I’m smoking a cigarette with a coworker on our break and she tells me her period is a week late. I ask her what she is going to do, how long she is going to wait until finding out if she is pregnant or not. Her response is that she will wait four weeks because that’s how long it will take to find out if she’s pregnant.

“That’s not true,” I say. “It took me only a day to realize I was pregnant.” I ask her what she will do if she is pregnant and she says she will have it. I get kind of confused, seeing how young she is and she says that since she is a doula and is gonna have children at some point anyway, then why not now?

Well, that whole conversation set me off to thinking about children, parents, abortions, religion and everything else that comes along…

When I was 16, one of my best friends from high school got pregnant and had an abortion. I remember meeting her to talk over coffee and cigarettes. When she told me, I just hugged her and said, “You’re such a strong woman. I am so proud of you, going through all this alone, without the stupid guy. Are you sure? You seem like you are. If I was the one pregnant I’d have it…” I remember seeing her eyes and her asking me why I’d have it if I was only 16. I used to be one of those people who’d say, “If I ever get pregnant I’ll fucking have it even if I’m 14. It’s a human being.”.

I did not grow up in a Catholic family- my parents were some hippies who hung out with other hippies in Spain, where I grew up—but as you might know, most of the Spanish population is Catholic, so the culture is very Catholic. Even if you don’t want to grow up with those beliefs or ideas, Catholicism is everywhere. So I was kind of a mixed up hippy believer.

I believed if two people made love and one of them got pregnant, then it was meant to happen. I If I ever got pregnant, I would have it. I could not kill a human being or soul that was growing or developing into a child. I knew that raising a child would be really hard but I thought, All a baby needs is love, and I got plenty of love to spare.

And then…I got pregnant. I was 19. Two months after September 11, I took a trip to Ecuador and Peru to get out of the States, find who I was again. During that trip I decided I would go back to the States, go to college, fix my paper status, and travel…

I had a lot of plans for myself, projects for the future—finally I wasn’t confused or lost, I knew what I wanted. And then, one day at the gynecologist’s office, I took a pregnancy test just in case. The boy I had been fooling around with and I had not been as careful as we could have been, so…just in case. I called the gynecologist the next day and this is how the conversation went:

“Hi, I want to know to results of the pregnancy test that I took yesterday.”

“Oh, it’s positive.”

“What? Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure. You are pregnant”

“You ain’t kidding me?”

“Of course I am not! Do you want to set up an appointment for a prenatal test?”

I didn’t even know what that meant. “Do you mean an abortion? Can I have an abortion tomorrow?”

“You have to call another number to set up an abortion and no, you cannot do it tomorrow. You have to wait 3 to 4 weeks. If they do it now the fetus would break into pieces and it would damage you, it is too small.”

“Shit…3 or 4 weeks to wait. Ok, I’ll call that number!”

Those first 5 minutes were really intense. I did not think about having the baby but about having an abortion. It was something that I had never thought about and was “against”, but in that moment, the decision came right from my heart—and it was right.

A month and a week of pregnancy is a lot of time to think. The boy and I had long conversations. The idea of having the baby was out there, I told him I thought maybe I could have it and just raise it on my own. He said he would be helping no matter what—but neither of us wanted to be parents. We did not want to be together anymore; we each had our own plans and wanted to live our lives. We realized that if we stayed together and gave up our lives to focus on the baby’s life, we could end up a miserable and unhealthy family. The guy (who’s one of my good friends now) and I would only have been together for the baby, and oh shit poor baby.

Although I have seen tons of young parents out there (and more in the radical scene) who get pregnant and decide to have it, many stay together only so the child can be raised by both of them-but what a fucking pity! Two people who don’t want to be together are together only for the child’s sake? Don’t they realize that the child could grow up realizing that and feeling shitty? I know a lot of young people who got pregnant and decided to have the baby for a number of different reasons. Some not the healthiest: they were against abortion; they grew up catholic; they wanted to keep the other partner; they wanted to feel more whole as a woman or human being; or…boredom. I was just talking to one of my good girl friends a while ago and said I feel really sad about all these young people I know that now feel miserable because they have babies, and how there are tons of babies out there who need parents. I said that so many of us can’t even take care of ourselves, so how are we ready to take care of smaller people, when she told me that she had also had an abortion. She was only 17.

In Spain (and other countries), as well as some of the states in the US, if you are under age 18 and get pregnant, you cannot have a “legal abortion” without a parent’s signature or consent. Let’s say you tell your parents and they are Catholic or anti-choice? They might make you have it or kick you out of the house and disown you. So some women choose not to tell their parents and end up having super-expensive illegal abortions that could totally fuck them up. Or women almost kill themselves by drinking liters of pennyroyal oil. Or they end up keeping the baby because of a fear of Catholicism declaring women dirty if we have sex before marriage, or sinful because we choose not to have it. What gets me the most are three points that my friends brought up to me in a recent conversation: age, money and religion(culture).

>Age. Who’s to say how old we ought to be to have children? The system? The man? A system ruled by Patriarchy? Fuck that shit. So, we gotta tell our parents we don’t want to have a baby because we are only 15 and having fun, it was all a mistake, we gotta tell them so we can have a legal abortion. But oh wait! My parents are super catholic, they’re against abortion. Oh shit..What are we gonna do? Bye bye to my life.

>Money. Fuck bureaucracy and all that crap. My friend had to pay more than $300 because she was a minor and didn’t have health insurance. That is money that most of the population doesn’t have to spare. So, are they fucking privatizing Freedom of Choice as well? What the hell!!. So, let’s say a person is totally broke, or doesn’t have a SSN or any insurance at all, then the best option for them is to bring a baby into this world? Whatttttttt? >Religion. Fuck the Pope and everyone. Fuck the whole Catholicism brain wash piece of shit, making young women feel dirty and bad because they get pregnant or are sexually active early in life, and for teaching generations of people that “killing” a fetus is a “sin.” And who’s to say that, the Pope?..That person there, a male, some one that will never get pregnant (at least not nowadays, maybe later with Genetically Modified Technology), will never have to worry about a late period, will never be treated like a piece of shit for carrying a fetus …Oh please, let the women be.

I think about and give my thoughts to all those strong women in other countries or in jails, cultures and religions where abortion is taboo and women don’t have the privilege or the option of choosing. I also know, even when we can choose, there are
a million pressures from the outside preventing or making women feel guilty for having abortions. I just know that I am damn glad I made the choice I did. I think about what I am doing right now in my life and “a baby” does not fit in that picture at all. It took me a year to get over it, but it was not as dramatic for me as other people often picture it, not even physically painful. I do not regret my choice. I do wish I had known about herbal abortion more but I didn’t, so I had to deal with the hospital shit: I slept through the operation and woke up “un-pregnant.”

I woke up from a dream. I had been stuck to an idea of abortion that I didn’t even understand. Becoming pregnant made me realize that not only is love important and necessary to take care of a little human, there are other issues imperative in the raising of a child. Things like community support, economic support, a stable home and family, and even more important—being ready to have and raise a kid. I do not feel bad about having an abortion, I now have a lot of respect for it and see it as a big challenge that forced me to open my eyes and helped me be more realistic. Now I don’t think that having an abortion is killing a human being, now I realize that it is about being mature, having choices and making choices. I also realize that a fetus is just the beginning, if it’s not wanted then the world will regret it…and I didn’t want that to happen. . *Solidaridad para mis hermanas.