by Kim Rippere, follow her on twitter

My abortion story is 30 years long.

When I was 18, I had a one-night stand and stupidly used the pullout method. Without any testing, I knew I was pregnant pretty quickly; but, like many teenagers (with brains that are not fully developed), I chose to ignore it. I knew the problem wasn't going away, but ignoring seemed like the best option. As a 47-year-old woman I now wonder how I could have ever made such a decision to ignore something so important.

I told two people: my best friends. Both were and are very different. One was another young woman who lived in the same medium sized town. The other was a guy who lived 3,000 miles away. He was the first person I told and he eventually became my husband, and, although we have divorced he is now still my best friend.

But getting back to my 18 year-old self. Lunch was getting earlier and earlier. I was just so hungry. Then the final straw. I went shopping with my Mom to Plums in the San Fernando Valley and she said I was “thick” in the middle. I knew I had to do something. I was also terrified that I was too many weeks pregnant to get an abortion.

Somehow, I figured out where I could get an abortion in my local community. My local friend took me to the clinic and brought me home. Honestly, I do not remember anything from the procedure; other than the relief that, given how pregnant I was, they were willing to perform the operation.

My friend brought me home with some medication and all was well. I screwed up the medication some, but no harm. This friend fell off the radar and was never heard from again. Odd, but her choice and whatever.

Fast forward 30 years to Facebook. Don't all good stories include Facebook?!? I moved quite a bit as a child and remember my middle school friends better than some high schools friends. Having an unusual last name, people started finding me and we had some short chats to reignite the ties (when I remembered them, sadly not always). But, mostly, nothing came of these.

Then, my friend who disappeared after my abortion found me. I accepted the friend request and thought “hmmm.” Whatever, it cannot hurt. One day I brought up what had happened via private message. She apologized! Turns out she is deeply religious, against abortion, and has had some of her own trials and experiences over the years that taught her “grace.” Her word. It never occurred to me that she might have had her own opinions about my choice and that was why she disappeared! As a 47-year-old woman, how could I never have considered that she might have had feelings about my abortion?

My abortion and fetus is something she gave great thought to over the years. A completely different reaction than my own; I put the whole thing behind me and didn't give it another thought. I wasn’t in denial, it just wasn't a big deal in my life. I don't think about my foot operation much either.

I have never regretted this decision and cannot imagine my life if I had made any other decision. I have been telling people since I was ten that I didn't want kids. I am and will always be childless by choice. Having the ability to choose a child-free life is of fundamental importance to me. I had an abortion and I am #shameLESS.

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