Thursday, September 27, 2012
I was always an obedient Catholic, but had remained Pro-Choice because I had always believed religion - and government - had no right to interfere with a woman’s right to make decisions based upon her health and well-being.
In January of 2011, on what was to be the first day of a three-day rainstorm, I waited outside the locked bathroom door of my girlfriend’s apartment as she cried uncontrollably at the positive pregnancy test. I was 22 – she, 23 - this was the first relationship I had sustained for over three months; we had now been together for a year. I tried to remain calm but in her hysteria, and my own: we shouted, screamed and damned whatever responsible for her birth control malfunctioning – mainly each other.
Prior to our drive to my parent’s house, I puked one final time and turned off the television depicting some lunatic Evangelist who seemed passionate for burning the Koran. My family was supportive in whatever plan of action we chose, she was too afraid to tell her parents – she felt her father would surely force her to keep the child, himself supposedly being a strong Christian man. We had to be sure how far along she was pregnant, to understand the timetable we had to make a decision for abortion – which I honestly wanted.
The streets were strewn with debris and flood as the storm carried on through Los Angeles County; the atmosphere in the Planned Parenthood was hardly more comforting. I was the only man there, amongst the other anxious – some crying – women(girls). No one spoke, everyone was either on their cell phones or glaring my way; the appointment took almost two hours – she was 5 weeks Pregnant.
The next few days were filled with argument and confusion; She wasn’t sure what to do, after confiding her Father, he expressed that he would pay for her to abort the baby. I was relived at his stance, but knew she was so frightened of the procedure and the religious damnation. It was hard trying to ease her about the safety of the procedure, meanwhile reassuring her I knew God would show forgiveness on her – I might have made the argument that God bless her having not brought another child into this world of tyranny and pending doom – as the local news had suggested. Part of that might have gotten lost in translation seeing that the previous evening I had nearly bit my tongue off in my sleep – this happened periodically throughout the next year, amongst hyperventilation spells.
We had made an appointment for the abortion in Santa Cruz so she could be close to her Mother after the procedure. Our Medi-Cal – which we waited 3 hours at the Compton Social Service Offices for in the rain – was denied because we had to be in our own county for the Medi-Cal benefits to apply. The following 24 hours were torturous. We then attend another appointment; this time there are swarms of anti-Abortion protestors crowding the vehicle as we enter the driveway, she is hysterical while her Father is reiterating to me over the phone the importance of the ensuing procedure. She reluctantly enters the appointment and is gone for an hour, I see her through the glass reception windows. She is in line with the other women – whom are supposedly being discharged after a similar procedure – waiting gauntly, like guilty prisoners waiting for their turn to be questioned.
I embrace her and thank her for her courage; she doesn’t speak, but when she does - says only, “I have something to tell you.” I know then she hadn’t gone through with it, as the world begins to evaporate.
Her Father disowns her and I abandon her – in hopes that she recognizes if she wants to continue with the pregnancy she must be prepared to continue on her own. She perseveres with the help of her local church and family friends. At the 6th month of her pregnancy I returned, and her Father the day my son was born.
My son was born entirely healthy and everything seemed to fall in place within those next two years. I was hired into the career I was striving for, and she started her own business – both endeavors being quite lucrative. The world had yet to end and his grandparents had never been happier. The Kings finally won the Stanley Cup, and there he was screaming, “Go Kings Go.” – too bad his Dodger chants seemed to have little affect. He is only two but he might as well be 10, because I cant remember what life was like before him and I don’t need to.
Its not a matter of religious alignment, I am Pro-Life because the life that is being ended is so infinitely good and radiant – and in a world which is so cruel and dark, I cant stand the thought of ending an opportunity to illuminate it.