To humanize this discussion, I asked people to send in some real life stories. I have not even typo corrected these. Please understand these are as REAL as I can provide.I grew up in a working class family in California. I am one of four children (my parents had only planned for two). After my eldest siblings were born, my mother went on birth control pills. Unfortunately, she found out she was pregnant again 14 months later. She had an emergency C-section when my brother was less than six months in utero. His chances of survival were very low, and he remained in the hospital in an incubator for five months. My mother resumed birth control, but then got pregnant with me. After I was born she had an IUD put in (in addition to taking the pill), but became pregnant a fifth time. By then, four young children were straining my parent’s finances and affecting their sanity. They felt they couldn't manage a fifth child, and my mother felt she couldn’t handle another pregnancy. It was still prior Roe vs. Wade, and in order to prevent the birth they had to go to Mexico to have a coat hanger style abortion. Thankfully, my mother survived. I was 21 when I had my first serious boyfriend…at least I thought he was serious. I was just beginning my career, and, using birth control. I was travelling in and out for work a lot, and on one trip back I discovered that my boyfriend had become a heroine addict, and was hiding it from me. I ended the relationship immediately, and flew home to my family. Within days of arrival, I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant. I was so devastated. I had always wanted a baby…but not like this and not with a heroine addict. My mother took me to a local private clinic, and helped me through what is a traumatic experience for any woman. I found out some years later that this ex-boyfriend had been diagnosed with HIV. When I heard, I felt like I dodged a bullet. I was so thankful that women like my mother had stood up and fought for Roe vs. Wade in effort to save my generation from the humiliation and danger that my mother was subjected to when my parents made their choice. I went on to have a very successful career in the years that followed, something I couldn't have done as a single mom. Eventually, I met the man who would become my husband, and we had two beautiful children together. The eldest had a lot of complications at birth, which continued for five years afterwards. I had stopped working to have a baby, which strained our income. We were already so drained with the medical issues and sleepless years with our new child when I found out I was pregnant again. Just before the second was born, we had to sell our house. We also had a new business we were running, and eventually became too overwhelmed to bridge the gap. Sadly, after years of struggling, strained finances drove us to separate. A few years later on the day my grandmother died, a stranger raped me. He used a rape drug. I was completely traumatized, but thankfully not impregnated by this psychopath. I certainly wouldn't have wanted another abortion; however, I would have exercised my right to prevent the pregnancy. Already a single mother, I would find it highly irresponsible of me to consider birthing another child without a father that could support it. I already had two that I was having trouble feeding and caring for. For over the years, I've been able to provide health insurance for my children, but not for myself. I have made sure they were fed before me, which left me unfed much of the time. As a result, my health suffered greatly. I would have been in no position or condition to carry a pregnancy to term. Thankfully I live in a state that supports women's rights, and the law. If the nearest clinic were 1000 miles away, and I’d needed a medication to prevent pregnancy at first signs, or at all, I wouldn’t have been able to afford the gas. Not only would the emotional trauma from the rape have been that much more damaging, but my family would suffer so much more by my not being able to work, and the additional cost of another child. I was already drained and working 20 hours a day to keep afloat. We still struggle, I still have to work extremely long hours, and we’ve never been on welfare. There is so much love in this family, and frankly, we have suffered enough. We just need a fighting chance to improve our lives. As my kids say: "We don't need another sibling; we need a healthy Mommy".
Please share YOUR story with firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make your story into a blog post. Stay as general as you like. No need to identify anyone. I’m changing names to start with A-Z as the case may be.