A corner of the facade of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

My mother figured out I was sexually active when I was 14 years old.

We went to Planned Parenthood to explore my contraception options. At that age, I still found her presence to be a nuisance, so I forced her to wait in the car during my appointment.

Turns out there was already a life growing inside of me. My heart dropped when the nurse told me.

“You have options,” the nurse said.

I found comfort knowing this. I was way too young to have a baby. And I was positive I wanted an abortion — or so I thought.

But more than having the baby, I was terrified of what my mother’s reaction would be. I was grateful when the clinic informed me I didn’t have to tell her. The nurse put a Band-Aid on my arm, and I told my mom I got the Depo-Provera shot. She was none the wiser, and I had time to contemplate my options.

Ultimately, I did not have an abortion. But that was my choice to make. Women deserve that choice.

A world without guaranteed options for women is now the reality in the United States. State laws have jurisdiction over our bodies and my sacred womb is subject to policy, regulations and decisions made by politicians.

And as for the children: Look at the lives that the second amendment has cost us — the tragedies, the massacres. Our country can not even keep the children already alive safe.

There is not enough talk about revamping the foster care system, increasing funding for education or acknowledging that children have no say in their circumstances. Our society puts children on the pipeline to prison faster than they teach them to spell their names.

People claim to care about life in a womb, but what happens when that life is born addicted to narcotics, neglected in the foster system or subjected to abuse?

Being pro-life does not stop at 40 weeks — this is a hard world to bring a child into.

Pro-life should mean more than caring about a heart beat. It should be a movement to protect the unborn and underrepresented: the little girl whose stepfather violates her, the boy who leaves school and starves over the weekend, the teens who rebel because they have no idea what to do with their trauma.

The leaders of our country have spoken. We are required to listen. If only the same expectations were put on them, and they had to listen to us.

There are so many choices we don’t get to make. Why take away one of the few we do have?

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Heather C. Jarvis

Heather C. Jarvis is a writer incarcerated in Ohio. A winner of the PEN America annual prison writing contest, her work has appeared in the Iowa Review PWP, The Crime Report and The Journal of Woman and Criminal Justice.