Speaker's Age: 28
Story Told In: 2009
420

I had an abortion when I was 14. It was the best thing I could possibly have done, and I still don't regret it to this day. At the time, I was dating a much older man, and I was experimenting with sex-- it was just the greatest thing EVER, in my 14-year-old opinion. I was on the pill, but I think that I just got careless-- kids are like that. I didn't realize I was pregnant; in early September I broke out in a terrible eczema rash on my legs, so my Mom drove me to a clinic to get it checked out.

The doctor immediately had me pee in a cup.

"Sometimes," he said, "the body reacts that way to pregnancy, early on." He paused. "Is there anything you want to know?" he said. "Do you have any... plans?"

"Well, yes. I'm going to have an abortion!"

He looked immensely relieved. "Ok. Good. You're under 15, so you need to see this youth worker first. She'll schedule it for you." I found out later that she was actually a counselling social worker. The legislation in our province required her to make sure there'd been no abuse or rape. It was also her job to assess whether or not the youth understood the emotional ramifications of consenting to an abortion at such a young age.

I told the father that night that I was pregnant-- he was extremely good about it. "Ok." (pause) "What would you like to do?" He, too, was obviously relieved that I so emphatically wanted to have an abortion, but he was a women's libber, so wasn't going to pressure me into anything one way or another. It was nice to know, though, and in hindsight probably made the decision much easier. His calm reaction was also amazing considering that the stakes were actually much higher for him than an unwanted baby. Since he was over 19, he could easily have been charged with statutory rape at the same time as becoming a new father.

My parents were extremely conservative about sex, and even though my Mom had been a teenage mother herself, she was extremely judgemental-- and I wasn't actually allowed to date until I was 16. She found out about the abortion by accident a few years later, and accused me of being "disgusting," "promiscuous," and of "killing her grandchild." (I didn't mention her own bar-star days-- that probably would have gotten me slapped.) It might have really fucked me up if I'd heard that stuff from my own mother at 14, so my decision not to tell them was completely justified. But too bad; it would have been nice to have supportive family around me.

The only horrible part was the fact that the father was out of town on business-- I resented him for that for many years, but it wasn't really his fault. None of my friends could drive yet, so I had to call the only person I knew with a car, an ex-boyfriend (my first boyfriend, in fact), and beg for a ride home from the hospital. They wouldn't let you leave on your own, and he'd just gotten his license, so he agreed, no questions asked. He looked really scared when he came and got me; I felt worse for him than I did for me.

So that's my story. I'm not sorry, and I think it's important for women know that it's also OK not to feel grief or loss about having an abortion-- for me, it was a relief, and it was simply the only reasonable option.