by Jane Person
This afternoon I had an abortion. This is not a sentence I ever thought I would utter. I’m pro-choice. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy writing about, advocating for, and protecting a woman’s right to choice. I never thought this would be a choice I personally would make, no matter how adamantly I support other women’s right to make this choice. It was an important issue to me before this point as a woman, as someone who vehemently believes that every single woman can be trusted to make right choices for herself about her own body.
In a culture dominated by patriarchy where women are not yet equal, bodily autonomy is one of the most important issues there is. If we cannot be agents of our own bodies, what rights have we as human beings? Men’s bodies are not similarity legislated, controlled, and shamed.
A few weeks ago my breasts began to get sore. “Great. My period is coming” was the thought I had. But after a couple of weeks they became increasingly sore and my period was late. That’s not uncommon for me. My cycle is very irregular.
But then I started feeling nauseated. I threw up one morning while at work. I couldn’t stand the smells of people on the bus. I couldn’t eat. Everything made me feel sick.
I went to the nearest drug store to purchase a pregnancy test. I still didn’t think I was pregnant. I simply wanted to assuage my anxiety and affirm that my period was simply delayed and my regular menstrual symptoms were just a little more intense this month.
I took the test as soon as I got home. Within seconds of urinating on the stick, a positive indication of pregnancy came up.
I’m sure my daughter heard my shout from downstairs. I didn’t waste a moment after finding out I was pregnant. I knew what I wanted, needed, to do.
First I called the sexual health clinic. They told me I could come by Monday afternoon to get a referral from a doctor, required for access to an abortion in Ontario.
“Monday afternoon doesn’t work for me. I’ve got a job interview.” was my dismayed reply. It was Friday afternoon. I hid the panic I was feeling. I felt a sense of urgency, a desire to handle this as quickly as possible. I asked for alternative options with a calmness I wasn’t feeling.
I then called the university health centre. I made an appointment for Wednesday the following week.
I knew I wanted the referral sooner than later. My preference was for a medical abortion over a surgical abortion, if at all possible. The efficacy of medical abortion decreases as pregnancy progresses.
The four days leading up to my appointment were agonizing. I was sick. My body doesn’t handle pregnancy well. I just wanted this over with. Read more