Friday, January 22, 2010

Blog for Choice Day: My Choice to Carry

When I found out I was pregnant with my son several years ago, a million thoughts ran through my head. Can I finish school? What about money? Can I do this? Should I end it?

My online search for pregnancy options took me to OptionLine, a web and phone resource that links women to CPCs and only CPCs. I called. The woman who answered was really evasive and, while I told her straight up I just wanted to talk over the phone, she only seemed interested in connecting me to a nearby "clinic" (her words) that could tell me everything I needed to know.

I went to a nearby CPC that was dressed to look like a clinic. The waiting room had fetal development posters, pictures of white ladies with big beautiful bellies, and framed Anne Geddes photos. After confirming my pregnancy with a store-bought pregnancy test, they asked if I would like an ultrasound. For free. Well, sure! She then informed me that the "next available" they had was in three days. Well, okay. Also, they won't discuss options information with me until I get the ultrasound. Um, alright.

Not about to wait three days to figure out what I was going to do, I pretty much decided on my own that I was going to have an abortion. Thinking that was all my local Planned Parenthood did, I phoned them for an appointment. They could get me in the next day.

After once again confirming my pregnancy (yes, I get it, I'm pregnant), they sent me into a room to talk with a counselor. "You don't need to do an ultrasound first?" "Our tests are very accurate. If you'd like to see an ultrasound image, we can set that up. But let's talk."

The woman was very open. We talked for maybe a half hour, and every time I had a question or concern, whether about the abortion or becoming a mom, she handed me a very detailed pamphlet and went over the information with me. It was all very easy.

Well in the end you can guess what happened! I decided to go for it. My mom (who went with me to Planned Parenthood) was very supportive, and I could never have done it without her. Single motherhood has been hard, but I think I made the right choice, and I think the woman at Planned Parenthood made it really easy for me.

Today I am concerned with the amount of access all women have to this information. Not every community has a Planned Parenthood or clinic that offers so much detailed information about each option, but most have a CPC. I now know the CPC was trying to delay me to keep me from maybe obtaining a legal abortion or make me second-guess myself. The information they had was very one-sided and didn't help me think straight at all. I felt like my decisions were being made for me.

I love my son and have loved parenting, but I understand why a lot of women wouldn't make the same choice to parent (not to mention going through pregnancy and birth!!!), and I will always fight for the same open and honest information for every woman regardless of what she wants.

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