vacation postin’ day 6

Still in Cuba! But this is actually a serious post – I got quite a bit of flack on election night for worrying a great deal about what Harper’s government is going to do to women’s health; something I am very passionate about. I’m sincerely worried about Harper’s US-style conservatism is going to do about our right to choose, and this is part of the reason why – originally posted on December 1st, 2008:

no more shame

The open book that is my life still holds a few secrets I’ve kept throughout the years. Some are just not that interesting, some are not wholly my secrets to share, and others I just haven’t been ready to share yet – like this one.

Yesterday’s post was truly about my feeling weird at having to defriend someone on Facebook for my own sanity, but I barely scratched the surface on WHY – so let’s start scratching!

Planned Parenthood is making gift certificates available for purchase. A great deal of women in the US go without regular checkups because of the sheer cost involved – an annual exam alone costs $58. The gift certificates, available in increments of $25, can be used for checkups, insurance co-pays, and medication such as birth control.

And yes, they can also be used towards an abortion.

The pro-life community is in an uproar over this, claiming that PP is making a “mockery” of the Christmas season. Headlines such as “Kill a Child for Christmas” and “The Perfect Gift for the Baby Killer on a Budget” are popping up, as well as charming quotes in the media from anti-abortion activists:

“The tragedy is that almost 6,000 fewer children will be celebrating a first Christmas this year because they were aborted in Planned Parenthood’s Indiana clinics,” said Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. Planned Parenthood of Indiana operates abortion clinics in Indianapolis, Merrillville and Bloomington.

“They deserve coal in their stocking, not money for lethal gift certificates,” said Sister Diane Carollo, director of the Office for Pro-Life Ministry for the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Awesome. Just awesome.

It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I am fiercely pro-choice – I believe women should have the unquestioned right to choose if and when they wish to have children. I am thankful everyday that I live in a country that DOES give me that right, and it physically hurts my insides to know that this (and gay marriage) is so hotly contested by so many people. I just don’t understand how someone can claim they know what is better for me than I do – how? How can you know my situation, my life, my circumstances? Do you have so much hate in your lives that you actually see forcing women to carry unwanted children to term is a viable option and just punishment for sex, regardless of how it came to pass? I don’t understand.

I can talk pretty about choice all I want, but it’s more than just talk: when I was 18, I had an abortion.

It’s a fairly typical story: I hadn’t received enough education about birth control (I had no idea how to go about getting on the pill), and while we were strict with our condom use, there were incidents. I was 18, living with my boyfriend of less than a year in the basement of his parent’s townhouse, and in absolutely no way physically, emotionally or financially capable of having a child. We made the decision to terminate the pregnancy, and I have never regretted it.

Funny story, I found out I was pregnant by going to the ER for what turned out to be my very first bladder infection. To this day, I am abnormally paranoid of UTIs which also feeds my fear of alcohol – one of the side effects of alcohol in my system mimics the feeling of a UTI. Hilarious!

The act of terminating the pregnancy was not difficult, but dealing with other people was. I didn’t handle the news well, to say the least – even then I knew I was not destined to have children. As well, my doctor had been my doctor since I was 4 years old and being an old, old man from a completely different era, held the “very disappointed” card over my head and insisted on telling my mother. My shrieks of terror managed to dodge that spectacularly hot mess, but he was not happy about having to schedule me for the procedure. Nothing like disapproving old man guilt to make an already frightened kid almost delirious with terror – I am barely exaggerating when I say my mother would have killed me if she knew I was pregnant. Renee can vouch for me; she knows how it would have gone down.

Having an abortion at 18 was the best possible thing I could have done, given the circumstances. I had no job, no education, no real home, and no idea what I was going to do if I was forced to have that baby. While I was in a loving relationship, love alone is not enough to raise a child. I didn’t get pregnant because I slept around, or was promiscuous, or made stupid decisions. We used birth control, and it failed. We did the responsible thing for ourselves, not for the cluster of cells forming in my womb.

I’ve never mentioned the abortion on my site before, mostly because I didn’t want to deal with the backlash (real or imagined). A tiny part of me has been ashamed about it for years, but when reading the horrible things that were being posted by pro-life lunatics, I realized something important: the tiny piece of shame I once held is no longer there, and this is such a big issue that I feel so strongly about that I want my voice to be heard. Having an abortion does NOT make you a bad person, and I want every woman to have a choice beyond “choosing to not open your legs” or “choosing to wait until marriage”. Abortion is not “being lazy and using murder as the easy way out”. What kind of universe do we live in, where being forced to bring an unwanted life into this world is seen as a justified punishment for having sex? If children are as important as the pro-lifers think, wouldn’t they rather see those children cared for properly by people who love and want them instead of being stuck with it for life because of a mistake or a tragedy?

My name is Kimli, and I’ve had an abortion.

Thanks for reading.

abortions for some; miniature American flags for others

abortions for some; miniature American flags for others

15 thoughts on “vacation postin’ day 6

  1. Thanks for sharing.

    Scarier still about Harper is that 5 seats on the Supreme Court come vacant during Harper’s regime. Sorry, I mean “administration.”

    If he appoints them young enough, he can control the political climate of our courts for as many as 30 years.

    Yeah. Great week for democracy.

    Folks like us have to continue speaking out. Great writing, Kimli.

  2. thank you for your courage to “confess” such a personal and private decision. i have never had to do that but almost all my girlfriends have had one dating back to high school.

    shit happens….we deal…we try to move on. what we don’t need is the Regime telling us what to do,how to deal and stopping us from moving on. No one can make that decision for,nor should they have the chance. And financially speaking… assuming this is a money issue does the gov’t want to pay a one time $500 fee to terminate or welfare until the kid is 18? This is Canada, i thought we got past all this bullsh-t already? Why are we still dealing with the evangelicals and their point and judge attitude.

    PLEASE KNOCK BEFORE ENTERING MY WOMB,THANKYOU.

    A women’s right to choose is what separates us from the animals and that man is a wolf in ….fuck it, Wolfe’s clothing.

  3. Thanks for sharing Kimli. You have nothing to feel ashamed about. These right wing fanatical pro-lifers try to ram their religion and moral values down our throats. Who the hell do they think they are to tell us what is right for us. You made the responsible and smart choice given the circumstances of your pregnancy at such a young age.

  4. I’m catching up on blog reading after a vacation, and just wanted to say GO KIMLI. Thank you for writing this courageous post. I’ve never been in the situation of needing to make that choice, but I have needed the morning after pill (twice) and had a couple of scares when I was a lot younger which, if they’d turned out to be real, would have most likely resulted in an abortion.

    It is incredibly important to me to live in a country where I have choices, and if Harper tries to take those choices away, I will be protesting on the streets.

  5. hello kimli, I am a reader of your blog from time time, and concerning your pro choice stance, I have to say, I only agree with a abortions in rape cases or malformations, but merely because you choose to do it? how can people be so cold? of course only you can choose when to have a child but if you didnt want to, why would you get pregnant? please, clarify if there is something i dont understand. Thanks, and I look forward to keep reading you

    • My goal wasn’t to get pregnant – my goal was to have sex. The pregnancy was an accident, in every sense of the word. I wasn’t mentally, physically or financially prepared to raise a child, so we did what was best for us. It wasn’t a matter of being cold, it was a matter of knowing what was best for everyone involved (being myself and my boyfriend).

      If you’re going for the heartless angle, isn’t it more heartless to raise an unwanted or unloved child? What about raising a child in poverty, or on the streets? Wouldn’t making the conscious effort to bring a child you can’t possibly raise well be even more heartless than deciding to terminate the pregnancy?

  6. Jose, birth control isn’t 100% effective, even if using multiple methods (although I can’t remember ever doing so, because I didn’t think I needed to, noobs ever does). And accidents happen – condoms fall off or break (had that happen once, scariest two weeks ever), pills get missed (lost count!) or get dumb and

  7. Oops – stupid fingers – people get dumb when hormones are involved and don’t think about consequences in the right ways. However it happens, you don’t “choose” to get pregnant and then have an abortion – pregnancy is the heartbreaking, awful accident that totally ruins lives and relationships and futures. Abortion is not a great option, but it is often the best option. If we didn’t have such a sex-negative woman-shaming society perhaps adoption would be a better way to go, but a pregnant teenager is still treated as a pariah and called “slut” by her parents (just for example) so there’s absolutely no way that will become a viable choice for many until this changes. Your attitude that women who a abort are cold heartless people is a set of beliefs that’s part of that problem.

  8. Jose if you’re going for that angle…then what makes a baby born out of a rape unlovable? Or a less than perfect baby?

    Why is it ok to terminate THOSE pregnancies? It seems you are no different than those of us that are Pro Choice. You deem those situations unbearable,some might not. Kimli found herself in the same situation with a different history on how she got there. It is not up to me to decide what is right for her or you,only myself.

    This is about freedom of choice. Choose to look the other way if you don’t like it.

  9. Kimli,

    I wholeheartedly agree that it is a giant burden on society to bring a child into this world when it is not loved 100%, cared for 100%, and guided properly.

    O understand

  10. I understand that there are those who cannot have children of their own, but some women choose not to host a child that they know they never wanted, and will never see again.

  11. One of the things that came up for me while I was reading this thread is that there’s been a black/white comparison – either you abort or you raise an unwanted child. There’s also the option to carry the child to term and have him/her adopted. Just for the sake of full debate of options, I thought I’d throw that in there, not that I’m suggesting Kimli should have carried that fetus way back when (you might think she’s exaggerating but I know her mom and yes, there could have been murder or at least maiming).

    Regardless of the options or anybody’s personal situation, I think what it comes down to is whether a woman has the right to choose the reproductive outcomes for her body, with one caveat: it is NOT always a woman’s choice whether or not to get pregnant. Many many MANY women do not want to get pregnant yet they end up that way. And from that point on is where the material choice is made.

    I do not for a second agree that a fetus’ rights or a baby’s rights outweigh the mother’s rights. A fetus and a baby (call it what you want) is fundamentally dependent on the mother for life; if the mother’s life or well-being is at risk, so is the baby’s life and well-being. There can be no baby without the mother. Ergo, the mother must make the decision of how to proceed when a pregnancy arises.

    It comes down to the mother’s own values, beliefs, personal needs and life situation to inform her choice on what to do with that baby. There are many different ways to influence that choice but the baby dwells in that woman’s body and changes her body and mind forever whether it is aborted, born alive and adopted, stillborn, born alive and neglected, born alive and loved. It’s the mother’s body and mind who bears that impact, not the father’s body or the pastor’s body or the nosy neighbor’s body or the holier-than-thou pro-life activist’s body.

    That is why I personally am pro-choice and why it’s so horrific to me that our government has the power to remove choices systematically for the entire population.

    As Trudeau said, there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. Let me add: or the nurseries. Or the delivery rooms. Or the operating rooms.

    • Thanks Sue – you bring up a valid point re: adoption; one that I didn’t intentionally overlook but left out for the exact reasons you mentioned (murder and maiming!) :)

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