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Human Parts
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.


In Human Parts. More on Medium.

Lived Through This

My high-risk pregnancy convinced me that every woman has the right — and obligation — to make this choice alone

Black and white photo of a mother smiling at her young baby.
Black and white photo of a mother smiling at her young baby.

My position on abortion is paradoxical: I hate abortion, yet I’m pro-choice. I expect more people than you might think agree with me.

Abortion rights were a big deal on college campuses when I was a freshman at Yale in 1971. Students held loud rallies promoting it on the Old Campus where most freshmen lived. It was confusing and a little lurid to me. That women should claim, as the defining characteristic of their liberated womanhood, the right to terminate a pregnancy seemed wrong and unnatural. I was looking forward to having children one day and just hoped it would…

Planet Soul

I thought she was way off. It turned out I just didn’t know the full story.

I wasn’t always open to the idea of going to a healer. When I left the doomsday cult I was raised in, the greatest relief I felt was falling into the warm, rational embrace of atheism where nothing existed outside of what science could prove and no one could consider me delusional. However, when I started doing psychedelics, my understanding of reality began to shift and the concept that we are all energetic beings became very, “Yeah, duh.”

I’ve had myriad interdimensional experiences that have convinced me energy healing is real, so I was intrigued when I heard about Master…

This life-altering decision was mine to make

I lay still during the cab ride home from the hospital, feeling every turn and bump as if the car were navigating the inside of my body. My legs were at an angle, and the side of my face was pressed against the cool glass of the window. A couple of hours earlier, a doctor had given me a pill to relax me before inserting sticks into my vagina that would dilate my cervix in preparation for the following morning’s procedure. I did not feel relaxed. I felt confused and regretful and afraid and guilty. And I felt pain that…

On difficult choices, the complexity of mourning, and the difference between loss and regret

There are two stereotypes of a preacher’s kid: the good and the bad. The strait-laced and the screw-up. Aziraphale and Crowley.

It doesn’t matter who was worse growing up, my sister or me (she was, of course). What matters is we each appeared before the parental tribunal to admit the same accident.

My sister got pregnant by her boyfriend Ian, which ended in an abortion. Two years later, it was my turn. I was older: 26. I stood before my father, told him the woman I was seeing was pregnant, and felt his ruined gaze travel over me.

As an…

Should anyone be forced to save a life against their own will?

Does it actually matter when a new life begins? A person capable of having an abortion is already life in process. That person is a decision maker — the only one tasked with the very complex job of stewarding the contents of a uterus that may or may not contain human potential. If abortion involves sloughing off some unwanted cells in the interest of health and well-being, or if abortion involves ending a life, that decision belongs to the already formed human to (and inside of) whom those things are taking place.

You might be surprised to learn that, as…

Abortion rights are not just a women’s issue. More men should say so.

My partner wasn’t supposed to get pregnant. That’s why she had an IUD — to prevent the pregnancy we both agreed we didn’t want. Liz and I have been together for years, and though we had discussed the idea of having children, we knew we weren’t ready — at least not yet.

And yet there we were last fall, two New Yorkers in a Utah emergency room during an out-of-state trip, holding a brand new sonogram printout. Near the top, a nurse had drawn a white arrow pointing to the six-week-old embryo, and labeled it in big block letters: “BABY.”

Our conversation about abortion places the burden of responsibility on women. I argue men are the root cause.

As a mother of six and a Mormon, I have a good understanding of arguments surrounding abortion, religious and otherwise. When I hear men discussing women’s reproductive rights, I’m often left with the thought that they have zero interest in stopping abortion.

If you want to prevent abortion, you need to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Men seem unable (or unwilling) to admit that they cause 100% of them.

I realize that’s a bold statement. You’re likely thinking, “Wait. It takes two to tango!” While I fully agree with you in the case of intentional pregnancies, I argue that all unwanted pregnancies…

I no longer carry shame for my two abortions

I had my first abortion when I was 14. I had been forced into sex I didn’t consent to. I chose to not have my rapist’s child. I terminated the pregnancy at just over five weeks. There wasn’t even a visible fetal pole at that time. I took two pills 12 hours apart, had an awful period for five days, and my life went on.

My first abortion was redemption of my bodily autonomy. It felt like I could have some control over my body. I was relieved when it was over and a home pregnancy test came back negative.

The deepest grief I ever experienced was over the loss of a life that I, myself, ended. I was so traumatized by the entire experience that I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

I had all the symptoms: flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks. I would obsessively replay the scene in the abortion clinic over and over again in my mind, desperately wanting it to un-happen. I would have sacrificed a limb instead, if I could have. But that wasn’t the choice I was given.

My options were to lose a pregnancy or lose my life, and… well, I guess…

I always wanted to be a mom. But after my (now 5 year old) daughter was born, I began to realize all that was involved. The sleepless nights and never-ending crying were the least of it. As someone with severe OCD (and not the hand washing kind you see on TV), I began to have endless anxiety over every move my daughter made. Every rash was meningitis, every cough was pneumonia and, later on, every repetitive movement was a tic.

My husband and I always said we’d have two and he really wanted a boy. I believe it…

Human Parts

A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

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