I wouldn’t be here.
If abortion had been legal in 1945, when my maternal grandmother found herself with an unwanted pregnancy, she likely would have gotten an abortion. She was poor. She was single. The man wasn’t in the picture. Her family was quite conservative. It was Texas.
But it wasn’t an option, so she had the baby. Due to some shady legal footwork, my mother was adopted by a couple who had been turned down by several placement agencies as being too mentally unstable to be entrusted with a child. After a happy childhood full of hugs and pet bunnies*, my mother married my father, who had also had the fortune to come from a family of snuggles and rainbows**. Then they proceeded to have more children than their paychecks could cover, but fortunately we were raised in a child-centered home of kisses and butterflies***.
My mother was rabidly pro-life. Once a woman spread her legs for sexy times, she ceded all authority over her body. If a seven-pound bundle of punishment happened to arrive nine months later, it was her wailing, poopy cross to bear. The end. When I questioned this as a teenager, that perhaps it was not as simple an issue as she was making it out to be, she blew up. Didn’t I understand? If abortion had been legal in the 1940s, we would not be here.
She said it with absolute horror. Could you imagine a world without us? Without our family? How terrible. It was such a terrifying thought that she didn’t continue the conversation much beyond that, and the subject rarely came up between us again. Abortion was annihilation. We wouldn’t be here.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about it since then, and all I’ve concluded is that it’s okay. It’s okay if we aren’t here. We wouldn’t know the difference and neither would anybody else. I am not so important that the world would stop turning without me. My family is not the axis. How narcissistic it is to think that my creation was so very, very important that a world where Macaulay Cade Hunter did not happen is a horror flick we watch through parted fingers.
This doesn’t come from a place of depression, and I don’t have a time machine in my basement**** where I am trying to blast myself back to 1945 to offer my grandmother the morning-after pill. I’m here, living a perfectly fine life*****. If my grandmother had gotten an abortion, I wouldn’t be here. And that’s okay. I can’t miss myself or my family when we never were, and neither can anyone else.
And maybe my grandmother would have gone through with the pregnancy anyway. I can’t say for certain. But she should have had the option of termination. It was her body. It was her life. It was her choice. No one else’s.
Thank you, Wendy Davis.
* Munchausen’s by proxy and other abuse.
** Alcoholism and beatings.
*** The less said the better.
**** The dragon chained in there keeps setting my prototypes on fire.
***** Except for the insomnia, which is why I’m posting this at one in the morning.