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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When I'm fundraising for someone, one of the questions I hate the most is, "Why did she wait so long?" I wonder, why does it matter? And what does that mean? It shouldn't matter, and it doesn't matter to me why someone "waited" so long. Although I would like to examine the reasons why someone would "wait".

First, I want to say that many women don't wait. They don't wait to get further along. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Many women I talk to want an abortion as soon as possible. If they can move their appointment up they will. However, there are a myriad of things that come between women and their abortions. Here are just a few.

Money. An abortion in the first trimester can cost on average of $400-$500. To you and I that may not seem that bad. I have a job, maybe you have a job, but not everyone has a job. So many people in this country live in conditions that many of us really cannot imagine. Maybe she can barely take care of herself, her children, her parents, her brothers and sisters, let alone come up with $500 for her abortion. She may not have anyone she can borrow money from. She might pawn everything she can and still not get enough. There is a reason they call it "chasing the price".

Unknown pregnancy. It's not that hard to be pregnant without realizing it. This is coming from someone who's never been pregnant -- but I've talked to enough pregnant women to realize this is the case. How many of us get irregular periods? How many of us are that in tune to our bodies? How many of us have so much stress and drama in our lives that we don't take time to take of ourselves, to think about why we feel sick, rundown, haven't gotten a period in a couple of months? I talk to so many women who swear they are "a couple of months", and then we find out they're in their 2nd trimester -- teenagers and older women alike. We don't always know our own body as well as we think we do.

Complications. You can't foresee them, and they can be so heartbreaking. Some women have complications in their pregnancies - some they cannot overcome. They may be threatening to the health or life of the woman. Maybe their baby will not live more than a few moments, hours, days. Maybe they cannot possibly take care of a child with so many problems that could seriously compromise its life if not treated properly.

Let's not judge. Let's not assume we are "better", that it would "never happen to me". Rather than judge, let's embrace each other, help each other -- donate to a local abortion fund, volunteer at a clinic, help promote comprehensive sex education, and help elect candidates for office that support a woman's right to choose (in actions and not just in positions statements).

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