Not funny, this one.
I have not been feeling real well over recent Supreme Court decisions, so much so that I think about trying to get a passport to Britain or Ireland. My adoptive mom born in England. My birth mom the daughter of a woman born in Ireland. I think my chances are low, but I am trying. I am afraid.
Being forced to carry a baby under any circumstances is, in my view, cruel and obscene. Having a baby when you are young and not established financially is almost a certain route to a lifetime of poverty. Statistics bear this out. And if birth father bails, can’t imagine how hard it would be to afford legal help to try and track him down for child support again and again.
I am not a lover of abortion; it’s a necessary evil in life. My own belief is the earlier, the better, and if it can be done by 7 or 8 weeks’ gestation, that is the best thing. At some point, that embryo becomes a fetus, and then a baby who is able to survive outside the womb. Aborting an embryo that is just 7 weeks and tiny and only potentially but not actually a human being is far more decent than a 5-months’-gestation abortion, which, in my view and only my view, should only be done to save the life of the mother. I don’t dig abortions after the first trimester, even, but when someone’s life is at stake or the baby has so many anomalies that it will not survive, then there are things beyond my knowledge and judgment that may take place. I would never support forcing someone to endure the physical and emotional pain of giving birth to a child after 9 months only to have it not have brain function so that it can even survive. It is not my place to force anyone to endure that. And I don’t think it is anyone’s place, not the Supreme Court’s, not anyone’s.
Several states have no exception for rape and incest, so if you are a 14-year-old who has been molested by an uncle and you become pregnant, you will be forced to carry and give birth to the baby that results. My mind cannot even go there…
I am fairly open about something that happened to me when I was quite young in the 1980s, and I will discuss it here. I went to a party at the house of the sister of a college friend, a party where I knew quite a few people. Several told me that the woman having the party, the sister, had a boyfriend visiting from another country and he claimed to have been pickpocketed at JFK Airport in New York, and he essentially had arrived at their home in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC, with no money. And they didn’t believe him and were basically ignoring him and not showing him around or anything because they thought he was jerking them around and wanted to leech off them while he was in the United States.
I, being from NY originally, did not have a problem believing that his pocket was picked at JFK. In fact, my friend’s parents were at JFK in that time period when someone tried to lift her dad’s wallet, but he felt it and yelled. To me, the story seemed entirely plausible.
At some point during the evening, the boyfriend came up to talk to me and told me he was visiting and that nobody was talking to him because he’d been robbed at the airport and nobody believed him, so basically he was staying at this house and not being included in most of what his girlfriend and her roommates were doing. It sounded pitiful to me that this guy came all this way, and I told him that I worked during the day but that maybe I could take him sightseeing around DC when I was free after work. I felt quite bad for the guy.
And I did take him sightseeing in my car a few times, took him down to the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol and such. He seemed really grateful, too. I had no interest in this guy as anything other than a human being who was in a bad spot, and I figured he and his girlfriend would patch it up.
One night, this guy, David, called my house to say his roommates had gone to a party but would not take him and that he had the address, and would I like to go and bring him? I knew the people who were having the party; they were in an art class of mine, and I was up for going out, so I came to get him. For some reason, when I picked him up, he insisted on driving my car. I don’t even know why I let him, but he was very insistent upon it. When I think about it now, I should never have allowed it. But I am older and am more suspicious of people now. On the way there, David was talking about his girlfriend at home in his country, and I asked if she minded that he had another girlfriend, and he said that if she didn’t, that was too bad. And on this drive, I started to get a bad feeling about him that I hadn’t had before. He started to seem like the asshole that people described him as being.
When we got to the party, he got out the car and came around to open the passenger door. As I started to step out, he pushed me back in, got on top of me, and started taking off my pants. “You know you want it,” is what he said. I struggled and screamed, “No!” and tried pushing myself up off the car seat. I am 5’2″ and he was at least 6’4″, a very tall man, and well built, so I did not have a chance. He was pushing back down on me, and as he did, I felt the bones in my arms and my chest, well, bending. He was about to break my fucking bones. And then my mind slowed down, and in my head, I began to talk to myself. I told myself to let it happen so he didn’t kill me because it looked like he would and could. I stopped fighting and I waited for it to be over. And I did not have my arms or neck broken and I survived.
When this was over, he stepped out of the car and I got out, and he actually handed me my keys. I remember saying, “Well, I guess I’ll go home now,” and he said, “No, you won’t. I don’t know anyone in there so you are coming in with me.”
And after being raped, I followed him Into this crowded party and he ran off to socialize and I stood in the living room and it literally began to swirl around me. Like I was still and the room was spinning, and again my mind spoke to me and it said, “Something bad has happened and you have to go home.”
I left, I got in my car, and I don’t remember the half hour or so it took me to get home, but when my roommate saw I was back so early, she asked me about it and I told her what had happened and said I had to go to bed. And I dropped into my bed and more or less passed out.
That bastard actually called a few days later for a ride somewhere and my roommate put the phone down on him. I did not tell anyone who knew him what he did because he had a girlfriend and I was afraid he would say I initiated it and they would think I was some kind of whore. I was really ashamed, and I felt I deserved it for not listening to people who said he was a lying asshole and for letting him drive my car.
I hoped and prayed my period would come and I waited for it. It did, and I was grateful. It was the 80s and he very well could have had HIV, and I was afraid to get an HIV test for about a year. Maybe two. It was a long time.
Had I gotten pregnant at that time, I wouldn’t have had insurance to cover the pregnancy and birth. I was at a job that didn’t give you benefits until you were there for 6 months, and I had not been. I would have been depressed as hell if I could not have had an abortion, and given that I can get really blue, I would hate to think what my state of mind would have been. There was no DNA to prove definitively who a baby’s father was, and this guy flew back to his country weeks later. I’d have had no help or support in a situation that was devastating and shameful to begin with.
I would have had an abortion. I absolutely would have had an abortion. I have no doubt that would have been the outcome of that rape if I had gotten pregnant. And if I could not have had one, I think that my well-being would have been very much at stake.
Women today, decades later, are facing that same horrible situation with states that not only say they cannot get abortions in the states in which they live, but that say they will prosecute them for leaving the state to have an abortion in a state where it is legal.
Imagine being pregnant, not wanting to be pregnant, and having your right to travel freely about the country curtailed as if you were some kind of property, someone without any basic rights. And as horrible as that is, imagine if you had been molested or raped and that is how you became pregnant.
That this could happen to any woman in the United States alarms me after my experience being raped, my praying my period would come, my HIV test. I just can’t imagine any human being with a beating heart would inflict such pain on another person.
But here we are.
I want anyone who reads this to take good care of themselves, to consider where they are living and if they have a choice, to live in a state that respects the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy safely with a good medical practitioner doing the procedure so that she can move on with her life, have children when she believes she is ready and in a good mental and physical place to do so.
I want you to use your votes and your voices to demand that we be treated as equals to men.
I want you to use the same to demand that no person who has been forcibly inpregnated be then forced to have a child as a result of that violent act.
I want you to remember that while I was being raped, I felt my bones bending and I believed they were about to break, and no pregnancy created under such circumstances should have to be endured by anyone, ever.
Please stay safe and well in these scary times.