My husband and I have been married for just under two years but we’ve been together for over ten. A few months ago, in the middle of the night, we needed to rush to the drugstore to get Plan B because our birth control method failed.
As we pulled out of our driveway and drove down the street, I said these words to my husband: “If I get pregnant, I’m not having a baby.” He wasn’t surprised by this, and I knew he wouldn’t be—but I wanted to get it out of the way just in case. His response to me was a simple, “we couldn’t tell your mom, she’d be heartbroken.” He knew this because for several years, my parents have been pushing for a grandchild.
My husband and I are 27 years old. Plenty old enough for a baby. My husband has a master’s degree and I have my bachelor’s and am also working on a teaching credential. Financially, we could probably afford a child. But we still don’t want one (not yet, at least). I don’t believe anyone is ever really ready for a baby, but technically speaking, we are “ready”.
Months have passed since that night; I didn’t get pregnant, for which I’m thankful. But if I had gotten pregnant, I would have had an abortion without a second thought. Luckily for me, I live in a country and state with easy access to emergency contraceptives like plan B. I would have also been able to access a safe and affordable abortion if I needed to, even without health insurance.
Banning abortion doesn’t end abortions, it ends safe abortions.
For many women, this is not the case. Many women would not have been able to drive 10 minutes to a 24-hour drugstore to find the contraceptives they needed right in the aisle. They also might not be able to afford the $60 that emergency contraceptive costs. And if they can’t afford that one-time cost, how in the world are they supposed to afford a child? It hurts me deeply to think that not all women are as lucky as I am.
If my husband would have responded differently, I may have reconsidered my choice to have an abortion if I needed to. It was MY CHOICE to listen to his opinion on what we should do and it would have been MY CHOICE to have an abortion or not. My husband understands that this decision is mine; my body is my own, I don’t owe it to him or anyone else, even an unborn baby.
If I had gotten pregnant, it wouldn’t have been because I was being irresponsible or “slutty.” It would have been because I was intimate with my husband and our birth control failed. That being said, if I would have gotten pregnant from a hook-up or because I wasn’t using birth control, my body is still MY body. I still have the absolute right to say what goes on with my body.
Women aren’t baby making machines; we have absolute rule over our own bodies no matter how irresponsible our behavior may seem. Until a fetus can live and breathe on its own, it doesn’t have rule over its own body. As long as it exists inside me, needing me for survival, my right to my own body supersedes its right to exist.
Banning abortion could force teenage rape victims to become parents far before they’re ready. Banning abortion could lead to women birthing children with disabilities that are fatal or so severe the child has no quality of life.
I’ve always felt sorry for people who truly view abortion as murder. I imagine it must make them very sad to know that pregnancies are terminated and the potential for life that existed exists no longer. But here’s the thing: banning abortion doesn’t end abortions, it ends safe abortions. Banning abortions could lead to suicides and deaths of women who seek alternate means to end their pregnancy. Banning abortion could force teenage rape victims to become parents far before they’re ready. Banning abortion could lead to women birthing children with disabilities that are fatal or so severe the child has no quality of life. Preventing abortion doesn’t happen by banning it, it happens with education and access to birth control.
I know that Lena Dunham came across as insensitive when she said she never had an abortion but wished she had. Abortion isn’t a good thing that anyone should wish for, but I also know what she meant. If I had an abortion I hope that I wouldn’t have kept it secret like my husband suggested the night I told him I wouldn’t have a baby. I hope that I wouldn’t be ashamed of taking ownership of my body, because that is my right as a human being. I don’t owe my body to my husband, an unborn baby, or anyone else.
If my birth control failed and I got pregnant today, I would make the same decision. If I get pregnant, I’m not having a baby.