This Is Us

I Am Adopted. That’s Why I Had An Abortion.

Stop using adoptees as pawns in the battle over reproductive rights

Mindy Stern
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readSep 1, 2021
Stock photo via Shutterstock

I am the innocent child some are determined to protect. I know what it is to be born into this world unwanted and unprepared for. I am the child of a woman who had no children after giving me away to strangers. A woman who died too young because her secret destroyed her.

I am a woman who chose to have an abortion. And I am a woman who brought two very wanted children into this world. I have some things to say.

I laid in my bed, somewhere between floating and fugue. Claude, the supposedly rich guy with diplomatic immunity who never had money but always had coke lay beside me, fast asleep. His arm touched mine, his skin suddenly repellant.

Get the fuck up and go pee, I told myself. Get vertical, sit on the toilet, reverse its course.

I rose, my feet hitting the dusty parquet floor. My cheap IKEA coffee table was littered with last night’s cocaine. Through the window above the table, the neon 7–11 sign downstairs glowed, and the Washington Monument looked phosphorescent in the distance. The chain pulleys on the blinds clanked as I walked past, like I was the wind.

In the bathroom, I slumped onto the toilet. My diaphragm mocked me from its perch beside the sink, a useless, unused flap of rubber.

My birth mother was also 23 when an unplanned pregnancy changed her life. I didn’t know that then. I only knew that I’d been relinquished when I was born, and now I was lost and lonely and self-destructive and young, holding onto hope by a thread.

I am adopted. I grew up knowing I was born into this life unwanted and unprepared for, the consequence of irresponsibility. As a result, I had always been particularly careful about contraception. I don’t know why that night I wasn’t. Maybe I was too drunk or too high to care. Or maybe I wanted to be like my birthmother the only way I could be.

I hoped that somehow I was wrong and it didn’t happen and I just sat and sat and sat until I couldn’t sit anymore. I headed back to bed. Back to the man who had nowhere to live so moved in with me, but I didn’t know why…



Mindy Stern
Human Parts

Screenwriter. Essayist. Wannabe Novelist. Adoptee.