You may not know this but I am a writer of fiction. A few years ago (before it was an issue widely discussed in Ireland) I would spend my days on Tumblr reading posts about abortion. I don’t know why this issue in particular fascinated me so much. I think it may have been because I was unsure. This was an issue where I wasn’t actually sure what my opinion was.
It took me a while to decide what stand to take and once I realised that I was very, very pro-choice, I felt foolish for not realising it in the first place. I am not going to write a long chapter attempting to justify my stand on this issue. There are plenty of places to get informed on it and I do not feel the need to have my opinion verified. However, I will say that if you’re pro-life you should really go and research the other side of the issue. Read as many stories and experiences as you can. Really, really educate yourself on these topics. And then see if you still feel the same. This is not an invitation to start an abortion argument in my comment section and anyone who does will have their comments deleted. I’m sorry I just don’t have the time or the energy to argue about this.
I’ll write about why I’m so weary of people’s opinions soon but until then I’d like to share a story of mine. During this time when I was really struggling to come to a conclusion on my opinion of abortions I wrote the following story. I’m unsure what the message behind it is, however I wanted to explore certain things that were in my mind. Here it is:
Rachel nervously ran her fingers through her hair as she took the only seat left in the waiting room. It was right beside a large window that looked out onto the street. The girl sitting opposite her smiled uncertainly at her and she awkwardly smiled back.
Outside the window marched 5 middle-aged men and one younger looking woman holding large signs. They said things like “every life deserves a lifetime” and “if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?” Out of the corner of her eye, she could see them glaring at her but she just pursed her lips, lowered her sunglasses onto her face and stared at the sterile, white walls, clearing her mind and chewing her chewing gum.
The girl opposite fidgeted nervously and also appeared to be trying not to look outside, but she couldn’t seem to resist staring at the protestors. The female protestor noticed her staring and gave her the middle finger. The girl dropped her head and Rachel noticed a tear drop into her lap.
Rachel’s phone buzzed with a message from Ciaran. He was asking her whether she was done yet so that he could collect her. She replied that she hadn’t even gone in yet and dropped the phone back into her bag. He never understood that these things actually took time.
It had been 4 months since abortion had been legalised in Ireland. Today would be Rachel’s third abortion since then. Every day, the clinic had anti-choice protestors marching outside, shouting religious propaganda at anyone who went in.
She believed in abortion when it was necessary but she wasn’t sure how comfortable she was with having them as often as she did. However, she tried not to think about any of it because Ciaran, her boyfriend refused to ever use protection and she knew she wasn’t ready to have a child.
The girl looked up as an older woman, who Rachel assumed to be the girl’s Mother approached her. “Why are you crying?” she asked as Rachel pretended to be preoccupied while rooting through her handbag. “I feel like a terrible person. Everyone seems to be really against abortions, and I was too, until…” she trailed off. “What if I’m making a mistake?” the girl sobbed. The woman then started to reassure her that she wasn’t a bad person, but that the man who had raped her was.
Rachel suddenly looked up at the girl who seemed so vulnerable and broken. She had a lot of facial piercing and a short spiky haircut. Rachel really admired her unique style. She knew that she could never pull off a style like that. She could only imagine what the protestors had said to her on the way in, they were cruel enough to Rachel and she couldn’t look more stereotypically wholesome if she tried.
Rachel then looked down at her own stomach and considered the differences between their situations. She couldn’t imagine what the girl must be going through.
Rachel thought of the foetus in her stomach. She thought of holding it close to her. She couldn’t feel excited. She had a whole life ahead of her and a career to consider. She didn’t have the time or the energy for a child and she certainly didn’t want to burden her parents with looking after one on her behalf. She had always been ambitious, she’d just gotten distracted recently by Ciaran.
Suddenly she made a decision. She would go in and terminate this pregnancy before breaking up with Ciaran and once again working towards her career. She would try to use protection from now on and would make more of an effort not to end up in this clinic. She had been unhappy for a long time but that was going to stop today.
All of a sudden she was grateful for this pregnancy. Grateful for the clarity it had given her and the path it had put her on. She believed that while sitting here, she had learned a lesson and now, she just wanted this experience to be over.
The first bullet went through the other girl’s head. She fell to the floor, instantly dead. The second shot hit the woman accompanying her in the stomach as her scream pierced the air. One of the male anti-choice protestors had entered the building and begun shooting everyone inside. There was no time for Rachel to run.
After shooting the receptionist, the gunman turned to her with a dead look in his eyes. “You’re going to hell,” he declared before shooting her first in her stomach and then in her throat. She lay beside the other girl, clutching her stomach and dying slowly.
Listen to an episode of my podcast about Lindy West, an activist for abortion below:
Read my post about why I’m so weary of people’s opinions here.