I have an abortion story. A story I have never shared with anyone.
Spoiler alert: there is no heroic arc to this story for me.
I have never shared it because I was able to forget about it, parcel it up and move on with my life, a simple and momentary stumble in my serene, privileged journey.
I share it today in solidarity with women. I believe in a woman’s right to choose.
As a male, I should have no oversight in this matter, and a perspective that is maybe worth acknowledging, and nothing more:
In my first job after college, in a heavy drinking office where there were plenty of parties and late nights, a colleague and I, both single, would occasionally – I think the kids call it – ‘hook up.’
There was no relationship to speak of, we were work mates. One day, she phoned me at my desk and asked me to go to coffee. Seemed a bit odd, to be honest, but ok. We sat down at a coffee shop table, and she said,
“I got pregnant, and I am going to have an abortion. I thought you should know.”
I rather timidly replied, “oh, ok.” And that was that.
Honestly, I was allowed to just go on with my life. I barely gave it any thought. She carried the whole episode on her shoulders. I was just embarrassed by my involvement in something I regretted, and grateful she had done what she did. That she took charge. That I avoided something I did not want. I had my first kid in my late thirties so you can sense how far from ready I was.
I share the story because
*safe, legal access to abortion services benefits us all.*
I didn’t want a kid. I had no money to support one. I was young and dumb. I would have been a shitty, resentful parent.
There are many reasons why safe abortion is critical to women, reasons far more dramatic and worthy than “a self-centred man seeks not to take responsibility for his life choices.”
However, ‘it was a mistake’ is a valid reason, one which millions of men like me (and like men in your friendship circles, families, workplaces, churches, political parties) have benefitted from:
– in not being burdened by parenthood,
– in having the opportunity instead to develop careers,
– in being able to ‘grow up’ first,
– in waiting for the right time and the right person with whom to parent lovingly and wholeheartedly,
– in maybe being able to add more to the community around them. Maybe.
It is not my place to tell women’s stories of why safe, legal abortion access has been, is, and will be important to them in their own journeys.
I do know that it is important, as it has been for me in mine.
This Much We Know.