As a society, I can’t believe how far we’ve come in the last 50 years, and how one ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court has destroyed that.
The Constitution of the United States is there to protect the liberty of choice, and Norma Leah Nelson McCorvey, aka Jane Roe, must be livid in her grave.
People all over the world are protesting because women’s freedom of choice has been violated yet again…
Photo credit to Anna Brasier
As a way of helping people to understand why access to abortion is a fundamental right, I would like to publicly share my own story and my own involvement with this topic. Part of me is afraid that this may cause me to lose friends, disappoint or alienate people, but this is my contribution to this worldwide protest. It’s a story like millions that are out there, and it’s important to me that it is shared…
It was 1986 when ‘more’ was not enough…
The fashion was crazy bright colors, and you needed to be well accessorized. But most of all, your hair had to be big.
Rachel’s mom dropped us off at a fourteen and older dance club called the Ritz in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two excited 14-year-old girls and our first time at a club. We paid our $5 and entered the dimly lit dance floor, squinting at the moving lights. The fog machine made us cough and conversations ceased because the blaring music. We danced to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Dead or Alive and Cindy Lauper. Halfway through “Bizarre Love Triangle,” two guys approached us and asked us to dance. I had danced with boys at church dances before, but I was nervous because this guy looked cool dressed in white pants and a white jacket. He glowed under the black lights. He was cute, and he could dance. We yelled our names at each and lied about our ages. His name was Antonio; smiling nervously at each other, we danced most of the night together. When the club closed at midnight, we exchanged phone numbers.
Antonio went to Cypress High School, the opposite side of town from where I went to school, and we were too young to drive so we spent ten months talking on the phone and writing letters. The calls would last for hours in cramped positions, with the curl stretched out of the telephone cords looking for some privacy. I always wanted to know when we would see each other again. We tried to make plans, maybe his mom would drive him over on Saturday. But I would wait for hours only to be disappointed because he never showed, this happened more times than I’d like to admit. He always seemed to come up with a different excuse. These would be the first of many lies said to me by men.
One day, probably after I tried to break up with him after too many disappointments, he rode his bike to my house during the school holidays. My siblings were not home, and my mom was at work. After his big ride, he was tired and sweaty, and I got him a drink of water. I couldn’t stop smiling because it was hard to believe he was actually in my house. I gave him a tour, but he was mainly interested in my bedroom.
A teenage bedroom always tells a story.
I expressed myself through different shaped Avon perfume bottles lined up tallest to shortest on my dresser, walls plastered with magazine cut-outs and Prince posters. My favorite childhood toys sat front and center on my neatly made bed. All my secrets were on display and ready to be revealed if the right questions were asked.
My bedroom was my safe place, my haven, the only place I made the rules, and the rest of the family had to respect them.
I showed Antonio my favorite things, including a school award, pictures of my best friends and the first doll I still had. He pointed to my teddy bear on my bed, asking about it. I flopped down on my bed and cuddled Einstein while telling him the story about when I was two and spent a few weeks in the hospital.
He sat next to me, leaned in, and kissed me.
The kissing got heavier and heavier. Before I knew it, he was on top of me, his hands going up my shirt. I was trying to sit up, saying, “hang on—stop, I need to get—, Let me up! He had unzipped and pulled my shorts and undies down enough to get his foot on them and push them down to my ankles in one sudden maneuver. I was lying there embarrassed, half-naked and in trouble.
His pants were already off, and I can’t remember him taking them off. He laid on top of me, trying to kiss me again. Trying to pull myself up and out from under him, I found my head in the corner of the wall with nowhere else to go. His hands were wrapped tightly around my wrists and he kept repeating, “I promise you’ll like it once I stick it in.”
As much as I tried to fight him off, he was too strong. He had hipped his way between my legs. For all the struggling and yelling “No!”, I couldn’t stop him.
We should not have been alone at my house, in my room, or on my bed. I just never thought this would happen. I didn’t know we were old enough to do anything like that. After that, I realized there was a lot I didn’t know or understand about boys.
Once he was done, I lay there numb, holding back the tears. He rolled off me and put his pants on. I was frozen. I didn’t know what to do or what was coming next. As soon as he got up, I covered myself with the sheet and rolled into a ball away from him.
He turned and said, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I said, “Tell you what? I was telling you NO!”
He said, “No, that you were a virgin.”
I didn’t even know my sheets were covered with blood.
He got up to use the bathroom but turned and said, “This is your fault. You know, you’re just too sexy, and I can’t control myself around you.”
After he shut the bathroom door, I quickly got dressed. When he came out of the bathroom he said, “I’d better go.”
I think he was at my house for maybe an hour but I wanted him to leave. I needed him to go because I didn’t fully understand what had happened.
He left and I stripped my bed and threw my sheets in the wash; I jumped into the shower and cried, feeling very sore below.
Nobody told me this could happen. Not my mom, not my older sister, no one. I wanted to be liked by boys, but not like this.
Antonio rang me the next day, and we continued our phone calls as if nothing had happened. I didn’t know how to be mad at him because I liked having a boyfriend.
Weeks later, I started to feel unwell. The sickness didn’t go away and seemed to be getting worse. My friend’s older sister asked if she could take me to get a pregnancy test, and that’s when I realized how you get pregnant, even if you didn’t like having sex.
A few days later, I called the clinic from my mom’s bedroom. I shut the door and dialed the number while I hid nervously on the floor next to her bed.
“Not good news, I’m afraid,” they said.
I rang Antonio. He told me to get an abortion, his cousin had one. I didn’t even know what that was.
I called my mom at work and told her why I had been feeling sick. The silence was so thick and I heard her heart break over the phone.
My mom came home from work, and we talked. She was upset, of course, but had my feelings at heart. I felt only love and support from her. I told her what Antonio thought I should do. My mom came back to me a few days later and decided that abortion was the best option for me. She said I was too young to be a mother—my older sister had a baby when she was just eighteen. I trusted my mom. I had no idea what to do, so I followed her reasoning. After all, I was a child. Her child.
On a not-so-special Saturday, my mom drove me out to pick up Antonio in our wood panel station wagon. I slid over in the middle to let him in the front with us. It was a silent ride to the clinic on the other side of town. I went in. My mom & Antonito sat in the waiting room. This was something I had to do alone. I was in good hands. All the staff, nurses and doctors were friendly. They explained everything to me to ease my anxiousness, so I didn’t have any surprises about what was about to happen. The machine was loud, and the nurse wiped each tear. What had I done? How would God ever forgive me or love me again? I was a horrible person.
While in recovery, I asked to see Antonio. They told me he was gone. He had left minutes after I went in. I was embarrassed, cold, and damned; I wasn’t ready to face my mom yet.
A little bit of me died that day. I became a bit numb as the world became a colder place. I was no longer a child in a big curious world.
The U.S Supreme court ruling has brought this trauma back to the surface for me
It took me years to understand that what happened to me that day was rape.
My life would be very different today had my courageous mother not stepped up and made some hard decisions on my behalf.
I know that everyone should have the right to decide what is best for them and their bodies, and no one should be forced to do something they don’t want to do. As a virgin, I was forced to have sex when I didn’t want to, and without Roe, I would have been forced to carry a baby when I didn’t want to.
It’s crazy to think I had more freedom in 1986 than we now do today in 2022.