No offence to Pamela, but we wish her story wasn’t as important as it is. We’d love to live in a world where unapologetic accounts of abortion were as prevalent as, well, abortion rates. But as Pamela’s story points out, pervasive stigma still has the power to silence, shame, and allow women’s rights be attacked every day. (Shoutout to the U.S. for their recent regressive bullshit, four decades after Roe v. Wade). Until we’re all living in a Woolf Woolf utopia, we’re proud to smash the silence with personal, powerful, and sassy narratives like Pamela’s.
We also want to acknowledge that abortion and contraceptive rights are important to people all across the gender spectrum. Though they are an essential part of the feminist fight for many women, they are also important to trans* and otherwise-gendered people with the capacity to be pregnant. Here’s to less regressive bullshit for everyone.
PAMELA: When I tell people I had an abortion, there’s a seemingly inevitable silence, and quizzical stares as if to ask me to explain.
This is where I give a long-winded account of being sixteen, and recite the terrible tales of my cheating boyfriend. With practically a sigh of relief, my conversation partner gives the customary “Oh yeah, then it was a good idea”.
But you know what’s an even better idea? Not pressuring a woman to explain herself for exercising something that should be a basic right. I had an abortion, oh-fucking-well.
I simply wasn’t ready to be a mom. No excuses, no apologies. It wasn’t a light-hearted choice on my part, but I was fully aware of what I was doing and the consequences I could face.
Like how my jilted ex-boyfriend took no time in branding me a “baby killer”.
I mean c’mon… even the Westboro Baptist Church can come up with better slurs than that, and they’re all senseless pricks. (I’m from Kansas, I know).
Nevertheless, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and you can’t teach a womanizer about women’s rights.
Even my own mother judges me for the decision. A zealous Christian with eleven children, she reassures me that she prays adamantly for my salvation after committing such an “atrocity”.
Sometimes I get asked if I have any regrets regarding my decision. Not a single one, I say. Not since I decided to quit plucking my brows have I felt more strongly that I did the right thing for myself. I’m for autonomy in all things: brow maintenance, my uterus, etc.
Some may think I detest children or something, but quite the contrary. I adore them! I am lucky to know many people who have chosen to have kids, and they have had many rewarding experiences.
It is such a beautiful moment to look into a child’s eyes, knowing they just pooped their pants — and call for their mother.
I might become a mother one day. Or not. However, that decision will be my business, made on my own terms. I refuse to take life planning advice from a seventy-year-old male Republican with an unhealthy interest in traditional gender roles.
I live in hope that there will come a time, not too far from now, when we will remember restrictions to abortion and contraceptives as a quirk of history — as ludicrous as remembering women were once arrested for too-short swimsuit briefs.
People terminating a pregnancy need support not stigma. We need to do a better job on everything from the bullshit laws to the silence and quizzical stares.
I don’t apologize for my abortion. And I wish everyone with a uterus the same freedom from shame.