bitterly, but the GP and mother made the decision to refer to the day clinic and despite her signing the consent form she was not in control of her body. Her mother brought her flowers that day, and they have never spoken of it since.

She decided she would spend her life dedicated to children, and she has spent her entire adult life working with children, in a way, trying to make good with the world, and has had a very successful career in early childhood teaching. She worries that one day her secret would be revealed, and all of her hard work would become trivial in the minds of those whose opinion she values.

She is married, very happily, with several children whom she absolutely lives for. Her husband does not know of her abortion, she knows he will love her no less, but she can’t bring herself to admit it. She often wonders how life could have turned out had she had this baby, who would be a young adult now. Her argument for pro choice, is that it has to be a real choice. Her pain is that she didn’t know what date rape meant at the time, and she believes she is not the only person affected by this man. This event changed her forever, mostly she feels great, and life is good, but often she feels guilt and shame, not only about her own naivety, but that she ended a life without a choice. From the outside, you would never know this about her. She has no tolerance for those that don’t pull up their boot straps and march on in the face of adversity and believes that we make our own destiny, that the events in our lives happen, and some of them are truly dreadful, but that life goes on and we must support and honour those that share their time with us.


Anonymous said...

Tell her to tell her husband and not leave anything in the way of their intimacy.
Right now by not sharing she is not trusting him.
It is sad that she has worked her entire life based on this as it undermines it's value.
Rather get it out in the open with her man and then he can satnd with her for her to talk it through with her mum as I am sure there is a reserve there too.

Julie said...

Mikenz, while I appreciate you may have good intentions, the point of this post is not to seek advice but to tell a story. Whoever this woman is I'm sure she has thought through the issue of telling her husband, and probably reviews it on a regular basis. It's up to her how she handles that.

Why do you think women feel that they can't tell their partners about this stuff? Because of the societal stigma around abortion. It's actually a lot more common than some might think - I think the abortion rates from the 2009 figures extrapolate out to 25% of women having at least one abortion in their lifetime. That's 1 in 4. I've been guilty of thinking that it's rare myself, and blundering.

McFlock said...

"I think the abortion rates from the 2009 figures extrapolate out to 25% of women having at least one abortion in their lifetime. "

Golly, I think you're right, or at least in the right ballpark (did a quick estimate based on crude census 2006 counts females 15-50, then used 18,000 as a denominator. That actually gave a slightly higher rate - 35 odd percent - but that assumes every woman has only one abortion and the census estimates are often 10-15% higher than the actual count).

I must confess I'd never really thought about the issue like that before.

Tui said...

anonymous, I'm sorry, couldn't read your post because I was too busy loling at the idea of a comment songfic.

Julie said...

A reminder, I have asked people nicely to comment with respect on this thread, and I've already deleted one comment which didn't do that. (So sorry Tui, your comment doesn't make much sense now!)

A Nonny Moose said...

Thank you so much to the person who shared their story.

This is choice too. A choice without options is no choice at all.

Muerk said...

This is so sad. Thank you for sharing this intimate story about this woman's experiences. My heart goes out to her.


The Silent Majority said...

Yes, the saddest part of this story for me is that she was not able to exercise the freedom, choice and personal responsibilty that is her right. Those things that we should have in all aspects of our lives and sadly are being removed, bit by bit. I empathise with the writer.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, the saddest part of this story for me is that she was not able to exercise the freedom, choice and personal responsibility that is her right."

I think it's important to note she was 15 - a minor. She was not an adult woman. I think there needs to be a conversation about how adults make choices for their children. How does a 15 year old have informed consent? (I'm not saying they can't, just asking how.)

I don't think anyone should be forced to have an abortion, minor or not. But I think her mother and her GP thought they were doing the best thing for her by making this decision.


Anonymous said...

Yep I agree with Meurk. Her mother was only trying to do what was best for her by the sounds of it. A very sad story.

Anonymous said...

I think sometimes there is such a focus on revisiting and addressing the past and some are judged for not doing this. This (perhaps percieved) threat of judgement may be why more stories aren't told. People survive life changing experiences the best way they can. As the statistics reflect, there are a significant number of women who have terminated pregnancies, many of whom would never disclose this.

Anonymous said...

If I had a 15yr old daughter who was pregnant I would hope that she would have an abortion because I believe that having a child at that age has a significant impact on your ability to achieve what you want out of life.

However in this case I don't believe that it was the right thing to do because it was against her choice. Choice means just that, CHOICE. Nobody has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body no matter what her age.

I find somebody pressuring a woman into having an abortion against her will as horrendous as someone pressuring a woman to continue her pregnancy against her will.

My heart goes out to her.