When we debate abortion… I’ve noticed we like our terms abstract and universal: “God says” “Morality instructs” “Respecting women means” and so on.
But, the truth of abortion is the truth of pregnancy: every story is different. Every story is personal. Every instance involves real people. And for real people: love is messy, life is difficult.
So, I thought it might be helpful to step back, and consider this story. A woman needs help, and advice.
I’ve long been a fan and, for the first time, I find myself in a situation where I am truly stuck and unable to make a decision and wondering what your advice would be. To put it bluntly, I’ve been having an affair with a married man and am now pregnant. Having a child has always been my dream and did not seem possible due to medical issues, life circumstances, and, more recently, age. To set up the context of the relationship…
We started this relationship against our better judgments and our own moralities and subsequently fell deeply in love. We both understand the limitations of our relationship. His family comes first and our relationship is time-limited. We know it has to end soon but haven’t been able to break it off. For many years, I’ve told men, when asked about birth control, that “there’s nothing to worry about” or “got that covered” if I felt comfortable not using a condom. I know that the assumption was “she’s on the pill or something” rather than “she has a negligible chance of getting pregnant naturally,” but the latter is too complicated/painful to discuss early in relationships and I honestly don’t think much about it after trust is built because it is that much of a non-issue. Or so I thought.
Now this has happened and we essentially are down to two options: abortion or not. I cannot have an abortion. He cannot live with having a child he cannot raise. Neither of us could live with breaking up his family by coming clean. This is tearing both of us up. I want to be able to have the abortion because I hate seeing him in so much pain and there are moments when I think I can do it. Then everything inside me revolts at the thought. I know he was misled and that makes it harder for me to justify having a say in this. I know I shouldn’t have an equal say but I don’t think I should entirely lose any say. I can’t bear the thought of condemning him to a lifetime of misery and guilt. But I cannot accept having an abortion. I just can’t do it. But not having an abortion is the most selfish, most inhumane thing I can do to the person I love most in this world.
So I’ve agreed to start the process. I’m researching clinics, making appointments, etc. But I can easily see myself not being able to go through with it the day of. I’ve already fantasized about being dragged in and sedated long enough for them to get things moving so the choice is out of my hands. And I worry that’s what it might come to. I’m worried I might have to ask him to physically make me do it. And that’s not fair. None of this is fair and I recognize that much of the responsibility for this falls on me. But to me, this conception is miraculous and it may be my only chance at a healthy baby. Even if I can wrap my head around ever trying again, if I can forgive myself enough to try again, my age alone may preclude the possibility of having a healthy baby in the future.
I don’t feel I have the right to choose. The weight of my deception and his circumstances really should make abortion the obvious, albeit gut-wrenching, solution. But I’m still so stuck… I have to do it but I can’t do it. He deserves better than this but I don’t think that I deserve this either. What are your thoughts? It would help to have an objective opinion.
What would you advise this woman?