A granddaughter, daughter, mother, and future grandmother’s thoughts on abortion

I have been in Germany for the past month, wandering through Amsterdam’s red light district, seeing condom ads plastered across public walls in Germany, generally enjoying myself. I spent most of my time with my mother and my daughters. Immersing myself amongst the females in my family was well-timed. I returned just a bit before midnight last night to a state where Wendy Davis and hundreds of protesters kept draconian abortion legislation from becoming law in Texas. I flew through a dark cloud, and while I am so proud of Senator Davis and all of my fellow Texas women for standing up for what is right, I am also worried and scared about what is to come.

My daughters’ rights are being chipped away, slowly – their rights to make their own decisions about their own bodies, their own reproduction. About whether to have my grandchildren.

When my first daughter was a baby, my grandmother asked me if my experience mothering made me realize that abortion should be banned. No…if anything, it made me feel more strongly in favor of ensuring every woman has access to legal and safe abortion. Being pregnant and giving birth were exhausting work – but nothing compared to being a mother. Only women who are passionately committed to, who actively want children should do it.

I’m one of the 2/3 of women who has never had an abortion – and as a lesbian, it’s likely that I won’t ever find myself in need. Years ago, though, things were different for me. There was one day, when I was 19 and dating a boy, that I had a pregnancy scare. The boy I was dating apparently didn’t think I should have a choice about whether or not to have an abortion. Even though I had made my thoughts on the matter quite clear – he was unwilling to consider any option other than abortion. He didn’t think I should have a choice.

I left him shortly thereafter, grateful to be alone, not alone and pregnant.

Because I did have a choice – I had the ability to choose whether or not to bare and birth a baby. And I am adamant that my daughters have the same choice.

The political motion in the United States to reduce a woman’s access to birth control and abortion a movement to reduce women’s ability to be their truest and most authentic selves. It is an attempt to reduce me, my mother, my daughters, to our biology. It is an attempt to punish us for our sexuality.

It is my life’s work to make sure that this anti-women political movement will not succeed. We are, each of us, so much more than our sexuality. A million times more. Every person holds an astounding level of beauty and uniqueness. To deny it for anyone based on gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, or reproductive capacity, is an attack on basic human rights. Everybody is somebody. Full stop.


Thank you, A Mighty Girl, for this image. Love it.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.