Abortion number one was at nineteen when I fell for a guy who lived across from my aunt in a West Virginia suburb. He was not much younger than I was. I thought he was a friend and a good person—he was the typical asshole, which is something I apparently have a fondness for, go figure. I was in no shape—mentally, emotionally, maturely, financially—to breed, and he definitely wasn’t gonna help.
I went to the local hospital emergency room when my period was a couple of weeks late and told them I thought I was pregnant. Do you wanna be? Hell, no, I told them. They checked then told me I wasn’t—not anymore. I was elated and gave them a silent but eternally grateful nod. I can never repay that person. A thank you seems insufficient years later. I don’t even think I ever paid the ER bill.
I went directly on birth control after that.
Abortion number two was when I was twenty-eight or nine, I cannot recall. I had the dawning realization that the person I was tethered to for the last seven years was not who I thought they were. The awareness came slowly then all of a sudden. It was certainly something to behold looking back on it as a, hopefully, much wiser person. The surety of thinking that I was an aware person at the time in my twenties—that I knew what I was doing and where I was going and with whom I was going with, disappeared in an instant, which made me question all the other judgments I made while with this person. It was a revelatory experience in wisdom and growth that I was doomed to repeat again, unfortunately. Although in different circumstances.
Abortion number three happened when I was thirty-one in a doomed relationship and mentally and physically incapable of anything beyond taking care of myself, and even that at the time was in doubt as I was clinically depressed and anorexic.
Both were in North Carolina.
My birth control always worked when I took it and I took it religiously, except when I didn’t—twice, and I’ll leave you to deduce from that what you will.
The people I was with never knew. My family and friends will be shocked by this. They believe I tell them everything as I’m a WYSIWYG kind-of-girl and pretty much authentically and honestly share most everything if asked—if not directly then vaguely or ironically as my dry wit is sometimes dismissed as droll or empty-headedness, which, to be fair, it sometimes is.
I no longer have a functioning reproductive system, thank all the fluffy bunnies. No matter. I will fight for the right to bodily autonomy for you and others regardless. I’ve been fighting for abortion rights and bodily autonomy since I was fifteen and realized what it meant. Forced-birthers will not win. They will not dictate oppression and come away unscathed by their lack of humanity and their barbaric christo-fascism. They will never purge us of hope and fight. They will lose.
© 2022 Matilda London/Pamela Gay Mullins
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