The day I chose not to become a parent again was, in an ironic twist of fate, exactly one week after my husband had a vasectomy. We felt that our family was complete. That day, I became one of the one in three women in the US who has an abortion in her lifetime. My story is not tragic, my decision was not hard, and my abortion was similar to so many others'.
Like two-thirds of women who have abortions, I am a mom, and like 30% of women seeking abortion, my kids were a big part of my decision not to have another child. I knew that bringing a baby into our family would draw resources, attention, and even love away from them. So I prioritized my existing family, my first loves.
I walked out of the doctor's office after the procedure wrapped in relief. I carried that relief, instead of a new baby, into my daughter's end-of-year poetry reading and to my son's last baseball game. I am positive that, like most women, I would have learned to love the baby. I am also positive that I would have resented it, too. And that would not have been fair to any of us.
As the Supreme Court deliberates on the most important case on abortion in more than two decades, I appreciate how lucky I am. I did not have to travel hundreds of miles or run a gauntlet of vicious protestors spewing hate. I was not forced to wait three days because some politician thought I needed more time to consider my decision. I feel regret only in that so many other women in this day and age do not have the opportunity to make the choice that is best for their family, like I did.
The political rhetoric surrounding abortion so often leaves out the voices of the millions of women who are having them. We are frequently silent, rightfully so, because we are scared of what we will face if we speak out. We are mothers and sisters and daughters who want to be able to have and raise children when we feel ready to do so. There is no shame in that.
With a Perspective, this is Rana Barar.
Rana Barar directs reproductive health research projects at UCSF. She lives in Fairfax with her husband and 14- and 10-year-olds.