One Man’s Agonizing Collision With Abortion
The bony hand of fate reached out and tapped me on the shoulder. Actually, it grabbed me by the throat and shook me like a rag doll, choked me, and then slapped me silly.
“I’m pregnant,” my girlfriend said. She stood in the front room of her tiny flat, stonefaced, blocking my escape route.
They weren’t words, they were daggers, each one cold and blue, razor-sharp, and buried in my gut to the hilt. It hurt to breathe.
“How could …?” Wait, I knew better than to ask that. “What do you want to do?” I didn’t know what else to say.
She glared relentlessly at her feet as if they held all the answers. “I can’t have a baby!” she yelled as if that’s what I should have said in the first place. She looked up at me, demanding, white as a ghost, furrowed, with moist eyes as red as her nails.
I held her quietly while she sobbed. I was relieved that she didn’t want it but had no idea what was to come next.
Julie (not her real name) and I were college students in 1978, seven years after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. We had been dating for almost a year and were very close but not in love. Like most college students, we were immature, experimenting with relationships, studying hard, and trying to figure out how life worked and how we’d make our mark on the world.
A child at age 19 wasn’t the mark we were aiming for.
Neither of us had our future planned out. We had solid plans for the weekend, and a few ideas for the summer break, but anything beyond that was a fog.
Honestly, we were just having fun. But not stupid fun. She was on the pill. Over 99% effective they said.
Yet there we were, two terrified kids, tears dripping on the floor like drumbeats on a death march.
One possible future included the two of us raising a child. Would we be together forever? Probably not, but a child with a mother and father living separate lives wasn’t unheard of.
Neither of us had any money so at least one of us would have to drop out and get a job. Which of us would that be? Both would be fair.