As a native of Dayton, Ohio, I find myself caught at the heart of a debate that resonates with me on the deepest personal level – the debate over a woman's right to choose.
As someone who owes my life to my birth mother's difficult decision, I have a unique perspective on this topic. I would not be here today had my birth mother chosen to have an abortion.
Born to a young, white mother who got pregnant at 20, my arrival in this world was fraught with complexity. The fact that my biological father was a Black man only further complicated matters, leading her own family to reject the idea of me being brought into this world. Consequently, she was forbidden to bring me home.
Despite the pressure, my mother chose to give me life. She left me at an orphanage rather than have an abortion. I was adopted just before my second birthday and was raised by a loving Black family. I often think about my birth mother and wish I could have thanked her for the gift of life before she tragically took her own.
While my own life story might seem to lead me towards an anti-abortion stance, I remain fervently pro-choice. I recognize that the decision to have an abortion is intensely personal, often excruciating, and something that should not be dictated by politics or public opinion.
In fact, at the age of 19, during my freshman year in college, I found myself at a critical crossroad. I discovered I was pregnant.
Considering that I was adopted, this revelation carried profound weight for me. This child would be my very first blood relative that I would be bringing into the world. The decision was incredibly complex, filled with emotions, fears, and hopes.
After careful reflection and deep soul-searching, I chose to go forward with my pregnancy. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter, Britney, a decision that has brought immense joy and fulfillment into my life.
Even so, and perhaps because of this experience, I still stand steadfast in my support for a woman’s right to choose. My decision was right for me, but I recognize that every woman's situation is unique. Each must have the autonomy and support to make the best decision for herself and her circumstances.
I can only hope that as the nation continues to watch Ohio's unfolding drama –- empathy, understanding, and respect for individual choice will prevail.
Though I will never meet my birth mother, her decision to give me life has shaped my views, and allowed me to experience being a mother to four amazing children, who mean the world to me. Still, I wholeheartedly believe it is not our place to judge or dictate the choices of others. Every woman’s journey is different.
What's essential is preserving the right for each individual to decide what's best for her life, her body, and her future.