That's My Issue: Autonomy over My Body

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As a psychiatrist, i'm particularly attuned to what makes people - including me - tick. My therapist once asked me how it came about that I feel so passionately about the importance of safe, legal and accessible abortion.

After all, I've never been pregnant myself, so it's not an issue of personal experience per se. My interest in the issue long pre-dated my becoming sexually active. There was an abortion-rights march in nearby Washington, D.C. in 1990, around the time I was 16-years-old, which coincided with my increasing interest in what was going on in the world around me. But that didn't quite explain it, either.

After some thorough self-exploration, I realized that, generally speaking, I have a fear of commitment and of being in situations which may become unpleasant and from which i cannot [or feel i cannot] extricate myself.

On some level, before I was even remotely close to contemplating being sexually active, there was a part of me that was particularly moved by the helplessness - and unpleasant commitment - involved in being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

There is truly no commitment greater than the commitment of becoming a mother, and the idea that law-makers, anti-abortion activists, so-called crisis pregnancy centers, various clergy, and others prevent or try to prevent women from having the ability to extricate themselves from THAT situation is terrifying.

-Writer Lily B. is a psychiatrist living in Rockville, MD.