When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June, I was shattered. I couldn’t stop thinking about how a right I had taken for granted for most of my life was gone. I read everything I could about it, including many testimonials of women who had abortions. Eventually, I started writing too, about the two abortions I had as a college-age student and how, without them, I couldn’t have lived the life I had to live. Click here to read the essay: Hunger Mountain Online (Issue #27).
I’m so grateful to Hunger Mountain Review for putting my story out in the world and heartened to see that the flood of essays, articles and testimonials hasn’t stopped. Last September, Kiki Smith, an artist known for her sculptures of the female body, talked about the abortion she had in her 20s. “Personally, that’s the most sorrow I’ve had in my life,” she told the art critic Deborah Solomon in an article in the New York Times, adding that the prospect of raising a child was not a possibility for her. “I just didn’t have enough of myself. There wasn’t enough of me to be able to care for someone else.”
Exactly, I thought. I felt the same way too: “I just didn’t have enough of myself.” Then, right around the time I was wrapping up the essay, the underground feminist cartoonist Diane Noomin died. “Diane treated her comics as a kind of exorcism,” her husband, Bill Griffith, told the Times. “There were things inside her that had to get out.” Those words also struck a chord with me, so I borrowed them for the title of my essay, All the Things Inside Me That Had to Get Out.
The stories keep on coming. Just last month, The Nation published this beautiful poem by Megan Fernandes, which reminded me again of my own experience. And I was lucky enough to catch the amazing abortion musical, The Appointment, when it came back to New York for a short run early this year, with lyrics updated to reflect the calamitous Supreme Court decision.
These days, I still can’t stop thinking about Roe, and I worry about the women in this country who can no longer decide when and whether to have a child. I hope my abortion story, and those of countless others, will help in the struggle for reproductive justice.