A woman named Mae writes about her abortion:
“… Despite my partner having used contraceptives, I was expecting a baby.
My first feeling was one of great happiness, swiftly followed by confusion; what would this mean to my partner? Our relationship was still in its early stages; who knew if there was a future in it? We were still finding out about each other; I didn’t want to force him into committing himself to me permanently…
I rang my partner and asked to see him. When he arrived, I told him my news: “I’m pregnant.” His response was matter-of-fact. “Well, whatever you do about it, it’s your decision.”
I have since realized that this kind of statement simply stems from a man shrugging off any personal responsibility. Rarely does it spring from respect for a woman’s autonomy.
I couldn’t pretend it was what I wanted to hear. At a time like that, I wanted him to show some emotion. I think it was fair enough to give me back the responsibility, but after all, the baby was his as well as mine.
His detachment only added to my confusion.…
Somehow, the path ahead of me was narrowing into a single channel – that of abortion. All the circumstances pointed to it. I had little to offer a baby in terms of a home or a father; although I hoped to keep my relationship with the baby’s father. So why didn’t I call a halt there and then? I could’ve said, “Wait a minute…”
But I can see now that there wasn’t any space to reflect. The clock was ticking by and I was told, “You’ve only got so many days in which to make a decision.”…
Wanting to please my partner… I listened carefully for nuances in our conversations about the situation. There were hints that an abortion would be best at this stage: he would say, “It’s still early in our relationship, so it’s your decision,” which I chose to interpret as meaning that he saw future for us. Left to myself, I made the abortion decision on an “information basis”, determining my future by sifting the information I had received.”
After the abortion:
“The relationship with my partner lasted another 18 months to two years… The fact that our relationship became destructive to me reinforces my realization that I made the wrong decision over the abortion… He just wasn’t the supportive, loving person I thought him to be at first.”
Melanie Symonds, Phyllis Bowman And Still They Weep: Personal Stories of Abortion (The SPUC Educational Research Trust, 1996) 27, 28, 29
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