Four readers recall their experiences facing an unwanted pregnancy at a very early age. Our first reader was younger and in more desperate circumstances than most:
At 15 years old, I was living on the streets of Northern California. I got pregnant by my 39-year-old boyfriend. He said he was sterile, so he didn’t believe it was his, and he berated me. I was in no way capable of raising a child. I was living on the streets, had no income, was taking drugs, and was not at all responsible.
I went to Planned Parenthood, where they told me of my options—adoption, keeping the baby, or abortion. I could not keep the child and would not abandon the child to be brought up by someone else.
The procedure was over quickly. I sat outside at the bus stop in the cold, feeling sick, and cried. I felt so horrible and guilty that I had allowed myself to get pregnant. I respect all life, even that of an insect, so it was a very hard thing for me to do.
I am in my 50s now and do not regret it a bit. It was the right choice and I am so happy that I HAD a choice. I now realize that I had been manipulated by a pedophile, but thankfully I was not forced to have his child.
This reader also had a really tough upbringing:
I stumbled across your compelling series—vast in how readers view abortion and why—and it brought up some long-since buried emotions. My story is similar but not so similar at the same time.
When I was 14 years old, my mother became addicted to drugs and would leave my two siblings and me home alone for days to weeks. I don’t think too many people in our family were aware of how frequently the three of us were left alone and we never reached out to any of them to let them know, probably because of a combination of shame and embarrassment.