Arkansas legislators recently passed the nation’s most restrictive ban on abortion. Surely a legal fight is brewing because it goes against the nation’s long standing laws protected by Roe V. Wade. After overriding a veto by the democratic governor the bill passed. The law bans the procedure after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Some states have passed laws banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This makes Arkansas’s limits the most restrictive in the nation.
If denied this choice when I was 24, the landscape of my life would look quite different. Thankfully, I was not.
I had a sinking feeling I was pregnant. My boyfriend and I were getting increasingly careless. I had set aside a day, strangely enough, that next week after I found out, to go to Planned Parenthood to get on the pill. I was 6 weeks too late. I didn’t tell my boyfriend about my looming fear. I went to the drug store and bought a pregnancy test. I took the test, stupidly, right before my shift at work. Well, the test was positive. I sat on the toilet and shook for what seemed like forever. I gathered myself the best I could and went to work. I was a zombie for the rest of the night. I already knew what my choice would be.
Selfishly, I never let my boyfriend have a say in the decision process. I loved him but I knew deep down he was not who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I still have residual feelings of awful over how very selfish I was.
Mid-way through my shift my manager pulled me aside to ask if everything was okay. I didn’t go into details but I told her I had to go home. By home, I meant Orlando. I wanted my mom but I also knew that I could be alone too. My mom was great at giving me my space.
I told my mom what I was going to do. She offered to fly to Colorado to be with me during the process. I thanked her but declined. She made me promise to not go alone. She knows me so well and how I shut everyone out when things get hard.
At the time, I was bussing tables at Gordon Biersch in Louisville, CO. Let me say that again. I was bussing tables. Not to get on too far a tangent but I had a college degree that was taking me nowhere quick. My point being, I was in no place financially to care for anyone else.
To think I could have been denied this choice, this intensely personal choice, because a group of people have a certain set of beliefs, is tragic. I would not have had the chance to move to Seattle, a city where I feel like I am meant to be. And in that city, I had the opportunity to go back to school for a 2nd degree which led to the career I’m in now. I would never have met Kristen who is my true other half. My friends, who I consider my family, would be strangers to me.
There’s no great wrap-up to this story. Other than a feeling of relief that I was not cornered into a life altering path. Now 12 years later, I can make that choice with my eyes open, my life ready and I couldn’t be more excited.
A big thank you to Eric for helping me with this one. You’re the best!