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Opinion: Protests only one side of a complicated story

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Editor’s note: The author’s name is being withheld to protect her privacy.

On Tuesday, demonstrators on the Oval displayed graphic footage of abortions on a Jumbotron.

One Wednesday in October, two women and I sat scattered around a waiting room.

It was the waiting room you went to after you waited in the main waiting room. Healthcare involves a lot of waiting.

“Sometimes things fall apart so other things can fall together,” read the wooden sign above the TV where Maury Povich was talking.

“Latasha is here for the third time to find out if any of these men are the father of little Damari.”

We all watched the TV. We all watched Latasha’s life fall apart.

It seemed sickly ironic.

“In the case of little Damari,” Maury said, reading the DNA results that just came in. “You… are not the father.”

I knew the father. I loved the father. But my life still seemed to be falling apart.

————

Founder’s Women Health Center is one of two abortion clinics in the Columbus area. The other is the Planned Parenthood on Main Street. In the state of Ohio, a woman must wait 24 hours after her initial appointment to have the abortion procedure done.

The initial appointment involves blood tests, an ultrasound and counseling. Nurses must ask if the woman would like to see the ultrasound.

I saw the ultrasound. The nurse pushed hard on my belly, trying to find anything. She eventually found a blob. A little black blob as if there was a black hole in my belly.

The little black blob is what made me rush to bathrooms before and after class the week before.

The little black blob is why I had twice my usual appetite and half my energy.

The little black blob contained no fetal matter. There weren’t fingernails like pro-life demonstrators told Juno. There was only the beginning of an embryonic sack.

But that didn’t stop protesters outside the clinic from telling me I was destroying a human life and would regret it. They parked all along Broad Street.

When we parked, I saw that the red pickup truck in front of us had a bumper sticker that boasted “PRO LIFE.” What kind of life would I be giving to this blob, sir? Did you think about that? Yes, I did think about adoption. But because of my health conditions, there’s no guarantee that the blob and I would survive a full-term pregnancy. Would you be at my funeral, sir? No. You just want to enter my life on this day, the worst day of my life.

You just wanted to approach me to tell me that I can’t do what I’m about to do. You just wanted to shock my fellow classmates out on the Oval with horrific footage. You didn’t want to learn about me and you wouldn’t care about me if I miscarried a week later.

I was 19 years old. I did the math. The blob would be born in July — pretty convenient timing. But this wasn’t a puppy. I couldn’t house-train the blob in a couple of weeks and then leave it to fend for itself while I go onto my junior year at The Ohio State University.

I wouldn’t be paying for puppy training and puppy food and puppy toys. I would have to provide years of education, math tutoring, violin lessons, healthcare, dental care, braces, retainers, clothes that would soon be outgrown, shoes that would be outgrown even faster, healthy food that would be fed to the real puppy under the table, McDonald’s Happy Meals, and the list goes on.

I would be responsible for a human life.

I sometimes forget to look when I cross the street, I’ve avoided my primary physician for years and I’ve eaten just candy some days.

“You were also stupid enough to have unprotected sex.” You got me there, reader. It felt good at the time.

If it makes you feel better, that choice also gave me the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.

I laid on the table with my legs spread. The doctor numbed my cervix with a giant needle and I screamed bloody murder.

“You absolutely cannot scream,” he scolded me.

So I cried.

I cried every day the week after.

I still cry. My decision was anything but heartless.

————

More than a million women in the U.S. have abortions each year. It’s important to talk about it so you don’t just hear the protesters’ side. I value their right to say what they want to, so long as you listen to me, too.

I don’t regret my decision. It was the right decision for my situation, however painful it was.

I don’t want you to think I didn’t want what the blob could have been.

In a ninth-grade class presentation, I said that what I wanted to do most in life was be a mom. It was because I had such a great relationship with my mom. My mom is my best friend.

Until last week, my mom didn’t know what I had done or what she could have had.

But I’ll still be a mom. I’ll teach my son that it’s OK to be sensitive. My daughter will know that she comes from a long line of strong women. Both will know that I love them with my whole heart.

In order to be the best mom possible though, I need to be a student right now. I need to carry these pieces with me.

I needed to have that abortion.

I need to believe that the pieces will fall together.

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