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I’m going to tell my abortion story today because that’s the kind of week we’re gonna have with this leaked news of SCOTUS’ repeal of Roe v. Wade.
At the tail end of 2010 after 18 months of absolute chaos mode, I had a pill abortion in Los Angeles, at some dingy clinic on the east side. The waiting room was designed like a bus stop and furnished with old desk chairs from a public school. Little kids were running around and moms languished waiting for their shady ass gynecologists. I was getting my pill in LA despite living in NY because I was on my way to Japan and took a long lay over when I took the pregnancy test that came back positive. Planned Parenthood, for some reason, couldn’t see me, and this ramshackle building was the least offensive result of a hasty google search. The pill cost $500 and the doctor who administered the pill to me, after ultrasounding my belly to confirm I was indeed pregnant, was like: why are you getting an abortion? Like, in that half judgmental shitty way that a cousin would shade you for getting the filet o fish instead of a big mac.
My sister was with me because I thought the effects of the pill would be immediate and catastrophic (they aren’t and it wasn’t), otherwise I would’ve preferred saying the next part alone. However, I’ll never forget that she didn’t flinch when I said my answer.
I don’t know who the father is.
Chaos meant fucking a lot of people. But the funny thing is that by the time I got to this shitty clinic, I’d also pretty much determined which of my frogs would become a boyfriend.
So the story I tell most of the time is that my husband and I began our relationship with an abortion and that’s why I feel so strongly that he is a true life partner. The reality is a little more complicated. I certainly didn’t prevent him from participating in my abortion but I also conveniently passed the business end of my abortion in a foreign country. Somewhat ironically, Japan is so blasé about abortions that I would legitimately have a much easier time getting scraped at 8 months than finding birth control pills (which are for some reason taboo in that country). I didn’t really tell him about the abortion until we’d been dating for several months, and I said at the time I was sorry I didn’t divulge but was pretty sure he’d have wanted the same course of action. He of course didn’t care, but said something I thought was sweet in a dumb way: “it’s kind of neat thinking about being able to have a kid.”
In the alternate universe in which I do not have an abortion, Christian (who is Italian) might very well have been greeting our child in the fall of 2011 to discover a Black or Asian newborn. I’m being painfully direct about this so there’s no confusion: abortions can be extraordinarily dumb.
Thirty one year old Anne could not imagine having a child with someone, even one who she was convinced would stick around for the long haul and be an upstart dad, AND ALSO expect him to love the fact that the kid was visibly not his. I mean, no. Maybe I’ve undermined his openness. I’ve smelled a lot of newborns at this point in my life and yes, could convincingly fall in love enough with any of them to believe they were mine no matter the biology.
So. A note on the promiscuity of my 30s because how can I just say I was fucking around and not say a single other thing about that, right?
My husband and I were party friends. I’d run into him at parties and always amidst big groups of friends. He saw first hand as I had my heart broken for the second time in my life, which is a big fucking deal when you’re me. I know some people have been dumped repeatedly and I’m not currying sympathy as a heartbreaker myself, but as someone who had never been dumped—to be abandoned by a guy I was so excruciatingly in love with, was chaos-making. I never tried anything on him because I honestly thought I wasn’t his type or we shouldn’t do that to our friendship. I liked having someone who enjoyed my tales of debauchery without interpreting that as an invitation to join.
A couple weeks before my abortion we’d gotten very drunk and a mutual friend who knew we were flirting said “just get it over with. It’s so obvious you guys like each other.”
What my abortion did for me was actually pretty amazing for a dumb bitch. As it forced me to slow down, it made me name a partner. Not who would be a great dad but who would be a great co-abortionist. Who do I want to say I did this with? My sister, my boyfriend, my pal Nisha, Steve, Kevin, Todd?
I wonder how you would’ve handled this.