OPINION

I've never had an abortion ... but I expect you to vote for my right to have one

Demonstrators lend their support to the No vote against repealing the abortion law.
Demonstrators lend their support to the No vote against repealing the abortion law.

I've never had to have an abortion, but I still expect my representatives to vote for my right to one.

At 30-years old and single, I'm thankful I've never had to decide whether or not I'm ready to raise a child on my own.

I am not a victim of rape. I do not know what it's like to carry a fetus which has no chance of becoming a healthy baby. I've never unintentionally created a life I am ill-prepared to care of.

But I have held the hand of a friend in a sterile waiting room while she waited nervously for a procedure she was taught to feel ashamed of needing.

I have held another friend while she cried to a stranger down the phone that she needed a service which made her a criminal in NSW.

Legal abortions are necessary for me, for my friends and for all the other women who might someday have to make the tough choice - we expect our leaders to vote accordingly.

Alex Crowe

I've never had to be as brave as those two women and for this I count myself lucky.

But I did become an adult in a world where sexual assault, financial hardship and mental illness are common enough that experiencing any of those things, and becoming pregnant, is probable enough that I know countless women who have.

Thankfully, I've never taken the test and had it come up the shape I wasn't hoping for. I've never needed to take the day off work to travel to the nearest clinic and be poked and prodded by a stranger who has taken control of my future.

But for the women in my past who have, and for the future me who still might need to, I expect my representatives to vote to give me the option.

As NSW MPs debate abortion reform in parliament, many remain undecided over which way they will vote.

The naysayers, including the Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies, have warned the bill will "open the floodgates" to abortion on demand.

The Finance Minister Damien Tudehope has claimed it will allow "unrestricted abortions until the moment of birth".

Through my '20s, I had countless conversations with women who'd found themselves pregnant at a time when they were too young, too broke or just too happy with their lives without a baby.

MY RIGHT: Protesters take to the streets to lend their support to the motion to change NSW's abortion laws. [Inset] Journalist Alex Crowe

MY RIGHT: Protesters take to the streets to lend their support to the motion to change NSW's abortion laws. [Inset] Journalist Alex Crowe

Not one of these women had made the decision to terminate their pregnancies lightly.

Not one of them has been unaware that the situation had altered them a little, that it would stay with them. That there may be a time later down the line when getting pregnant could get difficult or impossible, then what?

Yet each one of those women had expressed their gratitude for living in a country which gave them the opportunity to take control of their futures and have control of their bodies. None of them has ever expressed regret over their decision.

But each one of those women lived in the city in Victoria.

A woman in regional NSW will not be forced to give birth to a child she does not want. She will be forced to find a doctor who feels the same way she does about the issue, convince them a baby is not in her best interest and travel to a city to await the intrusive procedure.

This archaic law has kept hospitals from offering her help and has prevented Medicare from stepping in to ensure she won't be financially burdened.

She might even join the handful of NSW girls who travel to Victoria each month for the privilege of sovereignty over her own body.

This is an opportunity for NSW to step into the present day along with the rest of the country. Abortion is not nice, it's not something any girl wants to go through, but we still need easy access to them.

Legal abortions are necessary for me, for my friends and for all the other women who might someday have to make the tough choice - we expect our leaders to vote accordingly.

Alex Crowe is a Central Western Daily journalist. The opinions expressed in this piece are hers alone.