Last month, I had an abortion.
I’ve been a strident advocate for a woman’s right to choose since I was a pre-teen, and it’s still difficult for me to say those words. So many assumptions about my life can be made on the basis of that admission, and the shame is real. For White women in American society, the shame of having an abortion is mainly centered on their individual behavior. For Black women, our behavior reflects on Black folks as a whole, specifically other Black women—so the scope of the shame is much wider. An unintended pregnancy can call your responsibility into question, and regardless of your age, the specter of the stereotypical Black teenage mother casts a long shadow.
4 thoughts on “On EBONY.com: I just had an abortion”
Tasha, thank you so much for sharing your experience, and your feelings. I had heard that ‘some’ Blacks oppose abortion, but did not know the extent or the impact (I am White). I’ve met a number of young single Black mothers when in communities registering voters and felt a desire to help them with training/encouragement to take care of themselves, physically, emotionally, and financially. Adding to the problem is a strong religious influence in this Black community that teaches women are subservient to men. I would love to share with the young Black girls and women your experience and how and why you handled it as you did. Any ideas?
Kate Pavelle says:
Your article was illuminating. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I, too, am strongly pro-choice, and there was once a time I thought I’d have to exercise that choice. There was no doubt in my mind what the right thing was for me – finishing school, is what.
Except I’m White, so the Black angle is news to me. I’ll have to think long and hard about that. As an immigrant from Czechoslovakia I know it’s not right to be held up as a representative of one’s entire ethnic group. I can hide, though, whereas a Black woman can’t.
Karen Lee says:
Thank You Darling, for being Open & Honest. I have had abortions in my Childbearing years. I remain a strong supporter of a Woman’s Autonomy over her Body & Life Path, which we do not have if we are forced to bear children that we know we can not support or care for properly at certain times in our lives. I work w/the Poor on Medicaid for many years, and less than 1% of those women WANT to be stuck in The System of having several children by several men; after the 1st one, they usually “wake up” and realize that having a child is much more demanding and difficult and costly than they had anticipated. But they are Stuck & Trapped, because being on Medicaid w/limited income, even if they are working a Minimal Wage job & getting some types of assistance, and having to come up w/$500 for an elective early terminations; most of the time, unless they do something either immoral or illegal… the Money Just Isn’t there. So there they are, stuck without a choice, that many white women do not have the same obstacles…. Women, if you have any extra $$$, please Give & Support a Planned Parenthood with your Wallet, as well as your mouth. I Give $600/year which my company matches through the United Way; (Yes, Planned Parenthoods are all with the United Way), so that is $1200/year; preventing about 2.2. Unplanned for Children. I wish it were more, but I also support birth control of animals also, and give the same amount to a local Spay & Neuter Foundation. G*D Bless You. and PS, by the way, later on in my years, with yet another unplanned pregnancy… I went through with the pregnancy & gave the child up for adoption. For me, emotionally, the giving up the child was about 1000 times harder than making the decision to have an early termination. That’s my story. And The G*D of My Understanding Loves & Accepts me no matter what; past errors included.
Diane J. says:
My jaw just hit the floor when I read that your doctor said the situation might “resolve itself” and that you should come back in three weeks! I absolutely cannot believe a doctor said that to someone.
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