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'My best friends judged me over a hypothetical abortion'.

I remember the night clearly.

It was a much-needed and long overdue catch up with four of my oldest, closest girlfriends.

It was a relaxed get-together at one of their apartments – one of those nights involving good food, good wine and good conversation.

It HAD been a good night…

We had all been friends since primary school and we all happened to share a similar world view and outlook on life – which is why we were still friends all those years later, I guess.

Now we were all in our late 20s, and we were officially grown-ups. We all had jobs, partners and hectic lives. It was rare that we had all had a night free and we had made the most of it by getting up to speed on each other’s lives, before the conversation turned to more serious things.

We began talking about hypotheticals, and what we would do in different situations.

Then, one of my friends asked what I would do if I found out I was pregnant. And to be honest, the way they all responded to my answer has put a strain on our relationships, even months later.

‘Having a baby was just out of the question’.

Admittedly I had had a couple of glasses of wine at that point, and I burst out laughing at the seemingly ridiculous thought of being pregnant.

Me? With a baby? I was scraping by on a low wage.

I lived in the world’s smallest, most run-down apartment.

And my relationship with my partner?

Well, it could best be described as going through a “rough patch” at that point in my life.

Having a baby was just out of the question. There was no way I would have been able to be a good mother then. I just wasn’t ready emotionally, financially or even on the most practical level.

So I told my friends that I would have an abortion. And I was met with deafening silence.

Crickets. Tumbleweeds.

“This is my abortion”. 

They all exchanged meaningful looks with each other.

Finally, they spoke.

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“Are you sure, Jane?”

“You’re not a hopeless teenager anymore.”

“That just seems a little wrong, a little selfish. Because you know you could make it work.”

“I guess all of our relationships are just in a much better place than yours, that’s why we’re so shocked.”

A baby was NOT part of the plan.

I was dumbfounded. At first I thought they were joking.

Because here’s the thing. These were all pro-choice, left-leaning, feminist women. We had discussed abortion before, and they were all strongly in favour of women having the right to choose.

I knew they didn’t have a problem with abortion – I just didn’t realise that in their minds, there was a right type of abortion. According to them, abortion is fine if it’s a teenager getting one, just not an adult with a job and a relationship (no matter how unstable).

I was also angry. Really angry. Because women just can’t win.

Some people will judge us if we have an abortion. Some will judge us if we don’t. And it turns out that some will judge us even when we’re only talking about one hypothetically.

“I had an abortion”. 

Now, I respect that people have different opinions. If I had been out with some of my more conservative or religious friends, I would probably have held my tongue out of respect for their views.

But I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that my closest friends, who usually agree with me on the big issues, would be judging me so harshly.

And what also hurt was the knowledge that if my hypothetical ever came true and I did get pregnant accidently, I wouldn’t be able to turn to them for support.

Why Robyn Lawley’s abortion backlash is a dangerous new low.

A few months have passed since that night, and of course, we’re all still friends. Very close friends, in fact.

But that conversation is still at the back of my mind. And I hate that it’s gotten in the way of decades of friendship.

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