The Texas Abortion Law Would Have Forced Me to Have My Father’s Baby
I had bought my high school graduation dress earlier in the year. We were required to wear white. It was beautiful. I looked forward to wearing it.
Right before graduation, I tried on my dress for a fitting and suddenly it was way too tight. This did not make any sense to me. None of my habits had changed. I could not figure out how I had gained so much weight so rapidly. My mom was angry and blamed me. See, it turns out it was not my fault.
I was actually pregnant with my father’s baby. He had raped me. I was a victim of incest. I was 17.
I had just graduated from high school with honors, and I was headed off to a prestigious private university. I had almost made it out of my parents’ house of horrors and now this. I could not have a baby. I could not have my father’s baby. What if I had been forced to give birth right then? What kind of life would that child and I have had? What would being forced to have that baby done to all my hopes and dreams? What about college? What about a meaningful career? What about my choices? What about the mental anguish having my father’s child would have on me and my child?
In my opinion, incest is one of the greatest betrayals anyone can ever experience. I was abused by both of my parents from a very young age. I was subjected to many horrific things. My innocence was taken from me and there is no getting that back. I never told on my parents. I did not feel anyone would believe me. Why would they? My parents were perfect, and everyone respected them. They were the PTA president, coached my softball team, taught Sunday school and served as the church elder. They both had reputable professions and my father was highly educated. Who was going to believe a kid who made up stories (as my mother said)?
The details on how I found out I was pregnant, and how the decision was made to have the abortion, are still fuzzy. I have mainly blocked them out. I do recall how angry my mom was at me — she said I was “whoring around.” Because of my dissociative identity disorder (DID), some of my alters hold on to the memories and only periodically share bits and pieces with me. Usually at the most inopportune times. Like now.
Right now, you cannot consume social media or mainstream media without hearing about the new repressive Texas Abortion Law. Usually, I try to avoid news and media about abortions since it is very triggering. For some reason, I felt compelled to read one of the articles and was appalled by what I read. The calls for no abortions after six weeks, bounties on the heads of those who help with someone acquiring an abortion, and there are no exemptions for incest and rape.
I have mainly remained silent about my abortion. I am a public speaker and writer. I tell my life story very openly and have for many years. I have for many reasons kept the secret of the abortion to myself and very few friends. But today, I feel compelled to share my story. If we all just told our stories, all this just might end.
I became pregnant against my will. I was a child and had no choice. My dad violated me and stole something that I can never get back. Politicians want to make this a political issue. The gain to them is still not clear to me when almost 25% of women have had abortions and most Americans feel abortion should be legal, but yet they persist.
These are men, of course, who feel that women are property and need to be kept in their place, and damn any civil liberties or the life of the mother. They scream “murder” and the rights of the unborn. What about the rights of the woman to have agency over her own body? What about me, a child who would have been forever altered by having this child?
Anti-abortion advocates push adoption as the viable option. I am here to tell you as a woman who has had an abortion and has lost a child to adoption, that adoption is not the “rainbows and unicorns” option. There is a lot of trauma in adoption and lives are forever altered and not for the best.
These same politicians who preach the sanctity of life fail to provide affordable housing, childcare, parental leave, living wages or adequate accessible healthcare. The women and girls who will pay the price for this draconian law are the poor and abused.
The men are slapping themselves on the back, all the while stomping all over my rights and yours.
To my fellow sisters who have had to experience abortion loss, you are not alone. No matter the reason you made to terminate your pregnancy either by choice, circumstance or force, I am here for you. Many women are here for you. This news cycle will fade into the next catastrophe until it rears up again. So, pace yourself. Write about your feelings. Confide in a friend, call a hotline (just so you can tell your story to someone). There is no shame in your story, even if your abortion does not have some trauma or misfortune around it. Never let anyone tell you there is shame in your story.
Our sisters in Texas are going to need to feel that we have their back and will do everything in our power (even if that is only lifting them in our thoughts) to intervene on their behalf until they have fair and equal access to abortion. We will also advocate for policies that make it possible for women to afford and raise their children on their own, if they so choose.
This is all one hot mess. I hope there are consequences for those who have participated in this. Right now, women are paying the consequences and we are all feeling it. If you have had an abortion, know I am thinking of you no matter your reason. It was the right choice at the time, and you are not a bad person for making that choice. Please take care of your mental health at this time as you are reminded of that difficult period in your life. Seek out support and unplug. Tell your story or keep it to yourself; it is your choice.
You are Mighty Strong!
Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash