My publisher called me ‘selfish’ for wanting to write about abortion

Sadly, he embodies the stigma so many women feel

I’m 22. It’s an odd age: trying to be taken seriously, get as many career opportunities as possible, and of course embody that “fun and wild and careless” twenty-something that Cosmo keeps talking about.

But we have to deal with a lot. What happens when that fun turns into something life-changing? When I got the opportunity to write a rant piece for a prolific magazine, I knew I wanted to use the platform to make a statement that was meaningful to me.

I chose to write about my rights– reproductive rights and my right to choose. I’ve had my scares, as many have. But when it comes to making THAT decision, what if it’s out of your hands, what if it’s already made for you?

My piece was rife with what I thought of as funny jokes and witty wordplay, trying to make light of a polarizing topic. My new editor, though, found it little amusing. Instead, he (yes, the HE part is important) with a pompous British accent simply said, “Why don’t you talk about how selfish abortion is?”

Um, what? For a publication that is literally for women, especially millennials, how can the editor be so narrow-minded? What would their readers think?

I was so infuriated, I stomped the thirty blocks back to my apartment. This was not OK.

Of course, everyone can have their own moral opinion. And yes to some degree, with abortion this is a question of life and death. I personally haven’t had to make that decision, but a lot of my friends have struggled with the idea. So when I was mentioning such a personal feminine choice, my editor’s cold response seemed like a direct attack to all women.

But what’s the opposite of selfish? Self-less. Let’s say you’re self-less and have the kid. What then? You struggle through learning how to parent, financially supporting someone other than yourself, trying to follow your dreams to set an example for your child, all while adhering to even more criticism about how you’re parenting. On top of that, you’re trying to finish college to create a better future for both of you. Where is the child in all of this, is it really ‘self-less’ to open them up to potential neglect?

The freedom of choice means more to a woman than men can imagine. This is about exercising your individual rights, nothing more. I’m not saying that getting an abortion is the “right” choice, that’s entirely up to the individual, which is the whole point. Women should be able to make this decision for themselves.

In an era where human rights are being threatened from all angles, you inherently have to determine what means the most to you.  From that moment, staring at my editor with my tongue bleeding from slamming my teeth into it so violently, I realized how important reproductive rights were to me. And I wanted that to be known. Is that selfish? Sure. But the ability to discuss an option, to choose no matter what someone else thinks, cannot be called selfish.