Thirty years after the fact, I’ve decided to write about a personal time in my life. I’ve been thinking about that: how we tell the stories of our lives, what we include, what we choose to edit out and how powerful it is to share our truths with others.
In some ways, that is what I’ve been doing in this space for many years. In addition to commenting on news and community life, I have shared bits and pieces of my family. My kids have grown up and left home and had their own kids on this page. I went through cancer treatment with you. My life has been an open book.
Well, perhaps semi-open. After all, I choose what to write about and what to keep to myself. I try to talk about something — an issue, a right of passage, a person in the news — that will resonate with others.
Here is today’s story. If you don’t like it, I’m OK with that. Write back if you like. We can have a dialogue. Let’s keep calm and carry on.
In 1992, when my son was 21 and my daughter was 19, I got pregnant, and my husband and I chose to end the pregnancy. I was 45 years old at the time, and for many reasons we decided not to bring another baby into the world. I was able to go to my gynecologist, who performed the procedure in a safe hospital setting. I recovered.
No one can presume to know how I felt then or how I feel now about that decision. It was mine and my husband’s to make. We carry the memories and the difficulties of that choice. We have no doubt that we did the right thing for us at that time. The only reason to talk about it now is to support other women’s right to choose.
Over the years, in discussions with other people, religious or secular, conservative or liberal, white or Black, it always turns out that many women at the table have had abortions. We keep it private because it’s nobody else’s business.
When and if women choose abortion, they should not have to walk by screaming protesters or people carrying posters of mangled baby parts. The same people who lecture about the sanctity of “life” are busy voting down programs for the poor and the disadvantaged, eviscerating funding for mothers and preschoolers and health services in marginalized communities.
The hypocrisy is infuriating. People who have money and connections will always be able to get abortions for themselves or their daughters, and that includes members of Congress and the courts.
A ban on abortion falls most heavily on the shoulders of the poor and the powerless.
We who support a woman’s right to choose would prefer abortions to be legal and safe and private. The morning-after pill is a good alternative, but the anti-choice forces are going after that, too, even though it is an efficient way for a woman to make her own decisions about her body and her future.
Today, Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land, but a leaked draft decision from the Supreme Court points to a majority vote that could overturn the law. For 50 years, women and men who care about the right to privacy and choice have felt protected, but not secure, with this freedom. I never believed that the right to an abortion would survive without vigilance.
I marched on Washington, D.C., with hundreds of thousands of other pro-choice Americans in 1992, when George Herbert Walker Bush was in the White House. Factions in Pennsylvania were trying to pass a restrictive abortion law. The vibe from the Supreme Court was troubling. Roe v. Wade was 20 years old that year.
I took a train from New York with my mother and my daughter, and we walked by the White House to raise our voices in defense of ourselves and the women to come after us.
I never imagined then, and still can barely believe now, that after a 50-year precedent, a conservative majority may toss Roe in the shredder.
I marched for choice with my mother and daughter. Now my daughter is marching with her daughter. It is a never-ending fight for women to claim the right to their own bodies and their own destiny.
Copyright 2022 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.