Revelations: Abortion isn't easy
I've never had an abortion.
But in a galaxy far, far away, in what feels like a million years ago, I experienced the scariest few days of my life.
I thought I was pregnant.
My period was late, my body hurt, and I didn't have years of sex-having experience under my belt to refer to for guidance.
So I asked my much more experienced girlfriends, who guided me to the nearest pharmacy's pregnancy test aisle.
As I stood in the empty bathroom considering my future as a 20-year-old single mother, I allowed all the options to pass through my mind.
And yes, one of the options I considered was abortion.
Men will never understand the fear a woman experiences waiting by a urine-saturated stick for three minutes praying the "other line" doesn't appear.
That one extra little dash on a stick means terrifying, life-changing moments may follow - imminent shame and disappointment from fathers and mothers and siblings; secrecy and lying; announcements to the baby's equally unprepared father, thoughts of poverty and non-graduation from college; losing girlfriends who no longer want to hang around the pregnant girl who can't be their wingman for the next nine months; the expense of healthcare and delivery and feeding a child for the next 18 years; future dating and marriage and reconciling the possibility of being a single mother for a very long time; adoption and the pain of giving up a child after nine months of extreme physical and emotional stress; stretch marks and hemorrhoids, swollen ankles, big noses and generally getting fatter - and yes, all of these thoughts run through your mind in seconds.
And then your mind goes to abortion.
It's agonizing. It truly is. And men will never fully understand.
I'm lucky that I didn't get pregnant and never had to make a choice.
And I feel blessed today, knowing that I eventually came into a relationship with God and found such a resounding faith that I know if I were to ever be in that situation today, albeit highly unlikely, I would not choose to terminate the pregnancy.
And I'm lucky I have a wonderful man in my life who would support me and our child, even if he wasn't ready.
Even if we were both terrified.
But I also know there are many other women in this country who will have their moment in the bathroom waiting for the other line to show up on their stick who will not make that decision.
They will choose to abort - no matter what.
And they may hurt themselves in the process. Their situation may be so terrifying or dire that they go to dangerous extremes for an abortion.
So am I saying I'm pro-choice? Yes.
Am I saying I'm pro-life? Yes.
Am I saying that I think the government should get involved in women's reproductive rights? I'm undecided, especially since the majority of our lawmakers are men.
It's such a tough issue for me to fight for because, ultimately, I want all pregnant women to keep their babies and let the pregnancy run its course. Even if they decide to give the child up for adoption. In my utopia, this is my desire.
But please know if you're pregnant right now and considering abortion, you are the only one who can, and should, make the decision about ending your pregnancy.
It is no one's business; it's your legal right, and no one can understand your current situation better than you. So make your own decision, weigh your options fully, consider that things can and do change regularly and help and counsel is available.
Whatever your choice, abortion does not make you a terrible human being, and you will not be any less loved or accepted by God.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org or @jenniferpreyss on Twitter.