From the age of 19-21, I had a passionate and exciting relationship with a lovely young woman, let us called her Sue. We remained friends, bonded like siblings in our collective experiences of trauma and abuse.
Less than a year after our break up, Sue came to my home crying and let me know that she was pregnant. After a lot of processing and talking, she acknowledged that she did not want to have the baby. The father was about to go to prison for cocaine possession and distribution, and some of the sex they had was less than consensual. From this hardship, she ended up moving back in with her mother who ironically, lived just a few houses away from me.
Sue’s mother, an alcoholic who was about to marry yet another abusive man, told her that she just HAD to have the baby, there wasn’t really a choice, and she assumed that her Sue felt the same. Sue told me that she really did not want it and also didn’t have the money. I immediately told her that if she needed money or support through the process that I would be there for her. I felt terrible at the thought of her going through this alone. She left and I didn’t hear from her for a couple of weeks. I can’t imagine the pressure and stress that she was under.
When I saw Sue again, she was at 5 weeks into her pregnancy. She came to my apartment and I sat with her as she scheduled her necessary appointment. To make it easier, I just played the role of the ‘would be’ father at her appointments. I was excited to help, as this was clearly her desire. When the day finally came, I parked the car at the clinic off of Route 40 in West Baltimore. As we walked into the large nondescript building, there were protestors outside. One man, in particular, had a poster as big as my car with a detailed photograph of a bloody aborted fetus. He grabbed Sue as she walked by, saying “Don’t kill your baby!’ while other women, yes women, apparently compelled by their god, yelled “Murderer, murderer!”
I was livid, I was enraged, I escorted Sue into the building and told her that I would meet her in the office. As she got on the elevator I walked back outside fuming. I confronted the man with the sign, looking deep into his dull eyes and said “Do you think that your God wants you to traumatize young women?” I am guessing I scared him, because he walked away and didn’t respond, hiding behind the other protestors. Much like most people who have been programmed in the church, they have no real defense for their actions, just repeating archaic text. I thought about grabbing him and hurting him, but I’ve never really been one for violence.
By the time I had reached the office, Sue had already been taken into the room for her procedure. I sat anxiously for about 30 minutes and then we went out for food and then finally I took her home. We didn’t really speak at all, it was somber to say the least, and I think we both were feeling pretty gross about the entire experience.
We fell out of touch after this, I don’t know what she told her mother. I ran into her years later in my hometown of Hampden and she was pushing a stroller and had two other kids in tow. She had her husband with her and told me that she was working and stable, guess she knew I was worried.
Whatever the case, there are no wrong or right opinions on abortion. It is a choice that each individual makes for themselves at the time that the procedure is an option. To take away or criminalize the option is to take away the choice. Under some of the new laws passed, the fact that I covered the cost of the procedure would make me liable for the death of the “unborn child” as they put it.
I am in no way telling people not to have opinions. I am sure that if my life had been different I might not agree with abortion. But the truth is, I don’t mind it, and I would never judge another couple or single woman who wanted to terminate the growth of something inside of her. If a man chooses a partner that would terminate the pregnancy of his baby then I’m sorry, choose a different partner, heartache has many names.
You never possess a woman, never, not your daughter, a sex worker, your wife, or any other woman that crosses your path. Support your philosophies by living them, not by telling others how to live.