On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, legislation that made abortion access a federal right in the United States.

While safe and legal abortions are still available in Washington state, a war is waging over this issue and the right to an abortion in Washington could still be reversed with a conservative political majority. While Democrats currently hold the majority in both the House and Senate, the margin is small and not guaranteed moving forward.

My abortion was nine years ago. This is the first time I’ve openly talked about it. (Well, not totally open, I suppose, since I’m writing this under a pen name). While I have never regretted my decision, there have been lingering feelings of shame over the years.

I am seven weeks pregnant when I have my abortion, and I am not as sad about it as I thought I might be when the day finally comes. What I do feel is disappointment in myself. I am a 40-year-old woman who is not in a position to raise a baby and is clearly somehow failing at being a responsible adult.

They give me an ultrasound. I’m not expecting that. The tech is apologetic and tells me I don’t have to look if I don’t want to, but she does ask me if I would like to know if it’s twins, if that is what she discovers. Is it just me, or is that weird? I suppose she thinks the idea of twins might change my mind. Like having two unwanted children is more appealing than just the one…?


I know almost immediately when I become pregnant. I can’t tell you how really. I just do. I’m incredulous and a bit pissed off. I’d been told five years prior that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant without intervention; and yet, here I am, almost 40 and knocked up — something I had been very successful at avoiding for the last 22 years. My partner (of eight years) and I had made the decision not to try for a baby after hearing that news, and we had stopped being as careful. Five years later and now my body decides to step up to the plate? Timing.

Even though I know I’m pregnant, it takes me a week to work up the courage to take a home test. It’s positive.

I go to the walk-in clinic a week later for a second opinion.

I know, but I’m hoping I am wrong. I don’t want to actually have to make the decision I know I will be making. From the start, I know that I will not be keeping this pregnancy. My partner is working a job that he hates, and I have never seen him so unhappy. I just lost a job that I loved, and have been looking for another for months with no real prospects. We are also raising a teenager — an angry and difficult kid who is struggling in school and testing us at every turn, and it is hard to fathom bringing a child into this situation without everything in our lives going off the rails even more than it already has.

The nurse who gives me my test at CVCH (Columbia Valley Community Health) is a man in his 50s. When he comes back into the room with the results, he has a huge smile on his face, like he is about to give me the very best news. The fact that I am in the walk-in clinic on a Saturday afternoon doesn’t seem to provide him any context clues about where I am with all of it.

So, there I sit, holding back tears while he tells me not to worry about being an older mom and congratulating me roughly one hundred times. In his worldview, women my age don’t experience unwanted pregnancies. They are grateful and happy for this last opportunity to become mothers. So I sit there, with a big stupid smile plastered on my face, helping uphold the illusion that this news isn’t terrible.


I tell my partner while we are laying in bed that night and BOOM, I drop a bomb on our life. We’ve been together for eight years, and I love him deeply, but we are not in a great place. This is not happy news for him either, and ultimately, we both know what the right decision is for us. I make an appointment at Planned Parenthood. I am four weeks pregnant and can’t get in for another three. I feel lucky it’s not longer, and I try to go about my life normally. Like I’m not pregnant. Like I’m not choosing to pass up what I know will be my last chance to have a baby.

We drive to Yakima because, at this time, you can’t get an abortion in Wenatchee (although you can, now). We park and walk through a wall of protesters with their graphic signs and pleading voices. The abortion itself is unremarkable. That surprises me. Everyone is pleasant and we chat through the procedure. They are kind, and it is over quickly. It doesn’t hurt. It wasn’t even that uncomfortable. I remember feeling it should have been more painful — punishment, somehow, for not being a responsible adult. For not being in a better position to care for a child at the age of 40. For being selfish.

How messed up is that? I think about it a lot. About the stigma and shame we are made to feel about making the choices that are best for us.

After, we grab hamburgers for lunch and drive back. We are home by the time the kid gets out of school, and we order a pizza for dinner. I don’t remember us talking about it again. Maybe a couple of times in the week or two after, but then we move on. Which is the whole point, isn’t it?  Two months later, I turn 40, and five months after that, I open a business. My business actually opens on what would have been my due date. Oh yeah, remember that ultrasound? Well apparently, they are also obligated to tell you your due date. Because that will surely be appreciated.


I do not regret my abortion. I do sometimes think about how my life would look with a nine-year-old child in it, and I am grateful that isn’t my reality. I have a business to run. I’m helping to take care of my aging parents. My partner and I are no longer together, and I am so happy that I am not navigating all of these things as a single mom. While I do sometimes think about the lost opportunity of motherhood and how my life would have been different, I am overwhelmingly appreciative that I have the ability to choose what is right for me. And now, as I near 50 and watch some of my friends becoming grandparents, I’m extra thankful that I don’t have a grade-schooler.

What I do feel guilt about (sometimes) is not feeling sad or guilty about my abortion. I know this is the residual effect of my somewhat religious upbringing and the fact that in our culture women are expected to want children. People who choose abortion are often seen as irresponsible and selfish. I know I am neither of those things. For me, and millions of others, it was the absolute right decision and if put back in the exact same situation, we would make it again.

Every person should have the right to end their pregnancy if that is what they choose. They should be able to do so quickly and safely, and without feeling judged.

I’ve been pro-choice since I can remember, but after making this decision for myself, I am pro-choice in a profoundly different way.
No one should ever have to justify their choice to anyone else. It’s private and it’s no one’s business. No matter the reason. No exceptions.

Abortion is healthcare, and now, 1 in 3 of those with a uterus can’t access it safely in the United States. This should be unacceptable to the rest of us. Everyone loves someone who has had an abortion, whether you know it or not. You may end up facing this decision at some point for yourself.

So, what will you do to make sure it will still be a choice?

Me? I’m finally talking about it. No shame. No exceptions.

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