I never talk publicly about my abortion, but what's happening in the US changed that

trending 05/05/2022

By Grace Cocker via Today FM
I remember a sense of relief washing over me. 

I remember sucking on a lemonade ice block, with the nurse telling my incredibly supportive father that I was the most talkative person they ever had through the door - nerves I guess. 

I remember laughing, not knowing how to deal with the seriousness of the situation.

I remember getting McDonald's on the way home and listening to the radio as a distraction.

I remember my best friend text bombing with me supportive messages, and my mum telling me to rest and breathe.

Most of all, I remember not crying. Not one, single tear.

Twenty-year-old me made the right call to have an abortion - and 31-year-old me still believes this to be true.

All of this relief was pushed to one side, the morning after my termination, when an overwhelming wave of anxiety threw me into a spin - looking back it was a very big, and very terrifying, panic attack.

None of this was about whether the right decision had been made, as I knew it was the only way forward, it was solely on what society's reaction would be - how will friends and family react if they find out? 

Would I be tarred and feathered by people, including the public, if they knew I had made this decision? Would anyone be supportive, or should I pin a scarlet 'A' to my chest? 

The reason I am deciding to talk openly about abortion, with my name attached, is because the anxiety returned this week when a shocking Roe vs Wade Supreme Court draft was leaked. 

The highest powers in the US are looking to overthrow a document that protects women who decide to terminate their pregnancy. I watched in awe as groups quickly rallied to protest the possible overthrow of the law. 

Women began speaking out about their own experiences, terrified about the impending horror some may face.

What those supporting the abolishment of Roe vs Wade may not also understand, is the unintended consequences. 

Raped or a victim of incest? Too bad! You carry and raise that child! Women who miscarry could be investigated in some states, to ensure they didn't purposefully bring one on (?!?!?). 

Associates - including men - can also find themselves in hot water - want to help a woman terminate her pregnancy, or get through a miscarriage? Welp, better call a lawyer!

This is a slippery slope towards some form of dystopian 'Handmaid's Tale'-esque world,  where guns have more rights than a woman. 

The irony is not lost ... the same people who moaned about being forced to wear a mask during a global pandemic, are now supporting mandates on ovaries and wombs. 

Let's be frank, it's an absolutely horrifying situation.

Around 22 states could ban abortions if Roe vs Wade is thrown out. 

Twelve already have legal docs waiting in the wings - known as trigger-laws. 

New Zealand decriminalised the practice in 2020, after decades of allowing them but legally vilifying women who go through with it. 

If the last week is anything to go by, things are about to get real messy in the US, and it's vital we, as a nation, preserve our rights going forward and not follow suit... future generations of women depend on it.

If you or someone you know wants abortion information, advice, or counselling, you can call the Ministry of Health's abortion telehealth service on 0800 DECIDE (0800 332433) or visit decide.org.nz

Grace Cocker is a journalist at Today FM