In 1995, I had an abortion. Until I wrote this sentence out for a public audience, only a small handful of people in the world knew this historical fact about me. What led me to seek out and get an abortion isn’t important. What is important, to me, is that I now have a daughter and I am fearful that she will never know what it feels like to have legal rights over her own body.
With a new Supreme Court that is poised to tip its balance toward the right there is a strong likelihood that Roe v. Wade will be overturned and that American women will no longer have access to safe and legal abortions. As I look at my daughter and I think about her future, I want her to know a few fundamental things.
I want her to know that as her mother, I will always be a voice for her needs. I’ll raise her in a body positive home where we don’t worry about weight because we put a higher priority and value on other, more important things. Kindness and humour, fairness and intellect are what we value in our family and those fundamental virtues will be intimately familiar to her.
My daughter should know that she is being raised in a family that has generations of tough women whose arduous battles to raise their families despite famines and wars, religious and ethnic prejudice. She has strong roots and I will make sure she’s keenly aware of them.
Her body is hers and hers alone no matter what a court of nine people say. Even if her access to a safe and legal abortion is disrupted by the injection of politics into law, she should still know that it’s her fundamental human right to choose when and if she wants to have a child. That’s a right worth fighting for.
I want my daughter to never doubt that her sex education will be thorough and include not just the mechanics of how her body works but how to keep it healthy and strong. She’ll need to know how to choose friends and romantic partners who aren’t toxic and who will support her passions and be always in her corner.
Ultimately, I want my daughter to feel empowered to decide for herself when she has sex and with whom. But more than that, I want her to feel empowered to choose when and if she has her own children.
I shudder to think about the consequences of her not being able to make the right choices for her or worse to make her choice and have her ability to see it through disappear because our laws take a giant leap backward.
As a mother, the potential for the Roe v. Wade decision to be challenged and likely overturned fills me with fear and sadness. Of course, I would never want for my daughter to be in a position where she has to choose between carrying a child to term or an abortion. Having had to make that choice for myself so long ago has haunted me throughout my adulthood. I feel equally guilty and also grateful because I know that at 15, I was woefully underprepared to be a mother.
I’ll be watching the Supreme Court take its new shape while holding my breath along with millions of other American women. My hope, as a woman and as a mother, is that the courts allow women to continue to decide for themselves what they would do when faced with a positive pregnancy test.
In the meantime, I’ll be raising my daughter to know her body and to know her voice. And I’ll be praying that she never has to use her voice the way I once had to.