>Three young women, all coworkers, celebrated a colleague’s pregnancy by sharing their own baby stories.
“Shelly” told about finding herself pregnant at 18 in her senior year of high school. When the young couple decided to become sexually active, she looked into getting birth control. It was too late. She found out that the old wives’ tale wasn’t true: she did get pregnant the first time. She made plans to marry her boyfriend, got prenatal care, and gave birth to a lovely baby girl. The wedding plans were cancelled when she realized they were not really suited to make a lifetime commitment, and raised her daughter through toddlerhood before meeting and marrying the man who would adopt the girl as his own.
“Lily” was in her early 20s when she found out the baby was on the way and pushed up the wedding plans already in place. Soon after her son was born, she found her husband cheating on her, realized the shotgun wedding had been a mistake, and left to raise her son on her own.
“Jenny” was in college when her birth control failed. Her boyfriend left her, and she decided to give the baby up for adoption. Nine months later, she did so.
These three young women could have opted for abortion. None did. But not all young, pregnant women have the resources, the family, the health insurance options that they did. All three worked in a low-paying field (child care) that nevertheless allowed them some crucial benefits such as health insurance and discounted child care. They lived in a city with good access to low-income housing and many support networks for families in need.
Many, many girls and young women don’t have the advantages that these three did. Many girls and young women have no options: no insurance, access to prenatal care, even housing for themselves and their children.
It is for those young and younger women that abortion needs to remain safe and legal. I fully believe that no one wants to abort, but some, very few, simply must. For those few, the law must preserve the option to control their own bodies, their own outcomes.
Governor Palin, do you hear me? Many families lack the privileges you and your daughter enjoy. The health insurance, the securely employed and supportive family members, the opportunity to continue working without discrimination for becoming pregnant. When you chose to raise your child with Down Syndrome, you knew you could handle the challenges. When your daughter Bristol became pregnant, she also enjoyed health insurance and a supportive family.
Walk a mile in the shoes of the pregnant teen who gets kicked out of her home. Walk a mile in the shoes of the mother with an illness that makes pregnancy risky for both her and the baby. Walk a mile in the shoes of the family with no insurance who can’t afford prenatal care and will have to go into debt to give birth in a hospital. Walk a mile in the shoes of the victims of domestic abuse, trying to protect their children, unable to provide for and protect another. These are the women for whom support needs to be in place. And for those without options, abortion needs to be there: safe, legal, and rare.