A statistic: “while black women make up about 13 percent of the U.S. female population, they account for 30 percent of abortions performed in the U.S.” This may be true–The Guttmacher Institute sounds kind of legit–but even so it results from a lot of systemic problems like the options presented to African-American women by both the heinous conditions of the cycle of poverty and government initiatives like Planned Parenthood, whose agents don’t always tell women about all the choices they have.
And a confession that I am not comfortable with: When it came time for the ex and I to talk about protection and whether we’d been appropriately safe, one of my very first thoughts was What makes him think I would keep it, anyway? I legitimately stopped and looked around to see who could possibly have thought that, because it certainly couldn’t have been moi. …But it was. Almost instantaneously. From some place deep within me that I didn’t know existed. And it was unequivocally the truth. If by some incredibly unlikely series of unfortunate mishaps happened that caused both of our forms of protection to fail and me not to notice in time to take a Plan B pill and I found out I was pregnant, I who have always been pro-life (having been a perfect candidate for abortion myself) to the point of the most heated of debates with people I love and respect, would not have carried the pregnancy to term. Although there are some who would argue that if all that happened to get me pregnant, I was “meant to have” this hypothetical child, I don’t believe in anyone who’s up there making up “meant to”s, and in that instant I understood the right to a choice. The right to not have my entire world turned upside down irrevocably. The right to live my life by my design. The right to not be screwed over after having tried to be safe. The right to not be sacrificed to a biological system I never asked for. The right to bring children into this world when (if ever) I am ready for them in every way, and not a moment sooner.
Go ahead and call me a hypocrite. I feel like one. My only defense is that I didn’t understand until I could legitimately see it happening to me and could visualize all the other lives that would be affected (ruined?) by such an accident. If we had done everything we could and been failed by that which we relied on, I just…I couldn’t give up my whole life, everything I’ve worked for. I’ve come so far. I don’t even like kids. And I know what it is to grow up and feel like you ruined your mother’s life, what it is to have a single mother who wasn’t ready for you, what it is to be afraid to get too close to the men your mother brings into your life because there’s no telling how long they’ll be around. And come on, me, with a kid? I AM A
GROWN-ASS WOMAN KID!
…So why do I feel like such a bad person?