By Naomi Serviss / New York City
Last week’s leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would kill Roe v Wade lightning-bolted Americans.
Conservatives were shocked and outraged that America’s sacred judiciary was violated
Liberals were incredulous, angry and dumbfounded that abortion rights are once again on the chopping block.
Wasn’t this settled, say, 50 years ago?
Public anger manifested in peaceful protests
in front of justices’ homes.
Not a very nice thing to do, said some talking heads.
Protesting draws unwanted attention and violates judges’ privacy, they claimed.
Ironic how the same five unelected judges can deny women control over their own
bodies or right to privacy.
Women grappling with abortion anguish
deserve privacy as well.
Unless they feel compelled to share with
friends and relations.
A few women shared their personal experiences and opinions with me on this five-alarm hot topic. All names have been changed.
When MARIE was 45, divorced with two sons
and in love, she became pregnant.
It was an unwelcome surprise.
But she knew she couldn’t bring a pregnancy to term.
She made an appointment with her gynecologist, who performed the abortion in her medical office.
“It wasn’t an easy decision but it was the only decision for me at that time,” Marie continued.
“To be honest, during the procedure, I started to cry. I told myself ‘Now was not the time
for another child at my age.’”
Marie is an active proponent of women’s reproductive rights and has been marching for
women’s rights for decades.
She sighed about having to march again. Even a fit, 78-year-old (with aches and pains) has a limit.
“The clock is turning in the wrong direction. It’s beyond depressing.”
DONNA had multiple abortions:
“Too young to be a responsible mother. And my own mother would have killed me.
"Result of a rage fuck with a man I was divorcing, to prove that, no, I was not frigid, I just hated him.”
“Much wanted, with a man not yet divorced from his horrible wife, with suffering children. It was a two-day process. He hung out in the waiting room during the procedure. Said he’d be there, but went to work. I was past 12 weeks. Wanted to have a child with this man, but the timing was just wrong.”
What about the leaked document signaling doomed legal abortion rights?
“It’s a travesty. Stomping on women. Even if they throw in rape or incest, a woman’s
(or girl’s) rights and body have to be violated for her to have autonomy?
“And Medicare covers boner pills.”
LOUISE, 65, and her brother were raised by their single mother in a Lower East Side tenement.
“I was four or five. We lived in two rooms, with a communal bath.’
One day, Louise saw a horrifying, traumatic sight: her mother sitting in a chair, a pool of blood ever widening at her feet.
“I thought my mother was going to die.”
Desperate, her mother had used a coat hanger to abort her pregnancy.
She was mentally ill, staying with a physically abusive husband. Just couldn’t bring another child into the world.
“I’m very upset over Roe v Wade. Fifty years of progress is going down the drain.
“These people are shrewd pro-lifers,” Louise adds. “They use religion and guilt to coerce and intimidate.
“I feel very strongly that no woman should be forced to have a child.”
WENDY, 76, has a different perspective. She’s an avid Fox News follower and grows emotional
when talking about the latest Supreme Court debacle.
“It’s disgusting that someone leaked that document,” she says vehemently.
Her anger rises when discussing Roe v Wade.
“There’s no civility anymore.
“People like Elizabeth Pocahontas Warren are screaming about their rights. It should be state’s rights.
“You can see it in how people dress," Wendy says.
“Miniskirts on women and girls who have no business wearing them. It’s ridiculous, no sense of decorum.”
Wendy has had five abortions.
“I was on my own at 18, with no support, no one.”
She regrets those decisions with every fiber. She is now a pro-lifer and echoes conservative talk-show personalities.
Wendy is not a fan of confessional outpourings.
“It shouldn’t be something people my age should scream about. It’s not something to celebrate.”
“I’m passionate, not emotional.”
ME. I was newly married at 19 to an abusive and cheating spouse.
It was a doomed union from the start and my depression worsened the longer I stayed with him.
Months into the marriage, I had an epiphany when I became pregnant.
My realization was simple:
I didn’t want to bring a life into this world with him as the other parent.
Fortunately, it was a period of enlightenment
regarding safe, legal abortions.
I had one in a hospital setting and separated from my husband soon after.
While I’ve thought about the experience
throughout my life, I’ve never regretted my decision.
The availability of safe, legal abortions should be a no-brainer in a democracy.
What’s so hard to understand?
Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including BroadwayWorld.com