Do you peeps do diaries? I’ve been a writer or recorder of events in a diary since I was five. True. Going through my old jumbled up notes, I came across some things I thought I’d share. I have a lady friend (you know those their-family-is-friend-to-ours type of friend) who’s really caught my nerves of late. Precisely because of our different way of viewing critical issues. But we are still friends. She got married to, I don’t like saying eloped with, a foreigner. She went to America ten years ago at age 18 (I was in Standard Eight then) after she met an American man through a marriage agency in this country. The American dude had been in the country for some time, they even met, but he flew back and left her here. Yet the sparks continued, they were really in love, or so i saw. He paid her flight to go meet him.
It was very scary for her to go there because she was away from her family for the first time. Some call her a “mail order bride” but she does not like to be called that. She really wanted to be married to her husband and didn’t marry him just to become an American. They married two months after she moved there and then he became very insulting of her. He did not like her weight, her complexion, or her clothes. To please him she started taking Accutane for her skin, but it causes very serious birth defects, and there are warnings all over its special pill package. She was even required to take the birth control pill and take monthly pregnancy tests with it. The high dose in the meantime made her sick, so she switched to a lower dose. Her husband started hitting her. He didn’t like her cooking, he didn’t like that she couldn’t work yet because her “green card” was not in, he didn’t like her being on the birth control pills because they made her gain a little weight. She thought about leaving, but did not know what to do. She didn’t want to go back to her country, because our old village does not believe in divorce. She would not have been welcome anymore. She didn’t have friends in America yet. So she was very scared. As mentioned, she could not even get a job there so what would she do? She could not afford a plane ticket.
When she once went in to the doctor’s to get tested for pregnancy, the nurse noticed a bruise on her arm. She gave her information about a shelter for women. She called the shelter from a pay phone because she was so scared her husband would come home when talking to them. They told her to go to an emergency room and they would pick her up. But like most women (okay, this’ just what I think) she wasn’t sure she was ready for that, that is, ready to leave. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really encouraging women to walk out of marriages. Something like two nights later, when she tried to turn up the heater, her husband pushed her head in the wall, she got dizzy but ran out of the house and walked in her socks about 7 miles to a hospital in what she said was 35-degree weather without a coat. Some nice people from the shelter took her to the women’s shelter.
A few days later, she called the doctor’s office to thank the nurse for telling her about the shelter and to get more medication. The nurse told her that she was pregnant. I don’t know why they hadn’t called her in the 2 days before she left her husband’s home. She was upset. She told me that when she’d switched birth control pills she should have waited a week with the new pills before having sex. Her nurse also said that the dose might have been too low. But the nurse hadn’t told her all that when she got the pills changed. She was so frightened. Picture this; at 18, not able to work in America, alone in America, pregnant in America! She knew she couldn’t give birth. The baby would probably be handicapped, just like the package had warned her. She also didn’t want a reminder of the husband who abused her. She also didn’t want to be even more cut off from her family than she would be by being divorced.
Here’s what pissed me off. She got an abortion, and didn’t regret it. In fact, she thinks she was lucky that her husband’s insurance paid for it because of the birth defects that might have been present. That was right before he filled out a waiver to have her taken off his insurance before they were even divorced. But the dilemma and what I want to ask my readers is, would it have been wrong to have a handicapped baby born to a single mother who couldn’t even work? Handicapped babies don’t have homes if they are put up for adoption.
This is what she told me when I told her my phobia and uneasiness about abortion because it’s murder (oops forgive me, but is it?), “My life really improved after the abortion. The shelter helped me get a green card and I went to school. I work full-time. I’m getting married next summer. I now help other immigrant women from, not only Kenya, but all over, at the same shelter for women since I speak other languages. Some are pregnant and don’t even know abortion is legal here. Some hug me when I tell them they can end their pregnancies.” (Guys, who gets a hug for telling someone they can end their pregnancy? Oh no!). She goes on, “I became an American officially last year and I am glad to be in such a country that has shelters for women. I don’t think my old country has shelters for that. I think I was always an American in my heart. America respects women more than other countries but it still has a way to go. If we got rid of abortion, we’d be like the countries some Americans don’t like.”
I’m scared. Okay yeah, sometimes I excuse myself that maybe since she’s about 6 years older than me (she’s kinda 28/29), she can be more liberal. Maybe I haven’t had enough of life’s experiences. I don’t have a kid yet. But please help me here, does any case like this justify abortion? Do reasons like, “I don’t want to remember my former husband”, “The child might have been handicapped”, “I don’t have a job” etc justify abortion?