The Collegian
Saturday, July 02, 2022

It's your decision: abortion

Freshman forward Katelin Peterson defends a James Madison University player during last Friday's 3-2 overtime loss at Crenshaw Field. Peterson leads the team with five goals and one assist this season and was named this week's Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, the third time she has earned that honor this month. She had an assist during the JMU game and a goal during the team's 4-3 overtime win at the College of William & Mary on Sunday. (Dan Petty/The Collegian)
Freshman forward Katelin Peterson defends a James Madison University player during last Friday's 3-2 overtime loss at Crenshaw Field. Peterson leads the team with five goals and one assist this season and was named this week's Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, the third time she has earned that honor this month. She had an assist during the JMU game and a goal during the team's 4-3 overtime win at the College of William & Mary on Sunday. (Dan Petty/The Collegian)

I predicted my holiday would be fairly uneventful this year considering I had nothing to do for a month except apply for jobs.

The job hunt went well. I ended up applying for none because I just couldn't get through the cover letter portion of the process. Why do I want to work for your company? Well, I don't really. I just don't want to be homeless.

I never expected that Christmas would make me take a hard look at one of the most debated issues in American history: Roe v. Wade.

As I've mentioned in previous articles, I had gone to Catholic school my entire life until college.

One of my more distinct memories from grade school is when my fourth grade class attended a pro-life rally outside of my town's courthouse on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

I remember feeling weird holding up a sign with baby feet on it while the crowd chanted, "Choose life, choose life, choose life."

In retrospect, I think it's a bit ridiculous to have children go to those things. Not to discredit pre-teens, but are they really capable of understanding the moral dilemma that a woman who is not ready or unable to care for a child has to face?

At the time of the rally, I remember being less aware of the moral stance I was taking, but rather completely aware of the photographer from the local paper.

Since then I haven't attended a pro-life rally, but I do whip out my old newspaper clip from the Gettysburg Times now and then to check out 10-year-old me looking way too eager with my anti-abortion sign.

It really wasn't until this holiday break that I chose a stance on abortion.

A friend of mine became pregnant this December. After she made the decision to have an abortion, I decided I could be nothing but one hundred percent supportive.

So I told her I would go with her so she wouldn't have to be alone for what will probably be the toughest decision of her life.

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She had made up her mind and in a way, it made me very calm because in these types of circumstances, uncertainty always makes things much harder.

Sitting in Planned Parenthood a few days after Christmas was the last place I would have imagined I'd be.

I looked around the waiting room, which ironically smelled like baby powder and was covered in posters of random celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Denzel Washington. I was surprised to see there were mostly men in the waiting room.

Most likely they were there waiting for their significant others who were having consultations about God knows what. I couldn't help but feel contempt for the men who just sat there fiddling with their iPhones or reading a magazine. Lucky you.

You get to sit here looking all casual while your girlfriend is in a crappy, piss-yellow room the size of a linen closet getting a baby sucked out of her with a vacuum.

Granted, I was being incredibly dramatic. For all I know their girlfriends were there getting herpes tests. And I suppose you can't blame all men for having penises.

When my friend and I were ushered into the clinic area by a friendly nurse with long neon nails and stenciled-on eyebrows, I started to feel like my stomach was going to drop out of my pants.

The nurse spent a good 30 minutes telling my friend the risks involved with taking the abortion pill.

Then she went over how the pill would work, what antibiotics she should take at what time and what is and isn't normal during an abortion by the abortion pill.

I remember zoning out a bit while the nurse talked. I was fixated by a photo of a little girl in a white dress that was resting on the nurse's desk.

I wondered if the photo was strategically put there or if the nurse was just that insensitive. And then, as the nurse pulled out the first of the two abortion pills, she looked to my friend and said (I kid you not), "OK ... this is the end."

Who did this lady think she was, Morpheus?

I remember feeling like I was going to pass out as I watched her calmly take the pill. I thought to myself, "Why are you shaking, Liz? You're not the one having the abortion. Get it together, for Christ's sake."

Since the abortion, my friend gets sad now and then, but she doesn't regret her decision.

It is still too soon to tell and who knows if she'll feel the same in five, 10 or 15 years.

Unfortunately, not all women come out of abortions emotionally stable and often, from what I understand, some suffer from various grades of depression.

As strange as it sounds, I am grateful to have been a part of this experience. Obviously, I wish my friend didn't have to go through this, but the reality is, she did.

I gained a lot of perspective on the issue and insight into all of the options women have when it comes to unwanted pregnancy.

I can say with confidence that I am pro-choice. Does that mean I would necessarily have an abortion? No. Does that mean I promote abortion? Not at all.

It means that I have no right to tell another woman that she should or shouldn't follow to term with her pregnancy. It means that there are circumstances women face that we will never be able to relate to.

Are some women selfish? Sure. Are there infertile woman out there who would give anything to have children and can't? Absolutely. Should all options be considered and weighed thoroughly? Most definitely.

If having abortions became illegal, it wouldn't stop women from having them, it would merely make them less safe. The fact that the government could even have a say in what a woman does with her body is disturbing in and of itself.

Through this experience I've come to find that the right choice for one person may be the wrong choice for another. The important thing is that women have a choice.

It's imperative woman think about what is best for their child to-be. It is crucial that women do what feels right for them, not their parents, friends or boyfriend. And it is necessary that women be supportive of one another during one of the biggest decision-making times a woman may ever face.

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