I was 17 in the summer of 1989. I had a boyfriend for about a year who my white mother didn’t approve of because he was Black. She had never met him, she just knew he was Black. I’m white which says to me that she’s a racist. One morning I was leaving for summer school and she came at me about him again. We argued and she lunged toward me and bit my arm. She wouldn’t let go so I grabbed her head and pushed her off of me. That was it for her. I could no longer be in her presence and ultimately, she kicked me out. My biological father took me in. Sounds ok, right?
He was living in poverty in Kentucky, an alcoholic, an abuser, a chain smoker and an ignorant racist, apparently. I started high school there my senior year and was amazed at how many teenage girls walked around pregnant in my new high school halls. There was an entire building dedicated to them! In my Richardson, Texas, high school there was only one pregnant girl that I knew of and now there was a whole building filled with them. A couple weeks went by and I realized I hadn’t started my period. My stepmother got me a pregnancy test. I took it and it was positive. It must’ve been that last night together when I was kicked out. We used a condom, but it must have broken. Now what?
My stepmother said, “You can tell your father tonight. We’re going to a baseball game so when we get back you need to tell him. I won’t say anything.” That was the plan but it’s not what happened. They both came home extremely drunk, and my dad started yelling at me. He said I had a n***** in my belly and now what was I going to do? I looked around his dirty home that smelled like dog pee and cigarettes and thought, There’s no way I can have this baby here. I told him I wanted to have an abortion and he said, “No, we don’t believe in abortions in this house. You’re just going to have to have your little n***** baby.” After screaming at him to stop saying that word in my presence, I told him I was going to leave. I called my mother in Dallas and explained what was happening. I didn’t know what to expect. “You’re flying back and you’re coming here, but you’re not staying here,” she said. So I packed all I could and moved back to Texas, but my mother only allowed me to stay for two nights. She and my stepdad took me to the abortion clinic. I had the abortion and came “home,” tired, bleeding and scared. I went to my old room and it was empty. My mother told me to sleep on the floor with a sheet and a pillow. “You’re going to live with your aunt in New Mexico because you are not staying here,” she said. So the next day, less than 24 hours since the abortion, I moved in with my aunt.
Today is July 2, 2022, and my mother has been a born-again Christian since 2005. Fifteen years after my abortion, she went to that same clinic and protested in front with photos of dead fetuses, yelling at women and girls. When she told me she had done that I asked, “Why do you think they’re all going there to have abortions?” She said, “Because it’s an abortion clinic, Bridget.” Like she was smarter than me or she knew more than I did. I said, “There are women walking in there that wanted their baby and miscarried. They’re seeking care to have the dead fetus removed from their body and you’re screaming at them with posters of dead fetuses.” She said, “I don’t believe that.” I told her that I will always support Planned Parenthood. Now, as an adult who is thankful for care I received there, I donate to them monthly.
My mother’s hate and ignorance has grown into a volcanic rupture since 2016. She has totally gone to Trumpism. In 1992 my father was arrested for embezzlement and served 3 years in prison.
So, why did I have the abortion? I had the abortion because my life was a mess. I had two parents in two states that were calling my pregnancy derogatory names. I had no money, hadn’t graduated high school and I felt like I wasn’t going to receive any help from them. They already decided that they hated it. That’s why I had the abortion. It was my choice, not their choice, my choice, and with that choice came strength and courage. I knew it was the right decision at that time and I still feel that way today at 50 years old. Because I know that if I were to get pregnant by my husband of 25 years, I would have an abortion again. The risks of issues for the baby and for me would be quite high at my age,
I’m a proud mom of three healthy and strong teenage boys and I love them with all my heart. They were my choice to have as well. Forcing a person to remain pregnant because of strangers’ Christo-fascist ideas is not what this country is supposed to be about, and I reject it. What the Supreme Court has done is force women to be pregnant. In a complete sweep of reproductive rights, the Court has ruled women are less human than men. That we don’t deserve to govern our own bodies. How in 2022 is this even possible? In 2020 we voted out a fascist president and in 2022, we have to vote out the seeds he planted all over the country. Let’s come together, organize and work to save our freedoms and even our lives.
Featured image by Julie Frontera
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