#IMadeTheChoice: 4 Black Women Share Their Abortion Stories

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Name: Ella

Age: 34

“It was like deciding to take the red or blue pill, forever changing the trajectory of my life.”

Three weeks after my 18th birthday I found out I was pregnant. I had just ended my tumultuous relationship with my high school boyfriend and [was] scared out of my mind. I was a graduating senior and prior to my pregnancy, the biggest concern in my life was determining which college I would attend. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to keep my baby. This was a shocking realization because I’d previously thought that if I got pregnant I’d immediately get an abortion and wouldn’t consider another option. Many years later, and I still don’t fully understand the complete shift in my teen pregnancy plan of action.

Of course I was concerned about the unknown and uncertainty of being a teen mom. How would I afford being a parent? My parents had always threatened to kick us out. How do I even tell my parents? What about college? What kind of life would I provide for my child? The father wanted me to abort and coerced me to sign a document terminating his parental rights if I didn’t have an abortion.

After a week I finally told my mother. She was angry and confirmed all my fears of failing my own life and my child’s. I was the only one who wanted me to be a mother and I knew I couldn’t be a good parent without proper support. So, I decided to have an abortion.

My mom made up an excuse to my father about our whereabouts and first thing in the morning one MLK day we drove out-of-town to a clinic. There were many women there. All ages. All races and ethnicities. My mother controlled the situation. There were two options—a pill or D&C. I wanted to choose the pill but my mother chose the D&C because of fear that the bleeding after the pill would make my dad suspicious paired with her concern that it may not fully work. I remember The Matrix was playing in the background. At one point a nurse gave me a pill after informing me that after I take the pill I can’t change my mind. It would be the first part before the D&C. It was like deciding to take the red or blue pill, forever changing the trajectory of my life.

Finally, I had to have an ultrasound before the procedure. That was just the beginning of the tears. The procedure was so painful—I’d never even had a Pap smear prior—and they called my mom to help me calm down. She was pissed that I wasn’t “taking it as well as the other girls” and I just prayed that it would be over soon. During the procedure the nurses said at least the pain will remind me not to put myself in that position again and to get on birth control immediately. After I cried all the tears I had, I remember being numb for months. A handful of people knew, which then turned into many over the years. I never drank in high school but in college I used alcohol to numb the pain. I used to get extremely depressed during what I picked out as my child’s “birthday.” My child would turn 16-years-old this year.

I started therapy a few years ago and it helped me to deal with the pain and guilt and to forgive myself. I also realized that having an abortion was the best decision I could have made for my life and for a possible child’s life.

Having an unwanted pregnancy was one of the most emotionally taxing experiences of my life. It is reprehensible that laws are passed to making it an even more grueling experience. For many women, not all, this is not an easy experience and it is one that will stay with them throughout their lives. Women who choose abortion are in need of support and never punishment.

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