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abortion: where do you stand?

Abortion. The word alone inspires a reaction – good, bad, whatever – but despite gender or age, social, moral or political beliefs, you’d be lying to yourself if you thought you didn’t have an opinion on the topic.

I know that seems like a blanket statement, but I used to think I was one of those people who didn’t feel strongly about the topic. I have been thinking a little bit more about abortion because of the new cripplingly conservative legislation recently passed in my former home state of Arizona, but I can see both sides of the argument quite clearly and have always stood somewhere in the middle. I believe that a woman should have the choice about when she has a child, but I don’t think abortion should be used as a form of birth control. I know that personally I would have a hard time consciously deciding to abort a new life, especially if that life was conceived in love, although I also know I am not ready to have a child right now.

Someone recently challenged that view in a very poignant conversation over this past weekend, and I was pretty shocked because I’ve always thought my feelings on abortion were moderate enough to resonate with all viewpoints. But having to defend my thoughts and where I stand on abortion as a woman and especially as a feminist forced me to think about my feelings on the subject more deeply than ever before. This conversation allowed me to see some new things about myself and my life that I can only determine are reflections of “growing up”.

I had never given abortion and myself much thought up until that conversation because I have never been faced with that situation, but the whole experience made me start thinking about it more seriously because there are no “excuses” for me now. I am out of university, I fully support myself, I am healthy, etc. I couldn’t even honestly tell you how I determined those “excuses” or where they came from (Society? Media?), but they are steadfastly present in my mind. There have been times where I’ve thought having a baby would shatter my dreams by derailing my career or life trajectory because I wasn’t ready for it or it wasn’t planned. I know how entirely selfish and immature that sounds, but I wouldn’t be honest if I said I never came to that conclusion before.

I have been thinking a lot about the obligations I live by, the kind of societal norms that have been present during my cognizant memory – going to college after high school, doing well, getting a job, financially supporting myself – and determining just how important those are. I have been unhappy in a job for the better part of a year but wouldn’t allow myself to quit without anything else lined up because it just didn’t make sense to me. Money wasn’t really a part of the equation, it was more what I had demanded of myself. I blamed my parents at first for making me feel like I had to succeed in corporate America despite the fact I see myself more as an artist than anything else, more than the busy career-oriented New York City society that surrounds me, before finally accepting that it was me who put these obligations on myself.

Luckily I am getting out of that situation now, but getting to that point was tough, it forced me to start taking responsibility for not only the decisions I have made but also for the life I live today. I guess that is what “growing up” means, or at least what it means for me, and I have since been able to kind of apply that line of thinking to most of the other aspects of my life. Which isn’t exactly where abortion fits in, but it’s all part of it – so much as I can tell.

What are your thoughts on abortion?

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