I was raised in a pro-choice Oregon household that always trusted and respected women to make their own decisions about their bodies. While I have always been pro-choice, I never thought I would be in a position where I would need to have an abortion. I was always very careful and even as a teen advocated for access to contraception for myself and my peers.
Then I grew up, got married, and had two sons. My marriage was tumultuous and the relationship grew toxic and dangerous. It takes an average of seven times for a woman to leave an abusive relationship. After my first attempt at leaving, I returned to the relationship only to discover shortly thereafter that I was pregnant. During my first two pregnancies, I was overjoyed and so ready to be a mother. When I discovered that I was pregnant a third time my heart sank: I absolutely knew that I could not have another child, not just for my own sake, but also for the safety and well-being of my two boys. I knew without question that the right thing to do–the only thing to do–was to terminate my pregnancy.
At the time, we were struggling as a family to make ends meet, but I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I would be able to afford my abortion care. I remember feeling so relieved that I did not have to worry about how I was going to pay for my abortion while I was in that difficult situation. I am so grateful that when I needed that medical care I was able to access it without having to consider whether or not my income or health insurance qualified me for having those health services be covered. That is why I was so horrified to see Measure 106 on this year’s ballot. It targets the health care and rights of the most vulnerable among us, those for which options are limited and the stakes are so high.
Making the decision to terminate that pregnancy ended up being a turning point in my life. I was the lowest I had been in a long time, but when I made the decision to have an abortion I knew that I needed to take control of my life and take care of myself and my kids. I started applying to jobs like crazy. I picked up some part-time work and built that into a career. I started to re-claim and grow my self-esteem, confidence, and the financial security necessary to finally leave my ex. I am safe now. My boys are safe now. I have a career with good benefits that allows me to provide for my children even if it is still tight sometimes. I work hard and have overcome so much. But guess what? Even with as far as I have come, because of who I work for, Measure 106 would still take away my ability to choose what would be best for me and my family. What I have experienced is why I am here, telling my story, and urging all Oregonians to vote NO on Measure 106.
Megan, Portland, OR.