I love you, mostly. You’re my friend. But you posted a Facebook meme that’s been going around. It reads:
“Just because I am pro-choice does not mean I am pro-abortion. It means I understand your choice is none of my fucking business, and I will always fight for your right to choose.”
I understand and at a certain level agree with this, but deep down inside, in the painful pit where the embryo my girlfriend and I aborted forty years ago still lives, I hate you for saying that the choice we made was “none of your fucking business!”
The details are unimportant, just that I was 25 and she was 26 and we were young professionals in the mid-1970s. We weren’t married and we didn’t know if we wanted to be. We knew we didn’t want to be parents, at least not then; we probably would have been lousy parents at that point. So we took precautions. For medical reasons, she couldn’t take “the pill” so we used other methods.
Sometimes those other methods fail.
“Probably eight weeks.” Those were the words spoken to her by the doctor; those were the words she quietly repeated to me. When I read about the anti-abortion laws recently passed in Alabama or Missouri or other states and read the words “eight weeks,” I hear her voice speaking them. And I hear her next words, too: “I can’t do this.” She meant, “I can’t be a mother now.” I answered, “No. We can’t.”
We lived in a state where an abortion was not difficult to obtain. There was a girl in her office who’d done it, so she knew who to talk to, where to go, what to do. I was with her every step of the way.
But you weren’t.
We didn’t tell very many people. We didn’t tell our parents. We didn’t tell work colleagues. We didn’t tell many social friends. Just a few. You said you supported us, that you were with us. But you weren’t. You decided it was “none of your fucking business.” You left us alone. We tried to talk to you, but you didn’t want to hear about it, so we stopped.
We only had each other to talk to, but we didn’t really want to talk about it either. We did and we didn’t, if you know what I mean. So we talked about it in unhelpful ways, loud ways, crying ways, damaging ways. We talked about it and we didn’t talk about it until the day she said, “I can’t do this.” She meant, “I can’t be with you any longer.” I answered, “No. We can’t.”
Not too long after that, I took a job in another city. I made no effort to stay in touch with her, nor she with me, but I thought about her a lot. I still do. Maybe not every day, but certainly every week, and every time I read a news story or a Facebook post or a meme about abortion … so maybe I do think about her every day. And I think about that embryo deep down in that painful pit and I think about you saying “It’s none of my fucking business” and I hate you.
You’re right that it was not your choice to make. It wasn’t really mine, either. It was hers, always hers and only hers but for a while she let me be a part of it. It wasn’t my choice to make, but it was my business. It was always my business and it will always be my business. And, truth be told, it was yours, too. We needed you but you weren’t there.
I love you, mostly. You’re my friend. You were (maybe you still are) her friend. But like all friends, you occasionally drop the ball. So do I. You dropped this one. I know that I sure as hell did. And deep down in that painful pit, I hate you for it. So don’t say, “It’s not my fucking business,” because it was and it is.
She was your friend. I was your friend. We were “your business.” Even though ending that pregnancy wasn’t your decision, it was your business, and when you say it wasn’t, the hate tries to crawl out of that painful pit and I have to fight it and push it back down and I’m afraid someday I might not have the strength to do that.
I’m afraid that someday I will say, “I can’t do this.”