Let’s Talk About Abortion

Let’s talk about abortion.

Reproductive choice is fundamental to women’s opportunity and equality. I believe that is why it is currently under attack in Congress.

I am here because abortion was illegal; I was born at a home for unwed mothers. I was adopted by a couple who never did understand why I was not the child they wished for. One like them.

When I tried to contact my birth mother 10 years ago, she could not bear to meet me or tell anyone about me because she was so ashamed of getting pregnant and still in pain about giving up a child. I do not know her name. My birth father does not know I exist.

While I understand this intellectually, I will never get over it emotionally – to be given up twice. I am grateful for my life. But the pain of abandonment and the difficulties of being adopted are complex, damaging to all involved, and nearly impossible to explain to someone who has not experienced it.

I’ve had two abortions and have no regrets. Both pregnancies were due to antibiotics interfering with birth control pills before they knew that happened.

The first was soon after I passed the bar and while I was still drinking heavily and doing drugs. I was not ready to get sober, was definitely not ready to have a child, and would probably have had to give up my career as a lawyer.

The second was at the end of a difficult relationship while I was just starting (and failing) to get sober. I did not have the physical, mental, or emotional capacity or tools to be a mother.

I struggled with both decisions because of my own origins, but I knew at the time, and still believe, it was the right decision.

I have battled depression and anxiety my entire life (thus, the drugs and alcohol), and can say with certainty I would not have survived trying to practice law, get and stay sober, and do the work to become me if I had also been trying to raise a child then.

I would not have helped the people I’ve helped or loved the people I love. Like you. It would not have been possible.

The question of abortion is complex. I respect the views of people who are opposed to it on religious or spiritual grounds. But the decision on whether to have a child should be an individual decision based on the circumstances of that person (or people), in that life, at that time.

To presume to make such a decision for someone else is a violation of the very freedoms that so many abortion opponents hold dear.

I do not understand why some people think they know what God’s will for me is and that they are entitled to legally regulate my body based on religious belief. If they truly believe in an omniscient and omnipotent God, then I’m pretty sure She can handle this on her own.


About Heather Bussing

She is an attorney, writer, editor, and photographer. Follow her on Twitter.