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December 20, 2016

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Kid Me Not Introduction

January 17, 2016

In the 1960s women saw the advent of the birth control pill, making theirs the first generation to have reliable options when considering whether or not to become mothers. Availability of The Pill provided women and their partners a sexual freedom never before seen in society. Their lives were further touched by social upheaval over the Vietnam War, the military draft, the struggle for civil rights and rapidly changing attitudes toward the use of drugs.

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"Have you ever regretted not having children?"

January 10, 2016

A dear soul on (my) Facebook page asked me this the other day, and I thought I’d make the answer public. The simple answer, blessedly, is: No.

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“Don’t you want to leave your genes behind, your legacy?”

January 3, 2016

My husband felt a strong need to leave his genes behind. This is probably instinctive; perhaps even a species-directive, for many people. Having a child can serve as a buffer to the fact that your life really is finite. There’s that son or daughter, a living person coded with half your genetic material, who will carry on. For me, such concerns were never important.

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Director of One of Texas' First Abortion Clinics: 'We're Going Backwards'

December 30, 2015

We talked to Aralyn Hughes, a second-wave activist who worked at Austin's first abortion clinic in the years following "Roe v. Wade," about why she became a feminist, what it was like to offer abortion services in the 70s, and how the abortion debate became so violently polarized.

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“You’re selfish.”

October 15, 2015

I was the administrator/ director of the first abortion clinic in Austin, Texas. No woman who ever came to us wanted to be there. So often their situations were the result of their having been trained to deny their sexuality, leaving them ill-prepared in matters of birth control when their natural instincts took over. In my clinic, I assisted Catholic women, Asian women, rich women, Ph.D. students, ministers’ wives, and women from smaller towns nearby. Teenagers, in most cases, came alone. Men were almost as rare as parents.

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“Who will take care of you in your golden years?”

October 7, 2015

An unmarried male friend with whom I used to go white water rafting recently died in his sleep. His body was not discovered for six days. The news made me realize the same thing could happen to me.

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“Children make your marriage stronger.”

September 9, 2015

It seemed that everyone, except for my military-wife friend who’d bluntly told the truth as she saw it, had a vested interest in my having children. Again and again my husband and family would press me on it. Friends assured me that children would strengthen my marriage. But I was having serious doubts about the marriage and thought it better to hold off until we got it in better order.

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"When are we going to hear the pitter patter of little feet?"

August 19, 2015

In 1968, at age 21, I married a young military man. Immediately my parents and friends began asking when I was going to start a family, how many children I planned to have. And they wanted assurances I’d be a stay-at-home mom.

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“Childbirth isn’t all that bad.”

August 14, 2015

On Memorial Day when I was growing up in Oklahoma, we would place plastic wreaths on the gravesites of relatives in the country cemeteries. When I was old enough to read the dates on the tombstones I wondered why some of the females had died so young. I was hardly comforted when I overheard grownups say, “Bless her heart, she died in childbirth.” Although giving birth is a much safer proposition today, no one’s ever convinced me it’s a sure thing. The severe cramps I suffered from puberty onward added to my anxieties around childbirth.

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“You would have been a great mother.”

August 8, 2015

Like most girls, I grew up assuming I would be a wife, mother and homemaker, believing that “the hand that rocked the cradle ruled the nation.” In high school I was President of the Future Homemakers of America, and in college I even went so far as to get a Bachelors of Science degree in Home Economics.

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“You must have had a bad childhood.”

July 22, 2015

Until the year my mother died, she called me on my birthday to tell me this story: “I wasn’t sure I wanted another child after your brother was born. He was a big baby—nine pounds. I didn’t know if I could go through that again. But after my own mother died, I started longing for another child, this time a girl. Several months into the pregnancy with you, they took an x-ray—they did that back then—and the doctor told me the baby had such big hands and feet it was probably going to be another boy. I tried to hide my disappointment."

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“You will regret not having children.”

July 17, 2015

One day the unthinkable happened. Although I’d taken every precaution, I—the woman who’d decided over and over against having children, who taught others about birth control—became pregnant herself. I was healthy and had a decent partner and stable finances. But as I once again weighed the option of having a child, I knew in my heart it would be the wrong choice. I felt like a failure and was furious with myself, as well as plenty embarrassed to be a patient at my own clinic. But accidents happen. They always will, as I’d seen over and over. When I chose abortion, I put the issue to bed finally and permanently. I would never have children in this lifetime, and I would never marry again. Those decisions went hand in hand.

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