Why I Wish Something Like the Alabama Abortion Law Existed When I Was 15
I’ve never really felt like there was a place for my voice within the whole abortion debate, even though the topic is so personal to me.
I’m not conservative in my views, despite what the title of this article alludes. Neither can I make light of the matter, as some pro-choice liberal extremists choose to.
I am a woman. So, of course, women’s rights are important to me. But is it a woman’s right to take a life? That’s the question I’ve struggled with ever since I made the decision to do so when I was 15 years old.
Amidst the debate, where do the voices of regret fit in? In the gray area, somewhere in between that never seems to matter in controversies like these. The truth is, that most debates are never black and white as much as we try to make them. I find myself somewhere in the gray area, and I imagine I can’t be the only one.
“I wish there was something like the Alabama abortion law in place when I was 15,” might not seem like a statement that falls into the gray area but it does.
It does when you were raised in a religious family and the Bible clearly describes each of us as being known by God even before conception in our mother’s womb. (Jeremiah 1:5)
It does when the shame and guilt from a decision you made to abort a child when you were just a child yourself has stuck to you like a shadow for your entire life.
It does when your morals and values about women’s rights caused you to speak up at work against harassment when no one else would, yet deep down inside you didn’t feel good when the result ended in the termination of the offender.
It does when the Alabama abortion law is clearly atrocious, but deep down you wish that something would have stopped you from making the only decision you have regretted in your life.
So I ask, where is our place, the women who have experienced abortion first-hand and have been scarred by it for life, where is our place in the conversation? Where is our seat at the table?
The table filled with those who have no problem candidly expressing they’ve had one or more abortions, and are proud of it. Or with those who slut-shame these women from the other end. I don’t fit in with either of these. I can’t make light of the decision I made nor can I judge those who do make light, because I made the same choice.
All I can do is carve out my own place at the table and let my voice be heard. For all the women like me, who will forever have a scar they are sure to keep covered, that reminds them of a decision they can never take back. Our voices need to be heard too.
Making the choice to have an abortion, at any age, is the hardest decision you’ll ever make. And being a minor, with an underdeveloped brain among other things, taking on that much responsibility, should never happen.
So do I wish I would have been convicted of a felony and thrown in jail for a decision I made when I was 15? No. Of course not. Do I think women should be subjected to that now, especially in instances of rape, abuse, and incest? Absolutely not! Do I like that the table I spoke of is filled with white men whose opinion on the matter quite frankly should never take precedent? No! It pisses me off. But do I wish measures would have been in place back when I was 15 that would have helped me understand the weight of the decision that I was about to make? Yes! And so the gray area remains.
We need to make room at the table for an open dialogue that actually leaves us with answers and solutions to real problems, rather than keeping us more divided than ever.
Extremist views, in my opinion, have never solved anything, ever. The church cannot continue to avoid the subject altogether by simply mandating celibacy until marriage and shaming us when we “mess up.”
And the government should not stand in the place of the governing bodies of individual households. If a parent wants to take their daughter to have an abortion, that’s their right, but for goodness sakes, talk to your daughters! Educate them. No one should be forced into a decision, but everyone deserves to have all sides thoroughly explained to them before coming to their own conclusion.
Extreme retaliations like the Alabama abortion law isn’t the answer. Obviously. Neither is the law Maine passed that allows non-doctors to perform abortions. But some measure needs to be. Because we cannot continue to walk around making light of a decision that stands to forever change a woman’s life.
I would know.