Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): With your first experience with abortion, how old were you and what were the circumstances?
Terrance Young (TY): My first experience with abortion, I was 18 years old. I was in the military and my then girlfriend called me and told me she was pregnant. Being 18 it may be unusual for some but I was ecstatic, I was happy, I was looking forward to bringing in a new life into the world. She appeared to be just as ecstatic as I was; however, her mother intervened and suggested abortion and backed up her suggestion with many reasons that my then girlfriend fell for. Sooner or later that’s what she ended up doing.
She pretty much had an ultimatum from me that if she aborted the child I would leave her and her mother told her that if she did not abort the child she would abandon her. Therefore she’s literally in a catch-22, and had to choose between her boyfriend and her mother, and she chose to honor her mother’s wishes and had an abortion.
EM: How was the news given to you since you were in the military?
TY: Well, before she actually had the abortion she shared with me her conversations with her mother and she confessed to me that she was contemplating it. She told me that she would give it time and she would wait before she made her decision, but unbeknownst to me she made her decision a lot sooner than I thought she would. I heard that she had done it through one of my friends. A mutual friend told me about it.
EM: When you came back, well even before that but definitely when you came back, how did that affect your relationship with her?
TY: It destroyed my relationship with her. Although we stayed together in a physical sense, emotionally things were never the same. I was filled with resentment from that. I never found myself able to trust her again after that, and I felt in a way as if she was someone I didn’t know. I guess for selfish reasons I stayed with her, but you how they say “your body’s here with me but your mind is on the other side of town”…mentally and emotionally I was somewhere else. To answer your question, it literally destroyed our relationship, it was never the same. Even when we tried to get it back on track it was never the same.
EM: How did it affect her after the abortion, after you coming back and the relationship not really working out?
TY: She resented her mother and she regretted the fact that she had gone through with it. She expressed that to me numerous times, which wasn’t good enough for me. She had done what she had done. She always said that if she had the opportunity to do it all over again she would make a different decision. Abortion is one of those things…it’s not like a dice game where you throw the dice where if the dice don’t fall your way you can just throw them again. Once you do it it’s done. She told me she had trouble sleeping. She told me it was just very, very difficult for her. In the years afterward she would always try to get pregnant again for me, and it would just never work. It was a great source of pain for her in the end.
EM: After that, how did it affect your relationships with women in general having that on your mind, before having the children that you have now?
TY: I think that it further damaged my ability to trust women when I was in relationships, but beyond that I don’t think that the abortion affected any of my future relationships, at least not that I can think of.
EM: Looking back on that, how do you see it today?
TY: It reaffirmed for me the sacredness of human life, and watching her vacillate between two opinions, mine and her mother’s, and doing the wrong thing because you’re trying to please somebody who thinks it’s the right thing, is never the right decision to make. So more than anything it just really reaffirmed my belief that if God decrees for a child to be born than none of us have the right to impede that child and its opportunity to be in this world. I just don’t believe in that. It just reaffirms my belief that she did the wrong thing. I can’t say that learned from it, because in my nature I already knew that it was wrong. I believe that’s what God put in my heart and my mind.
EM: For the 16 year olds, 20 and 30 year olds who are going through what you went through where they have a girl pregnant, what advice would you give them in handling a situation like that especially if they’re faced with opposing views, whether the woman wants to have the abortion or someone in her life wants her to have it?
TY: I believe that any woman who becomes pregnant with child should automatically incline more toward the thinking of the spiritual mind versus all other minds that might be around them and have the ability to influence them. I think that prayer is paramount, and you should ask God to guide you in your decision making process. I think that you should get a piece of paper, and on the left side of the piece of paper write down all of the reasons that you think you should terminate your pregnancy. Then on the right side of that piece of paper, write down all of the reasons you think that this child should be born. Envision the possibility of what this child could be and could do for the world. Don’t think negative, think positive. I guarantee you that the right side of the piece of paper will be far more powerful and outweigh whatever is on the left side of the piece of paper. I say that to say your reasons for having the baby is always more powerful and it makes more sense than for terminating the pregnancy. Although you may have other extenuating circumstances like rape and incest and molestation that take on different dynamics.
Recently I had a young lady send me a message on Twitter, and she told me that maybe five years ago she contacted me, because she was pregnant and she was contemplating abortion. I don’t remember the conversation, but she definitely does and she said that I talked her into having her child. Whatever I said to her influenced her in the way that she should have the baby. She said, “Now every time I see you on the news I reach over and I kiss my five year old son, because I don’t know where I would be without him now”. So the inclination to terminate the pregnancy often times is a result fear and a result of the stress that goes along with being pregnant and all of the social pressures, that are around you. That fear, that stress and those social pressures they’re always temporary. You never know what that child will grow up and become. So I think that would be my advice to someone who might be crossing between the two opinions. The scripture says that if you have choice to choose between life and death choose life. It’s just as simple as that.
EM: You have another experience with abortion where she seemed a little bit less attached and it was done somewhat casually and again without yourknowledge. Tell me a little bit about that.
TY: Well, when I was younger I was in a casual relationship with a young lady and subsequently she got pregnant. She never informed me that she was with child; I heard it through a third party. However, by the time I heard that she had gotten pregnant she already aborted the baby, and I was angry with her. I called her and asked her what happened and she said, “Yes I got pregnant, but I went on and had the abortion. Don’t worry about it”. I told her that I don’t believe in abortions, and I wish she would have consulted with me. I would have wanted her to bring the child to term, and she said, “I didn’t know that you would’ve wanted it. Had you wanted the child I would’ve kept it”. That was her attitude, and I really think that that was the assumption, because she and I were casually relating that I wouldn’t want to take responsibility for a seed that I implanted. So that was that.
I think that in society there’s a stereo type, particularly among males in the inner city that we would rather not have a child than to have a child and it’s just not true in all cases. So that was a very interesting experience to say the least. By the time I heard that she was pregnant she had already taken a trip down to the local abortion clinic and did what she thought I would’ve wanted her to do.
EM: In spite of what society may project on the men to not want the baby, what about the social influence on the woman to have an abortion. What are your thoughts about that?
TY: I think that it has a lot to do with the society that you were brought up in. I think living in the country that we live in we make things like abortion so convenient that it’s socially acceptable. Women, they just don’t see it as the big deal that it is. It’s a social norm, and it has a lot to do with the environment in which that person is raised.
I think in most cases it’s not as easy as some women make it appear. Most women that I have intimate conversations with about abortions, they have some sense of regret. If not regret some sense of hurt or some sense of pain still there, because it can be akin to taking a life depending on how you view it, and taking a life is not something that just easy to do.
EM: You mentioned a law here in Texas where the mother has to listen to the sonogram of the baby’s heartbeat before going through with the abortion, but you also mentioned bringing balance to that in bringing the father into the picture to make that decision as well. Tell me about your views with that.
How do you believe more balance can be brought to this? If the male doesn’t want the abortion how can he exercise his authority as the father?
TY: Yes, I believe that it takes two to make a baby, and it should be required that the two that made the baby be held responsible for the baby. So if a child is brought to term and the child is born and the father has disappeared, the constabulary on the local or state level oftimes will go after the father to make him responsible for the child that he brought into the world. They call it child support. However, when a woman is impregnated by a man, I’ve suffered this myself, and the woman decides she does not want the baby the man has no say-so in whether or not she be permitted to abort the child although that’s his child too. Society says that because it’s her body she should have full range in the decision making process, and that’s the way it is most times. Men, we have no say-so in whether or not the child is brought to birth, however we’re made to be held responsible for the support of the child once it is brought to birth. I just think that there needs to be more balance and that men should have a place and a position in the decision making process of whether or not the child that he help to produce is brought to term.
I think if nothing else an initial inquiry be made. If the woman is halting between the two options; abortion versus going through the birth process I believe that …and I don’t know if it would be a doctor or a social worker… whoever is the authority in handling that particular case should ask the question, “Where’s the father?” I think that should be standard operating procedure that a request is made for the father to come in and that the decision could and should be made together. I think that better decisions would be made if both parents made the decision. However, like I say in most cases, if a woman comes in and she has an abortion, society assumes that he man does not want the child and it’s just not always the case.
It’s like asking a man the question, “Has anyone ever aborted your child”, to be very honest with you we really don’t know unless somebody tells us. Somebody can tell you “no” and that may not be the truth. He may not even know. Why? Because they don’t need his consent. So those are my thoughts.
EM: Thank you very much for being so open and for offering some thought provoking points.
TY: Thank you queen.
(Ebony S. Muhammad is a Certified Thanatologist, specializing in grief and loss. She is a Licensed Massage & Spa Therapist and the Publisher of Hurt2Healing Magazine. www.hurt2healingmag.com. Feel free to follow her @EbonySafiyyah. This piece was republished with her permission.)