By Guest Blogger Khadija Hassan
As I sit here and type away to my heart’s content, a myriad of emotions arise. I feel at once proud, strong, anxious, and apprehensive to the idea of sharing my story. I don’t feel any need to justify my decisions, but I know that no movement is paved without the sharing of stories so here goes a true (and epic) story of my two abortions.
To start at the beginning, I can look back upon my upbringing and see many missed opportunities for preventive care such as adequate sex education, open dialogue, access to birth control, comprehensive and available information, down to the very core of my family structure’s Islamic idealism of “hush hush sexy talk” as I like to call it. I would consider myself an intelligent and resourceful person, even at age 17 when I had my first abortion. I was with a guy and we had unprotected sex, but I had read up on the rhythm method and I knew when I was ovulating so I was certain I couldn’t possibly be pregnant. Wrong. On average, 25% of people using the rhythm method become pregnant every year. It can be difficult to keep track of your periods accurately and hormonal reactions can cause one to ovulate earlier or later so this method is not air tight! I missed a period and I felt like I had no one to turn to. My boyfriend was not exactly the most supportive, my family would be disappointed in me (or so I thought), and I felt too ashamed to tell even my closest friends at first. I quickly researched abortions, found a local Planned Parenthood, discreetly acquired the $150.00 that I was charged via the sliding scale and set my appointment only to be told that I had to have a parent with me. I lived in Tennessee at the time and they require parental consent before the age of 18. So regardless of my fear or restrain, my mother had to know.
Luckily, she was very supportive, but what about all of those daughters who really cannot tell their parents? How do they make decisions about their bodies without fear and isolation or punishment? I had my abortion and after some time and nine months of working at NARAL I realized many things about that day. I realized that most of my emotions rose from what everyone else was going to think and even what God was going to think. I realized that I spent so much of my life not talking about it when I really wanted to because of fear of people’s perception of me changing, but now I know that talking about my abortion when I feel the muse to just continues to drive a shining sword of equality through the stigma dragon!
I left NARAL feeling more prepared, and on birth control like no other with my most recent partner but as luck would have it, I became pregnant again. Still to my own negligence of proper use of contraception, but I had another form of birth control to fall back on. I had my second abortion. This time I didn’t feel the same worries and apprehension. I knew what I wanted to do. I was confident in the fact that I am capable of making decisions about my body and that abortion IS a form of birth control that I had a right to access and use. I did not have health insurance, but I was able to apply for DSHS Medical coverage which paid for the entire procedure. Honestly, I worried more about paying for it than my moral compass or emotional state. I was and still am very happy and certain about my decision. Luckily, Washington State provides resources for women to pay for these procedures.
I haven’t even gotten to the most epic part of this story! I don’t think God hates me! Isn’t that awesome? I could write on and on about my Sufi beliefs of love but I will just leave it at that. I don’t think the world shuns me and honestly I don’t care if some people do. Every step we take towards a more equal and loving world is lined with those who choose to stand still and yell mean things at you as you progress forward down the path. Maybe one day they will follow, maybe they will leave Plato’s cave and see all of the glory, or maybe they will stay looking at the shadows until we propose a new piece of legislation that puts some nice bay windows in that cave. We are taking steps in the right direction and I can attest to that just by my own feelings towards myself in these past few years about my abortions and how they do not define me but make me a more refined and interesting individual.