Your Ignorance About Abortion is Triggering Me the F$!k Out

Regina Penn

I can’t scroll through my news feed without seeing something about abortion, especially late-term abortion (abortion occurring in the third trimester). It is incredibly triggering for me, like intensely triggering to the point that I can’t read those posts.

I’ve never had an abortion. I don’t “like” abortion. But I still believe it should be legal in 100% of situations, gestations, and places. What I have had is a miscarriage. It wrecked me. You cannot even begin to understand the pain and grief that comes from losing a pregnancy or a child unless you have lived through it yourself. Wanting to deny abortion to families experiencing a late-term diagnosis that is incompatible with life is so unbelievably cruel. No one should be forced to continue a pregnancy that will not survive if they do not want to. Having to carry that pain and grief for weeks on end before you can begin to process your grief is unfathomable. When I had my miscarriage I could have opted for a D&C to speed up the process if I wanted to. Late-term fatal diagnoses should have the same rights.

I also had a pregnancy with a condition that almost killed me. Again, unless you have lived through this situation you cannot begin to comprehend what it is like. I woke up every morning wondering if I was going to live through my pregnancy. Am I going to die? is something I thought regularly. I often went to bed wishing I could just go to sleep and not wake up (called passive suicidal ideation). That was a planned pregnancy. That was a wanted child. And the process to get them here almost killed me. It wreaked havoc on my physical, mental, and emotional health. The only reasons I did survive is I had access to proper medical care and outside familial support - something that 100% comes from privilege. If we had been poor, without health insurance or access to doctors or medication, I might not have survived. If we had not had family members who were willing to come help me and drive me to doctors appointments when I was too weak to walk, I might not have survived.

They say my condition is rare, and that medicine is advanced enough that it rarely kills anymore. But statistics are different than real, living people. I know so many people who have suffered from the same condition and I can tell you with absolute confidence that it often goes undiagnosed and those statistics are grossly wrong. It still takes the lives of both unborn babies and their mothers. In the year that I have belonged to online support groups for people with this condition, more than one mother has died during her pregnancy as a direct result of this disease, often while under medical care. There is no cure, and once we have it with one pregnancy we are much more likely (81%) to have it with our additional pregnancies.

To force a woman to endure a pregnancy that threatens her life and mental health in these ways is wrong. She should be able to make the choice for herself whether she wants to soldier on or terminate the pregnancy and live to fight another day. The fact that you are reducing this “debate” to facts and figures and statistics and refuse to look at the real people and their real, gut-wrenching stories involved is absolute ignorance and I am tired of it. Not everyone survives pregnancy.