Editor’s Note: The names of the subjects in this article have been modified to protect their identities.
Starting high school is a huge step for anyone, starting with new teachers in a new building. On top of that excitement, imagine making the cheerleading team and also dating the star football player.
Starting sophomore year at 16, Samantha found out she was pregnant. She was terrified.
When she told her boyfriend, he was not interested.
“When I told my boyfriend, Brad, at the time, that I was pregnant, he immediately told me he wasn’t interested in a relationship and needed to focus on football,” Samantha said. “I was afraid my parents would kick me out of the house and I would get kicked out of school so I basically kept my pregnancy a secret until I was about five months along.”
She was afraid of her parents’ reaction and was only able to tell her close friends. Nevertheless, Samantha’s parents found out she was pregnant.
“There were families in the school that wanted me kicked out. Not Brad, me,” Samantha said.
On Jan. 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court passed Roe Vs. Wade, giving women the right to have an abortion.
According to The Guttmacher Institute, one in every four women have an abortion by the age of 45.
Brad’s family immediately offered to pay fully for an abortion when Samantha was right at the six months time frame; however, ignoring the continuous advice of Brad’s family, Samantha decided to look into starting the adoption process, suggested by her family, to find a home for the baby.
“Having an abortion was not an option that I wanted to explore and something I was against but it was still hard,” Samantha said.
“I was working with Catholic Social Services and I looked at families and even had it narrowed down to three or four families but I never went to the next step or committed to anything yet,” Samantha said. “When I had my daughter— because I kept thinking it was the route I was going to go— she went into Foster Care for three weeks.”
Samantha always knew in her heart she wanted to do things herself by raising her daughter and that is what she did.
With a full academic scholarship to a university with her daughter by her side, Samantha enrolled her daughter in university daycares while she pursued her education.
Twenty-six years later, Samantha knows she made the right decision.
“I am now a fairly successful business woman for now 20 years, I have a 16-year-old son as well and a husband that’s been in my daughter’s life since she was about 3 years old.”
It was not an easy process, choosing the keep her daughter while people threw their opinions at her.
“I was told that I would not be able to go to college and I would not amount to anything. To me, I wanted to prove everyone wrong,” Samantha said. “This happened, something I can’t change, but if you ask for help a lot of times you will receive it. I had a good support staff when my daughter was born.”
Samantha’s daughter is now 26, married and a college graduate.
“There are a lot of resources out there that many people don’t realize are around, you just have to do the research,” Samantha said. “There are places that help pregnant women who have children and there are actual charities that I support and make donations to because I know what it is like to be in that position and I know how fortunate I have been to be at the point I am at now.”
“In the nine months that a pregnancy takes, it is not going to ruin your life,” Samantha said. “People regret abortions but I have never heard of someone regretting having the child.”
According to The American Pregnancy Association, women can feel emotional and psychological side effects after an abortion: guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, regret, suicidal thoughts and feelings and more. Physically, women can get infections, experience heavy or persistent bleeding, damage to the cervix, damage to other organs and sometimes death from abortions.
“You can feel that abortion is your only option but it is not,” Samantha said. “I can’t imagine my life without my daughter and I can’t imagine the regret I would feel if I didn’t have her in my life. You read stories about women that almost have kind of like a PTSD after the experience and they felt like that was the only choice they had. There are other options. I did consider adoption; there are so many wonderful people that want a child but can’t have them.”
Every year since Jan. 22, 1974, thousands upon thousands of people against abortion participate in March for Life. Since 1974, men, women, young adults and children walk in Washington, D.C. showing support for the unborn until Roe vs. Wade is overturned. This year, the March for Life is held on Jan. 19. Many people, like Samantha, have attended with heartfelt signs, supporting Pro-Life.
“Once you are pregnant, to me, it’s no longer about you; it’s about what you can do for your child,” Samantha said. “If you can’t be the parent, if you cannot do the things to be a parent, to take care of a child, there are so many willing people that will do it.”