getting an abortion during law school

I had an abortion in late September. I felt horrible about it because I guess I couldn’t figure out the reason why I was doing it. I kept telling myself that it was best for this child… that he/she deserved better than what I had to offer. But that brought me no solace. Realistically, my child would have been fine, more than fine actually. My friends would ask me if the reason I was feeling sad about this was maybe also because I was feeling guilty. Being the “strong feminist” as I thought myself to be, I would answer: Not at all. It’s my body and it was my choice and it was the right choice. But that felt so forced. It took me months to realize that I did, in fact feel guilty. Even though abortion is legal, that were are lucky enough to have abortion clinics accessible in Montreal, society pressures women to justify what they are doing with their bodies. I wrote a short essay on this topic and said that I thought abortion isn’t a cop-out out of being a parent. I still agree with this but at the same time, I feel that I was offering a justification that society approves of. “Be a good parent, make the best decision for your unborn-child, etc.” But what about the women? Why is there still so much shame in making a decision purely for us? I feel like men get the better end of the deal in this bad situation. Society has accepted that a man can decide when he’s ready to be a father but a woman must justify her reasons for not wanting to be a mother, even if just temporarily. I hated being pregnant, even if it was just for a short while. I was terrified, physically unwell and I couldn’t talk about it openly like other pregnant women do because I was scared of being judged. I felt guilty for a decision I ultimately took for myself and it took me months to be at peace with it. It took me months to realize that having an abortion because I deserve better was a good enough reason in itself. So Law Needs Feminism Because we need to be able to talk about this openly. Maybe one day I’ll feel like the judgement has subsided enough for me to stop signing these stories anonymously.

- McGill Law Student who identifies as female

Joanne Murray