I had a late-term abortion, at 23 weeks into my pregnancy. Two weeks after I returned to my home with empty arms, I received a bill in the mail for $2,123 dollars. It felt like a sucker punch. But at least I could pay the bill. Consider that $2,123 is more than a month’s salary for someone making minimum wage in this state. How can we ask a woman to choose between the moral, loving decision lodged in her heart and her ability to pay rent and feed herself and her children? These are the tormented knots we tie women into when abortions are technically legal but functionally inaccessible—as they are for thousands of poor people in our state.
People say the one thing we can all agree on is that “the ideal number of abortions is zero.” That may be true. But we will never achieve it. Even if we had 100% perfect access to contraceptives—which this bill will go a long way toward helping us achieve, and that is an excellent, wonderful thing—there will still always be abortion. I was trying to get pregnant. I wanted to have this baby. Until I didn’t. Until it became clear that her life would be no life at all. Until it became clear that because I loved her, I had to let her go. There will always be complicated, deeply personal circumstances that push people to end pregnancies they are desperate not to have.