When I was 10 years old I had a conversation with myself about what I wanted to do when I grew up. I toyed with zoologist, marine biologist and the like, but settled on either veterinarian or lawyer, primarily because the latter 2 have higher income potential. You could say I’m a long-term planner. By the time highschool rolled around, I ruled out vet because I wasn’t very good at science or math. Everything I’ve done since I was 14 was so that I could become a lawyer. I made careful decisions to ensure nothing I did would jeopardize my future career.
I started having sex when I was 17 and even with all my sex education, I let my partner tell me that the pull-out method was good enough. At the time, I went from always being busy with extra-curricular activities, to sex, drugs and booze in a matter of months. I was upset and desperate for attention, so I bought it. After a scare with a late period, I decided I needed birth control. I tried to talk to my mom about it and asked her to take me because I needed it to “regulate” my period. She said I was fine. So I took the initiative, found a doctor and got it myself. Since then I have been exceedingly diligent with my birth control. Looking back, I know I am so unbelievably lucky I didn’t get pregnant during the 6 months I was having unprotected sex.
Fast forward 9 years. On March 22nd I wrote the second of two bar admission exams. To get to this point I had to complete a 4-year undergraduate degree and attend 3 years of law school. I have racked up $140k of debt in the process. In June 2012 I will get called to the bar after my 10-month articling period, which starts May 2011. I am facing 8-10 years of debt repayment after spending 9 years and countless weekends studying to get to this point. This is the culmination of a 16 year dream of mine. But if I were to require an abortion, many people would decry my decision as a matter of “convenience.”
If I were to get pregnant now, I wouldn’t be able to finish my articling period before the fetus was born. I would likely have 1 month remaining, which could defer my ability to get called to the bar by 3 months, minimum. All because some people think my dreams are inconvenient. During my time off I wouldn’t be able to make debt repayments and I would have to live off my partner’s income, which, while good, is tight. Could we do it? Certainly. But I do not believe that reaching my 16 year dream is a mere “convenience.” It’s my dream and I have worked exceedingly hard for it. I am entitled to enjoy the rewards of my hard work. Suggesting that women have abortions for “convenience” diminishes the hard work of women and is beyond insulting. Living my dream is my right. Not having my body hijacked, especially when I am doing everything possible to prevent pregnancy, is my right. I refuse to be told that my dreams are inconvenient and should be sacrificed.
To all the women out there with inconvenient dreams, never stop dreaming and never stop fighting. It is just as much a tragedy when a woman is forbidden from reaching her dream as it is when a man is forbidden. You are entitled to every dream you can dream — dreams are never inconvenient.