Growing up in Peoria in the 1970s, nearly every Black girl I knew at Manual was pregnant. Somehow the White girls in my college track courses were not; well that is another story. My high school counselor offered to give me an award if I did not get pregnant. I went overboard and did not have sex until my middle twenties and then I had a lot to learn about heterosexual relationships. Now in my 60s, I have empathy for that younger me. I did not know you could kiss a lot and then decide not to have sex.
I had sex with a man who I thought respected me but after sex, expressed contempt, and I quickly knew that I never wanted to see him again.
Importantly, I did not know I was pregnant until I was seven weeks along. My periods came irregularly. Luckily, at seven weeks I had horrible nausea and vomiting. I had no ambivalence; I went to Planned Parenthood. I was annoyed with the counselor’s insistence that I should take time to decide. My experience was once I knew I was pregnant, it was the only thing I could think about. I had an abortion, and I remember thinking “God bless science!” I walked out of Planned Parenthood in the noon light feeling free. Do I sometimes wonder who that embryo (the size of an olive) would have been? No.
The recent policies to make abortions illegal display contempt for women and sex. I realize how blessed I was to find out early, to have access and to have the money to have an abortion. One mistake should not become an 18-year commitment. Hopefully people who love women and sex will not allow these draconian laws to stand.
Portia Adams, Peoria