John Clark sharing a very personal experience. By now you have seen the stories regarding the leaked documents from the supreme court regarding Roe VS Wade and the sense that the justices are leaning heavily toward abolishing that landmark decision. Make no mistake, this affects men as well as women.

In the early 1970s, I was in a contentious and dysfunctional relationship with a young woman who was attending a Maine college. It was one of those that should never have come about, but weren’t many of us stubborn and afflicted with poor judgment in our early twenties?

She was on the pill, so the thought of pregnancy wasn’t something I worried about. I should have. She decided the pill was making her fat and stopped taking them, but didn’t tell me. The next thing I knew, two people who were completely unprepared to become parents, were facing that reality. Legal abortion was only available in New York at that time. We agreed that despite the distance, cost, and possible traumatic effects, that was our choice.

I remember answering an ad in The Maine Times and scheduling the appointment. To say the drive down was tension-filled would be an understatement. I wasn’t allowed to wait at the clinic, so I wandered around NYC and have a vague memory of eating lunch at a Chinese restaurant. After returning to the clinic and paying while she was being discharged, we drove back to Maine with very few words being spoken.

The relationship ended shortly thereafter. However, the emotional part of the experience and the associated memories remain to this day. Would I want to go through it again? No, and I’m grateful I never had to make such a choice again, but I do not want that choice stolen from others in similar, or more dire situations. That seems to be on the horizon.

My point in sharing this experience is this: Ask yourself whether you want others to have a choice? Are the people running for office that you’ll be voting for respect the right of women to choose what happens to their bodies, or are they so full of self-righteousness they’re incapable of respecting others’ needs for personal freedom? If this right is abolished, what one will be targeted next?

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  1. Heidi Wilson says:

    Thank you for posting this, John. It’s the silence of the comfortable that has got us into the political mess we’re in now, and not just on abortion. The key is turnout, turnout, turnout on Election Day.

  2. Brenda Buchanan says:

    Oh, John. This is such a powerful and personal story. You are brave and good to share it. Thank you.

    I am outraged, for myself and all of the younger women and men in my life who will feel the personal impact if the Supreme Court abandons precedent and overturns Roe. And I fear what will follow such a decision. This is an emotion-packed issue, and the fallout is likely to be harrowing on many levels. I’m grateful to you for sharing your personal experience with the enormous, painful decision you and your then-girlfriend made. The anti-choice crowd mischaracterizes abortion as a way for reckless people of no conscience to avoid the consequences of their actions. As your words demonstrate, that is far, far from the truth.

  3. David says:

    Thanks John. I still feel the pain of a similar experience some 50 years ago. Men need to speak put and stop being silent about Roe.

  4. Shelley Burbank says:

    Thank you for sharing this very personal story, John. It’s very important, as you point out, to understand that reproductive rights affect both men and women.

  5. maggierobinsonwriter says:

    I have read dozens of women’s personal stories over the past few days, but this is a first from a man’s perspective. Thank you for writing it.

  6. Thank you for this testimony, John. I honor your pain and David’s. As you so rightly point out, both women and men have reproductive rights that will be affected by SCOTUS’ decistion.

  7. kaitcarson says:

    Thank you for posting this very personal story. I too remember when abortion was only legal in New York. I was in university in Florida at the time. One of my suite-mates was faced with the choice of returning to New York – and facing her parents – or undergoing a “back-room” abortion locally. She opted to return home, but I knew several women who did not. There stories did not have happy endings. It will be horrible to return to those days.

  8. dickcass says:

    Thank you for sharing this John. I have a similar story from my twenties that is a stone in my memories. What I fail to understand is how these prurient and arrogant people feel the need (or the right) to judge anyone or to prescribe for anyone but themselves.

  9. Ann says:

    Very well said. Agree 100%

  10. Julianne Spreng says:

    The numbers don’t lie. Most abortions are requested by women who already have one or more children whether they are in a relationship or not. Forcing women and families to accommodate another child simply because YOU said so is obscene for the very reason that those doing the forcing are also against supporting pre and post natal care, food aid, health care, education, and child care for that child. I speak from experience.

  11. Julianne Spreng says:

    Additional comment: I work the polls in a very conservative precinct. We have 1,058 registered voters. On Tuesday, including absentee and early voters, only 331 voted in an extremely contentious election. Yet, you can’t go anywhere without hearing loud, angry opinions. I’m going to begin asking did you vote?

  12. kaitlynkathy says:

    You’re right, John. No one can remain silent when basic human rights are at stake. Thank you for speaking up. Now we need to vote those who would send us back to the restrictions of the 1950s out of office at every level of government..

  13. Pingback: DOES SILENCE IMPLY CONSENT? | Maine Crime Writers – Maine Reportings

  14. Hey, John. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry y’all had to go through that, but like you, I’m glad you had an option. Voting is so important. We must not go back to the “good old days” of the 50s with all its discrimination and lack of rights. Study. Learn. And vote.

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