Thursday, January 24, 2008

roe, wade and me

Thirty five years ago, I had an abortion. It was the first of three in a period of four years. I could explain all of the circumstances in an effort to gain your understanding, but that's not why I'm writing this. I am bravely writing these words and still, still, I feel the urge to tell you that one of those was the result of being raped and one was because . . . because . . . and therein lies the problem. I feel that I must justify, must explain, must make you experience what happened to me in those years between 15 and 19 so you will not judge me, so I will not be diminished in your eyes because of the choices I made. I'm writing this because I am tired of the message ~ subtle and not so ~ that I should be ashamed.

It's not that I'm proud. I guess I am neutral. And I am not psychologically wrecked. My heart doesn't ache when I see an infant. I don't mark the dates as they pass, longing for the children I could have had. More than anything, I am grateful, so very grateful, that I became pregnant one month after the Supreme Court's decision that would, at last, legally allow me the right to choose what would happen with my own body.

Women have always had abortions, always, since ancient times. Whether Roe v. Wade ultimately stands or falls will change nothing except the quality of our lives as people who live with the potential of pregnancy. It will change the quality of women's lives and if we lose Roe, women will begin dying again because women will not stop terminating pregnancies.

I was essentially a child when I became pregnant, yet I had long been aware of abortion and the various means to accomplish that absent the clinics which came later. Friends from junior high had, variously, consumed poisonous substances, taken blows to the belly, jumped from a roof (with resultant broken leg and intact fetus), gone to Mexico, been flown to England for the dread late stage saline termination. There were rumors that the marginal physician downtown, a butcher by all accounts, would accommodate women in need for sexual favors.

In a short period of time, my junior high years, in one small town known for its high educational level, prosperity, and relative sophistication, one girl died as the result of her efforts to stop the life growing within her. The coathanger abortion is almost mythological, and yet Juanita punctured her own uterus late one Saturday night, bleeding to death in her bedroom. There were probably others, but I knew Juanita, a peripheral figure in my junior high set of friends.

I was lucky. Roe v. Wade was newly minted and there was a clinic 100 miles away and I had a parent who agreed that a pregnancy was unacceptable. The fact of being pregnant imbued me with a clarity about my life that had been missing to that point. I came back determined to rid myself of an abusive boyfriend, determined to finish school and convinced that the only way I'd ever have the kind of life I wanted would be to get the hell out of that Oklahoma town.

I am coming out of the closet with my abortions on this 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade because I think it is important to do so. Almost all of the women I know have terminated a pregnancy, yet almost no one talks about it except in hushed tones, one on one, and perhaps it should remain so. Yet I cannot help but think that we are at risk of losing this critical affirmation of privacy and the right to self determination because we are silent. We are silent out of shame or out of sadness, or we are silent because we are not ashamed and we're not sad and we're only grateful and that's really not acceptable in this country, this land where we exalt the potential life of a mass of cells and diminish the value of the woman who owns them.

It would be more acceptable if I could say that I am anguished about the decisions I made in those crazy years in my teens, that I wake up thinking of those potential children, that I feel something missing in my soul. I am not and I do not. I never wanted children and have always wished I could pass on to some other woman my breathtaking fertility. I do still have passing moments of anger for the doctor who, after considering my request for a tubal ligation, patted me on the knee and said "you're far too young, you'll find a fine man one day and then you'll want children." Had he honored my request, I would be writing this confession about a single pregnancy.

We will reduce the need for abortion when we make inexpensive, quality birth control available to all women of childbearing age. When we provide thorough, quality sex education to every student in every school, the need for pregnancy termination will diminish. I'm not holding my breath for those changes, despite the spectacular failure of abstinence only prevention programs. It is a farce and it infuriates me that politicians play games with something so intimate and personal as this. It is my uterus and any life within depends on me. It is my choice and mine only. I hope to God we never go back.

Okay, now that's off my chest, back into hibernation with my papa. Hugs.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. I did not even know today is the anniversay of Roe V. Wade? How I could have missed this I don't know.

I had 3 legal abortions between 1980 and 81. I was so grateful for Roe v. Wade, and I never, NEVER, EVER have felt a moment of remorse. Sadness, a bit perhaps - but not remorse. But I do not talk about my experience, nor am I sure I could wear a button saying "I had an abortion"...

Two years ago I accompanied my then 20 yo daughter to pp for an abortion. She was glad it was ended, but is still full of shame I think.

I have not told her we share this. Why not, I am not sure...

January 24, 2008 9:43 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Thanks for posting this. I had an abortion in my early 20s after getting pregnant because my IUD failed to do its job. For me, a woman who adores children and always wanted them, it was a heart breaking decision. I came out of the procedure weeping. But it was my decision. Not easy, not comfortable, but mine. And thank God I had a safe clean legal place to have it done, so I didn't have to die of blood loss or sepsis. I don't feel good or bad about it. What I feel is sad. But it is my sadness over my own private decision, and I was so lucky to have the right to make that decision.

I tell those I know will understand, I don't tell those who would judge me for it. But it's like being in the closet. Never a great place to be. And politically things are so tenuous now.... I'm going to ponder being more open about it. Thanks. you're a good woman. While you're taking care of your papa, don't forget to take care of yourself.

January 24, 2008 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. When I grow up, I want to be strong and brave like you.

January 24, 2008 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Ms. Lynette - this is an important date. I took a friend in college days (1982ish) to a good clean clinic and held her hand and lent another friend $400 crucial bucks so she could terminate and escape the abusive husband. Guilt for this in my Irish Catholic heart? Never.

That said - I completely support RU486 et al - but find the arguments for the final 34-40 weeks shaky at best. No one has been able to explain to me why we extract at huge expense 28 week 5 day old preemies and will them to live - yet abort almost full term for the "mother's health" ... even more odd - why do they make women with stillborn pregnancies go to full term and deliver dead babies?
This seems so cruel in the land of C-Sections. All facts from rational medical professionals would be deeply appreciated ...

and my jaw is still dropping re: Dennis K ...

January 24, 2008 11:53 PM  
Blogger belly said...

amen, sister.

January 25, 2008 12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's one of the very best statements ever made about what may be the most complex issue we wrestle with. I am totally in agreement with you about how ridiculous it is that you still have to go to lengths to justify for us your decision, and, also am in total agreement with you about the need for birth control accessible to all. I wonder what it would be like if birth control were made mandatory and if people had to apply for a license to be allowed to procreate, just like we do for so many lesser things like hunting and fishing and driving and hairdressing.

January 25, 2008 1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say it, sister. I did it in 1981 and have no regrets. Frightening times we live in. Thanks for the compelling, eloquent statement.

January 25, 2008 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are brave indeed to share with such searing honesty. Thank you. The statement is true: "IF MEN COULD GET PREGNANT ABORTION WOULD BE A SACRAMENT".

We need free, available birth control to everyone on the planet.

Thank you so much for openly sharing your life. My heart goes out to you because of the rape especially. You have clearly made your way through a lot of suffering and made beautiful things come true in your life.

I honor you.

Therese in Michigan

January 25, 2008 10:46 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I am so glad to see you back writing, and with such an amazing piece of work. Thanks for being so frank with us; it's inspirational.

I accompanied a friend to a clinic during her abortion when we were both in our early 20s. Another very close friend of mine has had four abortions. As a man, I can't sympathize completely because it's impossible, but I agree with you that while it's not something to be "proud" of, it's also no reason whatsoever to be "ashamed."

I'm so sick of this debate in this country and it makes me so mad sometimes that my blood boils and I want to hurt someone. A former supervisor of mine (male, needless to say) once said, "You'd have to be stupid if you can't avoid getting pregnant," and I think I was in total shock at his statement.

Abortion may be a sad event or any number of things, but it's really nothing to me compared to the tens of thousands of **children** who die around the world every week from 'minor' preventable diseases, diarrhea, or starvation. That's the real tragedy, and I wish I could pack up every wingnut abortion protester and force them to hold real, starving, "dying babies" in their arms every day for a few weeks -- to give them something **constructive** to do with their time.

Thank you again. You made my day.

January 25, 2008 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love you honey. Thanks for standing up and expressing a most heartfelt and honest argument for legalized abortion. It is a coming out of the closet of sorts, and if women weren't made to feel ashamed about this medical procedure, and were open and honest about it, I doubt we would be on the brink of returning to the back ally abortions of yesteryear. A women's decision in this matter is sacred in my opinion, and until men are able to carry a life in their bellies, we should never have the right to force a woman to bear a child. This is one reason why I will vote democratic no matter what; the judicial appointments. I also believe that contraception should be free, and available to everyone. So glad you took the time to come back and write this, you are my hero today.

I also find it remarkable that some would chastise you on this, even if they knew your history of social work, and all the heartache and tears you have suffered in standing up for the rights of abused kids unrelated to you. Absolutism for some comes easy, but it is something I will never understand or partake in. You make me want to be a better person.

January 25, 2008 2:58 PM  
Blogger M. Knoester said...

I am completely stunned. It took me some time to even start writing this.

Darling Lynette, of course you shouldn't be ashamed! There are so many things you said that just seem so obvious to me and it hurts me that you've been living with the pressure to feel guilty over something you shouldn't feel guilty of.

Of course you have the right to make that decision, of course you have the right to have it done safely and of course you have the right to feel it was the right decision. Why shouldn't you?

I have to admit parts of your story also felt strange to me. I don't know, or know about, anyone who's had an abortion. Unless they managed to completely keep me out of the loop, there are no family secrets, I've heard no high school gossip, nothing. On the other hand I have also been aware of abortion from a young age - it was something doctors did, or you went to a family planning clinic.

It was your choice to make and nobody else's to judge. Then, or now.

January 25, 2008 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. As someone who works in women's health - and as yet another woman who has had (an) abortion(s) - I want you to know how grateful I am that you had the courage to write what very little will say out loud.

And to the commenter before me... I think you'd be surprised. It was only after I began working for an abortion provider that women started coming out of the closet. Women in their 90s, in their 20s, mothers, grandmothers, poor, rich, and richer still.

If you own or operate a uterus in the US, the odds are good (50/50) that you'll also be in charge of an unintended pregnancy. More than one in three of us will choose to have an abortion.

Very few of us then feel safe talking about it. If we keep speaking up, that might just change.

January 25, 2008 7:56 PM  
Blogger m00nchild said...

i wandered into this story from out of left field of a humor oriented blog. obviously I was walloped.

you have a voice and an experience from which men can't write.

i don't think many people -- especially men -- take the time to really understand what i just typed. i feel like, in our culture's constant rancor over this issue, we lose the voice of women. or we shut it down.

i'm not sure why men can't shut up long enough to contemplate what it means to have a womb, what it means to be penetrated in the sexual act, what the consequences of it all can be, and how they effect almost every (heterosexual) woman.

some women oppose Roe V. Wade because of their own pregnancy experiences. and woman who support it because of the same.

reading your words as a woman, faced with difficult life choices, is very moving to me. how others could choose to read such words and walk away in anger, baffles me.

i for one would walk closer, offer my support, and ask you to please tell me more.

i'm going to shut up now. it's what i ought to do.

January 25, 2008 9:28 PM  
Blogger M. Knoester said...

I'm sorry, kat, I should have mentioned I'm Dutch.

January 26, 2008 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. No one except my parents know I had an abortion in 1977. I was 19 and it was my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy at 15 I carried to term and was forced to give my beautiful daughter away. That was agony beyond description for me. I could not do that again and I could not keep a baby at that time either.
I am not ashamed of the abortion, but still feel closeted. Thank you for expressing what I cannot.

January 26, 2008 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do thank you for your honesty and even admire it. And I am very sorry you suffered from being raped and could never judge the choice you made there.

But, based solely on what you have written here otherwise, I find your otehr decisions to be selfish, quite frankly, and am saddened that you feel no remorse from them.

I support Roe v Wade because, as you rightly point out, outlawing abortinos does not stop them. But, I also think that the day we begin putting our lives above potential new life is the day we have become a selfish, greedy people.

January 26, 2008 9:57 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

anonymous, there is such a push to be silent about this; i understand why you have not told your daughter. my sister terminated a pregnancy after she had two children. she has never gotten over it, but she simply could not have another child.

elizabeth ~ thank you for sharing your experience. i know that the decision can be agonizing, and i am so sorry you had to go through that.

kamrin, the good, strong, loving mommy. you are courageusly doing the hardest job in the world, bar none.

miss michele ~ that drug can do what nature often does, simply prevent implantation. so why all of the controversy? i can't help but think there's some effort there to control the sexuality of women. maybe not, but a big part of the shamefulness of pregnancy out of wedlock!!! is the fact that it is evident to all that sex has been had. bad girl. suffer your punishment. bring an (unwanted) child into a world too filled with unwanted children as it is. my years in child welfare have shown me the tragedy, agony, pain of children who are not wanted. every anti-abortion protester needs to load up on those unadoptable kids and put some action behind the judgment. that being said, i share your discomfort with late term abortion. my feeling is you've been undecided so long, just go on with it. but if there's some severe medical issue, that would be something else. i am conflicted about that, for all of the reasons you've suggested.

January 27, 2008 10:24 AM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

belly, yes, amen. i think of the millions of women whose choices were made dangerous by the fact of abortion being illegal. a terrible thing.

father tony ~ i feel blessed by your understanding. and you have precisely hit the nail on the head: having children should require a license and proof of parent-worthiness. lord, i have seen such horrors with kids, and yet we act as if everyone is competent and capable of parenting. it's outrageous.

anonymous, these are indeed frightening times. i fear for young women today.

therese . . . a sacrament, yes. and birth control for ALL, including men, and a rearrangement of the ridiculous attitude that a woman who fucks is a whore while a boy or man who does is a hero.

January 27, 2008 10:30 AM  
Blogger sageweb said...

Wow, great post. I agree so very much. I was a young girl and a magazine had published a bunch of names of women who had abortions. Billy Jean King was on the list. I remember this because my mother cursed all these women. I was heartbroken because Billy was my hero. But inside I was so proud that she was able to make a decision without her husband making it for her. Unlike my mother was ever able to do.

I hear and fear these assholes today trying to turn back the clock and give us biblical laws. We now have a drug that can prevent cervical cancer, but parents refusing to let their daughters get the shot because they think it will promote sex. WTF.

These people are the same people that will line up and vote for Huckabee or any random asshole elephant.

Thanks for such a lovely and meaningful post.

January 27, 2008 12:15 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

joe ~ i am always surprised and disheartened to find people who have lived through hell, faced all kinds of obstacles in their lives, then emerged to become hard hearted and judgmental and condemning of others. then there are folks who have faced obstacles and have been through hell in life and have emerged to bless the world with their kindness and understanding and a generosity of spirit that is the essence, to me, of humanity. you. that's you. you are a precious soul and i share your disgust at those who screech about abortion when there are so many children right here, alive today, who are suffering without respite. thank you.

tater bug . . . thank you, you know it means everything to me to have your understanding. one day maybe we can all get to the point where we recognize and respect the independence and humanity of others, no matter what they've done in their personal lives. even writing that, i'm struck by the insanity of it all, that our society is set up to judge and condemn us if we make decisions that are contrary to social norms. and you are right, i gave my heart and soul and 16 years of my life to the care of other peoples' unwanted children. there is no tragedy as great as a child unloved. more than anything, that is an argument FOR choice.

January 27, 2008 1:31 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

SK ~ there you are, in the "old europe," which is the exemplar in this country (used by the right wing loonies) of everything that's wrong with a socially responsible society. lucky, lucky you that this isn't even a debate where you live. it should not be. my body, my choice. it's funny that all of the raging on the right against government doesn't cause them to pause and think "wait! government in my uterus?? no thanks." alas, it does not and that's just further evidence of the schizoid society that i live in.

kat ~ i was going to tell you SK is Dutch but she dropped back by here to claim her marvelous heritage. it is odd, isn't it, how another human being would even dare to have an opinion about my choice, and one so personal. crazy, crazy stuff.

January 27, 2008 1:35 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

mOONchild, sorry to have walloped you when were seeking entertainment. but thank you for your very thoughtful comment. i have always wished that, for a single day, or maybe a week or so, the men i've known who are rabid anti-abortion people, could experience what it's like to have an entire society, a government, courts, interested in what happens on the interior of your body. that would be remarkable and enlightening and i can only dream. i am not one to discount the experience of the fathers when the choice is made to terminate a pregnancy. for those who have an interest in a child, i recognize it can be devastating and heartbreaking. but how, in the end, to fairly divide the responsibility for that child? i can only come to the conclusion that it is the sole responsibility, in the end, of the one who must bring that collection of cells, that fertilized egg, into the world as a human being. there's simply no other answer: my body, my uterus, my choice. it is an outrage to even consider legislating such an entirely private matter.

susannah ~ what a tragedy that you carried a child and had to give her away. i am so sorry to read that. i can't imagine what you must feel. i have met so many women who were shipped off to the "girls' schools" for that very purpose, who came back abject and miserable for the loss. my heart aches for you.

January 27, 2008 2:04 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

anonymous, reading your comments, i feel that old urge to explain and make you understand. this post, though, was essentially about the fact that i do not, should not, will not explain to another my very personal, private decision about what happens with my body. that's harder than you know. your opinion seems to be that i should sacrifice my life for 10 weeks growth of cells and that sounds cold ~ a growth of cells. but i can tell you from my work in child welfare that there is far more greed and selfishness that goes into the having of children than into the choice of those who terminate a pregnancy. and those children, brought into this world to meet the personal needs of the parents, suffer terribly in so many instances. i'm glad you support roe, even if to rescue the no-fault victims of rape and incest. i find it kind of crazy, and it speaks to our need to punish women for their sexuality, that victims get a green light on abortion while women who chose to engage in sex for pleasure should be punished by having kids they're not ready for or can't take care of.

sage ~ thank you. your hero billy jean was one of mine from early on. i will never forget her kicking bobby's ass. what a woman. i didn't know she had an abortion. that would have meant a lot to me at the time.

January 27, 2008 2:08 PM  
Blogger pastgirl said...

Thank you!! Keep abortion safe and legal. Plain and simple.

When I was in college in the early 80s, my friends and I regularly talked about our abortion experiences – without shame. Now I hear very little from anyone about this. The backlash worked.

I had an abortion in 1990, no shame, no remorse, no guilt – just relief – and sometimes a little bit of curiosity about what my life would be like if that option had not been open to me. Very likely very different.

January 27, 2008 6:22 PM  
Blogger LSL said...

Belle, so wonderful to hear from you again, and so touching for you to share what you have. Honestly, you always make me proud to be a woman.

January 27, 2008 8:00 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

Dearest Lynette - thank you for opening up so eloquently and honestly.

I remember a time when abortion was not legal back in Canada; when it was performed in back alley clinics or hotel rooms. Though, as man, I will never be able to comprehend mental or physically what a woman goes through in making that sort of decision (and it is her decision to make.) I was involved in a backroom abortion back in 1964 when I was 18. Its a complicated story involving my best friend from childhood, her boy friend who was also my lover, a backroom abortionist called Auntie Pat, the Holiday Inn in our neighbourhood and a procedure that endangered my friend's life and in the following years effected - right up to today - her health. And the psychological aftermath? Who will ever really know.

Five years later medical abortion became available in Canada and finally in 1989 abortion by choice became the law by exclusion more than anything else. There are people in the current government pushing for the recriminalization of abortion; for that step backwards.

Remembering those moments in that Holiday Inn room I fear for a return to the days when it was necessary to restort to an "Auntie Pat" and backroom abortions. I fear for a return to the days when a woman could not freely choose what should happen to her body. And I fear that people will remain silent for whatever reason and let it happen.

January 28, 2008 12:57 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...


What strikes me here is just how personal these stories are- your story, and the stories of all the women who commented, and how Goverments (and that hateful guy in a dress) have absoluetly no right to attempt to influence your decisions.

January 28, 2008 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IT IS tragic ANYONE has to agonize spiritually inside about this issue and why it happens. You are a beautiful role model for ALL women in my mind, and could teach ALL my Mormon cousins just HOW to truly be born again, i.e., get OUTTA that mind controlling cult and learn to think for yourself. THANKS for sharing such an intimate part of your life that it's HARD to do so. I didn't think I could gain MORE respect for you, but today it leaped. I wish I were there cooking a warm Pot Roast Family Meal for you AND your Poppa.

January 28, 2008 11:02 AM  
Blogger Red Seven said...

Thanks, Lynette -- I'm glad you can share this story on behalf of so many women who have aviailed themselves of the legal abortions which are their right but will never talk about it, ever, not even to sympathetic ears.

I used to be a big ol' right-to-lifer, then went through a period of avoidance around it not being "my" issue and have come out the other side, firmly in support of a woman's right to choose whether or not she is pregnant. And now, it's as much a class issue as anything else. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, rich women will still have the opportunity to receive safe abortions performed by doctors; it's the poor women who will pay the price, and it's just not right.

January 28, 2008 10:08 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I just wanted to thank you again for bringing this subject up. The comments have all been so personal, so deeply felt. I feel like I'm hearing the voices of the true "silent majority" all around me.

January 29, 2008 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 16 when I had my abortion, in 1971. Luckily, abortions were already available in California, and I didn't have to tell my parents. It was traumatic at the time, and I felt bad (but not sorry) about it for a few years; somewhat haunted, but still so happy to be free and not a teenage mother.

I'm 52 now, and the date --April 22--never passes without my saying to myself, "Thank god I didn't have that baby." I'm the mother of a terrific 14-year-old son, and I have never, ever regretted my decision to have an abortion. All my friends have had at least one. Not a single woman is sorry she made that choice, even though the choice is always wrenching. A friend of mine who is 43 just had an abortion a few months ago--she has two children and is divorced. No shame! It's a necessary move sometimes.

Fortunately, there are now drugs you can take that terminate the pregnancy if you do it early enough. Not having to go through the medical procedure may help with the emotional part.

January 30, 2008 6:54 PM  
Blogger Gothic Writer said...

I found this interesting, Lynette. Thanks for sharing from your heart. I would like to give you a big hug. I talked with a friend about your post, too. She's really progressive and has lots of progressive women friends. I asked her how many women she knows who have made the choice of abortion. She knew of one. We were both born in 1977. I know of three women/friends who have had abortions. I really think, from the comments, that abortions are more rare these days. From the 90s on-- I mean. I was in my teen years beginning in 1992, and the only abortions I know about are from that few years period of high school. Hmmm. This is interesting to say the least. Could abortion now really be legal AND rare? It does make me wonder, though, about what my mama's generation went through, and her mom's generation, and women throughout history... I bet there are lots of stories we don't know due to the shame. And that is the real shame-- the silencing of the voices of women and their rich experiences and wisdom.

January 31, 2008 12:03 AM  
Blogger dpaste said...


I was reading your post and reading the comments and thinking "I don't think I know anyone who has had an abortion." And then in a flash I recalled a cousin back when I was in college (she was much older) who confided in me that she was having an abortion. She was a divorced mother of two and was dating a guy casually. Funny how that was a memory that I really had to dredge up.

I was raised with a mom who always supported the right to have an abortion. Interesting. I usually avoid writing that phrase. I always go with "right to choose" because the right-to-lifers always want to make abortion an ugly word, but maybe we need to toss out the euphemisms and call a spade a spade.

It would also be in the spirit of your coming out of the closet motif; the medical procedure that dare not speak its name.

Abortion is not a great thing in my mind, but it is a necessary thing. I think it is not something to be entered into lightly, but it is something that must be made available to those who would benefit from it.

January 31, 2008 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Just wow. What an intimate, articulate and beautiful post.

February 01, 2008 12:31 AM  
Blogger Rosie said...

Thank you for opening up a difficult subject. I have a complicated gynie history myself and have ended up with 2 children who are wanted and loved. Many of my girlfriends are in similar situations. We are just ordinary women trying to live our lives responsibly.
It is a subject which is not discussed, but must be if our rights are to be protected. I live in France, where religion and state are very separate...

February 01, 2008 10:57 AM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

Lynette - as others have said, thank you for posting this. I really respect you for doing that; it's a message that needs to be heard in these times. Dubya will come and go, it's the Supreme Court that scares the shit out of me. I'm thinking the commenter who mentioned that the backlash has worked is on to something. Things are so polarized now, religion is being crammed down everyone's throats. Also, younger folks may not remember a time without Roe, didn't have to fight for it. It just seems like a given, but it's not.

You've articulated this so well - looking at the comments, it's obvious you've touched a lot of people, and it's as important a message now as ever. You've already said everything so well ... just thank you for saying it. Hugs to you.

February 02, 2008 2:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lynette, just when I think you can't possibly exhibit more grace, you do. I wish that every woman who has to make that decision could read your words.

And I wish that every man who thinks he has a say in that decision could read your words. Men who really love women support them.

Our job is not to damn them or make an example of them. Our job is to listen when they need us to, drive them where they need to go, and most importantly, remind them to hold their heads high whatever decision they finally make.

So nice to hear from you. Now back to your daddy!

February 03, 2008 10:17 PM  
Blogger Doralong said...

Thank you for sharing that Lynette, it's a powerful story that only makes me admire you even more. And it's one the generation behind us needs to hear, because those young women do take that right for granted. And don't seem to grasp that it really can be taken away.

I know quite a few women that remain "in the closet" and I respect their choice to remain so, but it is indeed a sad commentary that even now we women have to speak of such things only in the most private manner.

And as Cowbell rightly points out- the Shrub will be gone, but the legacy of that court will last well into my children's lifetime. And that indeed scares the living shit out of me, and has since his first time at bat. I actually ended up on anti depressants for about three months after the last election because I was so upset about the future of the Supreme Court and the long term effects for all of us. My doctor actually thought I was cracking up at the time. I find it terribly ironic that about a year ago he apologized..

Be well dear lady, and all the best to you and your Daddy.

February 07, 2008 10:38 AM  
Blogger Kanani said...

I admire your comments.
You are smart and wise.

February 07, 2008 12:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We will reduce the need for abortion when we make inexpensive, quality birth control available to all women of childbearing age.- This is IT in a nutshell. And it pisses me the fuck off that even now, 25 years after I had an abortion because I didn't have access to birth-fucking-control..women still do not have that access.

February 09, 2008 4:57 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

pastgirl ~ we are ever drifting backward in our attitudes and our acceptance of women's rights. another 25-30 years and we'll be back where we started from when i was a young woman. it seems inevitable. and tragic. how many times do we have to fight the same fights?

LSL ~ thank you, my friend. your words mean a great deal to me.

willym, jeff, mark ~ my sweet boyfriends. thank you for your kindness. that i can say these things and not be tarred and feathered is such a gift. i sense that you all get it, the outrageousness of not being in charge of one's body. thank you for that.

eric, it is most definitely a class issue. women of means have always had access to safer termination of pregnancies, even when it was illegal. it is women without resources who are driven to attempt to abort themselves, or to seek out the services of lay people who may or may not be competent. those same women may not be able to afford birth control, cannot afford to raise a child. we make it almost impossible in this country ~ even with legalized abortion ~ for those without money to get anywhere. i think of the ghetto grocery stores with their sky high prices and the extra service charges on everything from cell phones to cashing checks to paying bills. compassionate america: when you fall down in this country, we'll stomp you half to death.

anoonymous 6:54, you reminded me that my middle sister had an abortion after she already had two children. because she loved her little ones so much, she was heartbroken, imagining the child that might be. but because she loved her children so much, she recognized the limitations of the time and the resources and the fact that her husband was a jackass unwilling to help. i do know people who experience deep regret over the decision. but i know more who are grateful.

lisalgreer ~ that is interesting. i am trying to think of younger women i know who have had abortions and i can't think of any either. doesn't mean they haven't, but it is odd because most of the women i know who have talked about this issue with me are 40+ . . .

david, you are right. it is not a great thing nor something to be entered into lightly. and i think the feelings of the other(s) involved must be sought out and considered. in the end, the final decision belongs to the one with the uterus. nothing can dissuade me from that view until a point of certain viability. even writing that i think "birth control, birth control, birth control." that is the answer, and education, and easy access. it's lunacy to fight abortion without providing those things.

teddybear . . . thank you for stopping by.

rosie ~ lucky you, living in france. since your sarkozy has taken a page from george w.'s book, you all may be in danger in the future. i hope not. god rid us of the tyrants in this world. they're everywhere.

MC ~ i do think there's a tendency to take for granted this right, as if it can never be taken away. those of us who have lived in two worlds ~ with roe and without ~ are aware of the truth and, ironically, are mostly no longer at risk due to the fact of aging. i, too, fear the long term effects of bush's judicial appointments. not just on the supreme court, but at every level of the system. he has been far more successful in the lower courts and that bodes ill for all of us.

david in KC, you sweetheart. thank you for your kind and generous words. what a man.

DL ~ thank you, honey. the court thing keeps me awake. it is why i keep urging everyone, even the most ardent obama or hillary supporters, to vote democrat no matter what. we cannot afford even another four years of right wing rule. can't afford it. and then a part of me almost wishes it would happen so people would be shocked from their compacency into taking action. just a thought. i really couldn't bear it. vote vote vote vote democrat. it's our only hope.

kanani ~ thank you for coming by and leaving tracks. and dusty, honey. yes. in a nutshell. and when oh when will the anti people step up and adopt all of the "unadoptable" (read older, "wrong" color, difficult, traumatized) children languishing in foster care? and yet they want MORE babies in the world? and they don't want birth control made available and they don't want thorough sex education. what they want is for women to quit fucking, bottom line. fuckers.

February 10, 2008 7:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

What am I chopped liver? Jeez...

February 10, 2008 11:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said... did respond to me..its late..sorry. ;p

It's sickening that the Theocrats have the nads to make a big deal about abortion yet do nothing to care for those that were not aborted.

There is nothing worse than a child that is unloved..nothing.

February 10, 2008 11:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

that's what i think, dusty, but then i worked with those unloved, unwanted, neglected and abused kids for 16 years. neglect and indifference do far more permanent and severe damage than beating a child. i'm not sure the wounds to a child's soul from years of neglect will ever heal. and that terrible ache and longing is almost a prerequisite for addiction and all that comes with it. it almost sounds simplistic to say that cheap/free readily available birth control and thorough sex education could solve a whole host of our social problems, but i believe it. it's the same way that energy independence can be the foundation of an economic recovery and the solution to our problems with terrorists. too easy, too simple. fucking george bush. i hate that man.

February 11, 2008 7:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

As much as I can't stand Hillary, she has a good idea about energy independence and helping the economy..and it starts with stopping the corporate welfare that Big Oil gets, and putting that money into Alternative forms of Energy.

Those bastids get millions and they owe the govt millions in fee's they have neglected to pay. Friggin amazing..

February 11, 2008 4:12 PM  
Blogger TR Ryan said...

Big Ass Belle - your my hero!

February 12, 2008 6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dost thou ever check thine e-mail?

February 12, 2008 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tater has a new blog address click the link below

February 16, 2008 6:14 PM  
Blogger Java said...

Thank you for this post. You got me thinking. I hold no judgment of you or any other person involved in an abortion, though I used to. Before my mid-life philosophy re-evaluation I was much more judgmental about a lot of things.
I am still pro-life. I wish abortion wasn't necessary, but I know it is, and that's that. I have no answers. However, even in my youthful idealism I did more than protest, write my congress persons, and pray against abortion. I took positive action. My husband and I adopted two children who fall in the “hard to place” category. We’ve got two beautiful African American children, a boy and a girl. It has been an interesting experience. You’ve inspired me to write a new post about it. I will, if you don’t mind, reference this post and your blog.

February 17, 2008 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honesty.

I had an abortion in 1981 in Montreal, Canada. Here in Canada, we owe our abortion rights to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a courageous doctor who went to prison to change the law. Google him. His story is amazing.

Do I regret my abortion? No. Sometimes I think about the child I did not have, but mostly I know that it was the right and only decision to make. Eleven years later I had the first of my two children, both of whom I love with all my heart.

We must be ever vigilant to protect our right to abortion and ensure that every child receives good sex ed. That's what brings the abortion rate down, not draconian laws!

February 17, 2008 4:48 PM  
Blogger eric3000 said...

Good to have your voice back, even temporarily! Thank you for sharing your personal story.

Having an obortion cannot be easy and I doubt many women take it lightly, which is why I think it is libelous when anti-choice advocates use the term "pro-abortion." I've never met anyone who was "pro-abortion." (Anti-choice, on the other hand, is perfectly descriptive.)

I can sympathize with someone who believes a foetus is human life but that doesn't change the fact that a person has to have complete control over the biological funtions of his or her own body.

I'm just hoping Ruth Bader Ginsburg holds out another year.

February 19, 2008 8:41 PM  

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