I’ve never been to PEI, but I’m compelled to share my story in solidarity. There is such a culture of silence about the topic of abortion and it’s way past time that silence was broken.
I had mine when I was 19, the result of my youthful throwing caution to the wind, despite having all of the information and intelligence to know better.
It was an easy choice and an easy procedure, exactly the way it should be. I was living in Toronto at the time, and as soon as I knew I was pregnant, I called the Morgentaler clinic and made an appointment. I paid the $500 out of my student loan, even though my provincial insurance covered it. I didn’t want to risk a letter showing up at my parents’ house. I wasn’t ashamed, I just really didn’t want to talk about it. There wasn’t anything to talk about. I’d gotten myself into an unwanted situation and I was going to get myself out of it.
I don’t remember if there were protesters outside, but security was high at the clinic and I had to show ID for admittance through the locked doors. No one tried to show me pictures of smiling fetuses to try to stop me. The procedure was only mildly uncomfortable (I’ve experienced much worse dental extractions). I went alone and had a hamburger afterwards. And then I went on with my life, with a prescription for the pill in hand and a more cautious approach to sex, certainly.
My circle of friends is generally liberal, pro-choice and sex-positive. And yet, I could probably count on one hand how many conversations I’ve had about my experience in the 15 years since my abortion. We seem to have no trouble discussing the topic at large, but not our own experiences.
It wasn’t anything I ever had to “process.” I remember forcing myself to cry after I made my appointment, because I felt like it was supposed to be a big deal, but it just wasn’t. I appreciate that it often is for others, due to the kind of barriers this site is dedicated to exposing. It doesn’t have to be that way. Abortion is a safe medical procedure, and access to it is one of the most important elements of women’s agency.
My heart goes out to everyone who’s story is not as easy as mine was.
Erin – NS