In so many ways, it seems like I should be the poster child for the anti-choice proponents. I’m living, breathing, normal productive contributing member of society proof that yes, you can graduate from high school without having sex first. I’ve never been pregnant, never decided to have sex without protection. For me, for my life, it really has been that simple. Sure, when I was in high school I was petrified that I would find myself pregnant – which would have been a failure in my own eyes – at which time I would have had an abortion. I circumvented that risk by not having sex. Problem solved. Frankly, it wasn’t that big of a deal for me.
It would be so easy now, as an adult, to sniff derisively at those who say that it isn’t realistic for teenagers to simply not have sex – after all if I did it, so can they, right? And yes, part of me does think that. But the rest of me knows that what worked for me, may not work for someone else. The rest of me sees the absurdity in holding up my own experience as a reason to condemn someone who does make a mistake, who acts foolishly. I don’t understand how someone could be sixteen or seventeen, or older, and not know about condoms, about the birth control pills or Plan B – but I do understand that those people are out there. Those who don’t know that two condoms are not, in fact, better than one. Those who won’t look at expiration dates or any of the millions of reasons why unplanned pregnancies occur. Hopefully sex education in schools will advance to the point that no one gets pregnant because she doesn’t know that it can happen the first time, but the margin for error for an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy will always exist. It exists every time a man and a woman have sex.
Still, as an adult, able to support myself comfortably, and even a child if I were to become pregnant unexpectedly, many people ask why I am so adamantly, vehemently, pro-choice. Why waste my time, energy, and money fighting for something that I will never need? The truth is, I don’t know – nor does anyone else – whether I will have an abortion in my lifetime. What if I were to have an ectopic pregnancy? Or through genetic testing learn that the fetus had irreparable damage? Tay-Sachs perhaps, wherein the child dies before age three after a total mental degeneration, or another degenerative disease that offers little or no quality of life? What if I’m in my forties and already have children that are half-grown? What if my body simply can’t handle another pregnancy? The possible reasons to have an abortion don’t decrease as we get older, they only multiply.
Many of us will never need to have abortions – but we all need to have the choice.