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'I'm not amoral, not stupid, and not promiscuous. I took every precaution. I still got pregnant'

“Am I selfish for taking control of my own fate rather than simply letting life happen to me? I do not see it that way.”

Anonymous

I’M NOT AMORAL, not stupid, and not promiscuous. I took every precaution and even got emergency contraception, just in case. I still got pregnant.

Why should I be ashamed because I was unlucky? Is it because I then chose not to allow my life to be changed irrevocably by a stroke of bad luck?

Am I selfish for taking control of my own fate rather than simply letting life happen to me? I do not see it that way.

It could happen to you

It’s 2012, Ireland is in economic crisis and I’m preparing to emigrate 5,000 miles away from my friends and family. I have itchy feet to get out and join my friends who are already enjoying the sun-soaked fun of the Vancouver summer.

But I am stuck: sick to my stomach, physically and figuratively. I am pregnant. Mixed up with the nauseating anxiety is a huge sense of injustice.

Am I different from any of my friends? They all have sex. They have all used emergency contraception (yes, even the ones that go to mass). This happened to me, it can happen to you.

Sometimes, no matter how much we think modern medicine has mastered it, Mother Nature wins. I’m not reckless; I know how these things work.

A scared, unmarried pregnant girl

Now I have something to hide; this choice I have made about what happens to my body, my own life, is not only morally corrupt but it is criminal.

Suddenly I’m not the 21st century woman of the world I thought I was. I don’t live in a community where I have freedom, choice and equal rights. I’m a scared, unmarried, pregnant girl in the countryside of Catholic Ireland.

That’s not how we like to see ourselves these days but let me tell you, when you have a crisis pregnancy in a country that does not recognise your right to access to an abortion – it feels just as oppressive as the dark days of the Magdalene laundries.

I was brought up in a reasonably liberal household and I was strong enough to know my own mind about what I did and didn’t want. There was no one spewing hypocritical, archaic diatribe at me. I was 24 at the time and I had the means and wherewithal to do want I felt was right for me.

My own body

But what if I had been younger, less financially stable, less informed? What if my parent, mentor or close friends had had differing views from my own? I would have been trapped.

Giving someone safe access to abortion does not facilitate “immoral behaviour”. They have found themselves in crisis for whatever reason, and it makes the experience just slightly less horrendous.

On May 25 my country will vote on what I have the right to do with my own body and we will see who agrees with me.

The author of this piece has requested to remain anonymous.

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