48 It Was Not My Body

 


This is the story of my two abortions.

The first time I paid for an abortion I was nineteen (I think). She was the friend of a friend and we spent a week enjoying each other’s company. She was sweet, funny, kind, and in a different time of my life we could have dated. Instead, this was one of my last weeks as a civilian before shipping off to San Antonio for basic training. 

I can’t remember exactly when she told me she was pregnant. I know it was just before- like days before I shipped out. I don’t remember exactly what I told her. I do think I convinced her to get the abortion. I was leaving. I wasn’t emotionally attached. I did not want a baby. I think she was on the fence and I swayed her decision.

I gave her two-hundred dollars and asked her to write to me after.

She wrote me when it was done. It hurt her. Not just physically, she said. I knew what she meant. At the time I was mad at myself. Not for the abortion; for not being there. My punk ass failed. 

The unwanted pregnancy was not the failure. The abortion was definitely not the failure. The failure – my failure – was not being there to hold her hand. 

The second time I paid for an abortion was something like ten years later. I was in love with a woman. We were careful. That wasn’t enough. 

The choice was hers. Whatever I wanted was irrelevant. Not because she said so, but because I was not the one pregnant. It was not my body. Where I’d failed before, I was going to make damn sure I got right this time. She chose; I had her back. And this time there was no way on god’s green earth I was going to let her go alone.

I expected protesters. There were a small number of them, but nothing like I expected. What I also wasn’t expecting was what I saw inside. I saw heartbreak. I saw strength and dignity. I saw fear. I saw anger. I saw resolve. I saw relief. 

I sat in the waiting room as the nurse took her back and I tried to take in everything. I wanted to be in this moment just in case I ever started to question why I unabashedly support a woman’s right to choose. I was the only man there that day. I remember being disappointed in my gender. 

I remember being struck by the realization that not one of the women in the waiting room seemed glib. From all the things I heard in church and from the zealots on the other side of the issue I expected (not really) to see at least one nonchalant woman treating an abortion like glorified birth control. 

Nope. 

I remember kind of hoping I would have seen someone like that because fuck you, if a woman wants to have an abortion she doesn’t need to appease you with displays of maudlin emotions, or deep reservations. I had hoped to see a woman with an attitude of, “let’s get this little parasite out of me, I got shit to do!” 

But I saw none of that. I saw strong women of different ages handling their business. 

When she came out she was clearly pained. I took her home. We talked. We cried. We laughed. I tried desperately to be for her what I wasn’t the first time. I wanted to do this right. Throughout, I felt a sense of guilt as though I was doing something wrong to the first woman. 

So that’s my story. Two abortions in one lifetime. 

It is not lost on me that were I a woman with two abortions I would be considered a slut by some. Hell, just one abortion would be enough to earn a woman that moniker in a lot of churches circles. The same bro-dudes who might slut-shame a woman with two abortions would be the first to congratulate me on dodging that bullet twice just after they high-five me for scoring both times. That is such bullshit.

I can’t imagine what it is to be a woman in this country right now.  I am sorry. This country is such bullshit. 

I’m a man. I have been involved in two abortions. I have always believed a woman has every fucking right to expect dominion over her own body. Without exception. Without apology.

Copyright 2022 Rudy Martinez
©2024 Rudy Martinez