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I’ve known from an early age that motherhood was not in my future.

My family has a long history of mental illness, addiction, alcoholism, and suicide. I myself have struggled with anxiety and depression since before I knew what those words meant. So, when a one-time slip up with contraception resulting in a pregnancy at age 17, I knew immediately I would have an abortion. I could list all the reasons why I was unprepared and unable to raise a child at the time, but I hesitate at feeling as though I need to “justify” my decision. The situation was, I was pregnant, didn’t want to be pregnant, so I got an abortion.

I’m incredibly grateful that I had access to safe, affordable healthcare at a time when I was going through this experience. The procedure was relatively quick, minimally painful, and I was treated with respect and care at every step. I have never once regretted my decision, I have not suffered emotionally, nor healthwise. Some of my best friends have made the same choice for their lives when faced with an unintended pregnancy, yet its not something we speak of often, despite our shared experiences.

I feel that the anti-choice movement has been effective in making some women feel as if it shouldn’t be talked about, that its our own dirty little secret to bear in silence, that we should feel ashamed. Well, I’m NOT ashamed, and now, I’ll no longer be silent. Just as the current focus of sexual harassment and assault of women has opened many eyes to the reality of how common these assaults are, I hope that starting this discussion, and opening up to our loved ones about our abortion experiences, will open eyes to the reality of how many women you know and respect have had abortions, that it is a safe, effective medical procedure, and that we need to have access to abortions as a part of comprehensive health care for women.

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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