As soon as I found out I was pregnant, becoming unpregnant was my number one priority. I grabbed the first available appointment at the clinic within an hour of seeing the positive test, and then I waited.
All in all, I was relatively calm as I counted down the several days until my abortion. My decision to get one–if it can even be called a decision given that I never weighed any other option–was not emotionally difficult. And there were no other factors–health risks, an unsupportive partner, financial barriers, logistical bullshit–that I imagine would have made the experience way more stressful. But I was definitely counting. My body was hyperaware of any signs of pregnancy. (I was not very far along at all, so they were probably mostly in my head.) I had the very visceral sense that something was hanging over me (or, more accurately and even more terrifyingly, hanging out inside of me) and I would not fully relax until it was gone. Like I said, it was mostly ok, I could deal–but only because I knew there was a way out. By Friday at noon, I would be home on the couch with my heating pad and Netflix, and this whole being pregnant thing would be in the past.
That’s just one lady’s experience–and as we know, people’s abortion stories are diverse and absolutely unique. But I’m willing to bet that that sense of anticipation is shared by most everyone who has decided to get abortion, called to make an appointment, gotten the funds together, taken time off work or left their kids with a sitter, and are literally on their way to the clinic. If, during that final countdown, an antichoicer had so much as slowed me down by stepping in front of my path, let alone made me miss my appointment by kidnapping me and instead taking me to a church, my tenuous sense of control and calm would have cracked. (And frankly there’s no telling what I would have done.)
That sense of control? And the shockingly casual way anti-choicers are willing to undermine it to push their own personal moral agenda? That’s what we mean when we say abortion is about the right to autonomy.
Maya Dusenbery is tired of defending her right to choose.