Sam | West Tennessee

People have a lot to say about women who have multiple abortions, but if it hasn’t happened to you, you can’t understand the reality of it.

The first time I had an abortion, I was 18 and in an emotionally abusive relationship. I had gone to the gynecologist when I started having sex at 16 and was on the pill for my periods, but it was doomed from the start—as a teenager, I could never take it every day at the same time. I don’t regret any of my abortions because they’ve made it possible for me to keep discovering who I am, and that takes a long time! But I do wish that I’d known more about other birth control options. Although sex education in my school wasn’t bad, we only really learned about condoms, and someone telling me to be abstinent would’ve only made me want to have sex more. I already knew I wanted to have sex and telling me not to made absolutely no difference.

My boyfriend had been manipulative and emotionally abusive, and even though abortion would’ve been my choice anyways, if I had wanted to keep being pregnant, he wouldn’t have let me. I’m really glad that I had that abortion because we were very unhealthily codependent, and it would not have been good to be tied down to him with a kid. All of my abortions have been medical; for me, it was like a really crampy period, so it wasn’t too difficult of an experience.

The second time I had an abortion, I was 21 and my boyfriend was 20 years older than me. When we found out I was pregnant, he left the decision up to me, and I chose to have a medical abortion again. He had an apartment downtown and I was recovering there during MusicFest weekend, but I remember there was a huge storm so it had to be evacuated.

The third time I had an abortion, I was 23 and had been dating my 33-year-old boyfriend for a year. He’d just gotten out of school and was deep in debt, so it was a bad time financially, but I also think he wasn’t emotionally ready to have a kid. He thought he was being supportive, and I know he cared about me and what we were dealing with, but it was really hard to get him to talk seriously about it because it had just scared the shit out of him. I got another medical abortion and we ended up dating for 4 more years.

People have a lot to say about women who have multiple abortions, but if it hasn’t happened to you, you can’t understand the reality of it. If you chose abortion once and have another unplanned pregnancy, it’s less intimidating to make that choice again, plus I already knew how my body would react to it.
Every abortion I’ve had was absolutely the best decision for me because I’ve been able to figure out more about myself. From graduating high school to my early twenties, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and having kids would’ve prevented me from exploring my options and getting better at things. For me, it was like, “You have a kid—and then what?” I wasn’t ready to have kids because I need to know more about who I am before I commit to soccer and ballet camps, and because of my choices, I’m able to learn something new about myself every day. People tend to say women like me are self-centered, but you have to focus on yourself to be the best person for other people; I can’t give myself to somebody else if I don’t know what I want.

I hope that sharing my story takes some stigma away for me and for other women who’ve had multiple abortions. People should be able to talk about the choices they’ve made, and I am not ashamed or depressed about mine. I am confident in my decision to have my abortions because I made these choices about my own body and my own future, and I deserve to feel confident about that.

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