About a month ago, LifeNews published a piece about Candice Russell, a Texas woman who claimed she was “forced” to fly to California to abort her unborn child.
This week, Russell wrote a second piece for Self in response to Lena Dunham saying she “wishes” she had an abortion. Dunham’s comments drew outrage from both sides of the abortion debate, and Russell was among them.
“My choice to have had my abortions will never be something I regret, but I won’t pretend that it didn’t come with consequences,” she wrote. “… Abortion isn’t something to strive for, and our lived experiences aren’t some sort of fashionable article of clothing for you to try on and discard.
“We don’t have the option of throwing our choices away when they are out of season. We have to live with them, for better or for worse, forever,” she continued.
Despite her abortions not being wholly positive, Russell still defended them. She said she had her first abortion when she was 20 years old and just beginning to pull herself up out of poverty.
My childhood had been less than ideal; I had been living on my own since before I graduated high school and had spent the few years prior bouncing in and out of poverty, always one bad case of the flu or blown head gasket away from not making rent and being forced to live in my car again. Thankfully I had just gotten my first office job, and the five-dollars-an-hour pay increase, coupled with the promise of a full benefits package after my 90 days was up, had me feeling something close to stable for the first time in my life.
A positive pregnancy test changed that. Russell said she was afraid that everything she had worked so hard for would be gone, that a baby would push her back into poverty.
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I also thought about my own childhood and how hard it had been. As the daughter of a teenage mother I knew what it was like to be parented by someone who wasn’t ready or even that willing to do so. And though I thought I might eventually want a family, I also knew I didn’t want to bring a child into this world who would end up in a situation like mine, where they weren’t living so much as struggling to survive. All of this made my choice to have an abortion a simple one …
Ten years later, when she had just separated with her partner, she discovered that her IUD had failed, and she was pregnant again. Russell said she had decided a while ago that she did not want to be a parent, and she had been trying to find a doctor who would sterilize her but was repeatedly denied.
So, rather than follow the Texas abortion regulations, requiring a 24-hour waiting period, informed consent and more, she took out a loan, lied to her boss about her grandfather dying and flew to California to abort her unborn child.
“I struggled for a long time afterwards financially, falling into the payday loan cycle of robbing Peter to pay Paul, which took me years to get out of. And yet I know just how privileged I am to have been able to make this happen at all.”
Russell said Dunham was wrong to imply that an abortion is a good thing, something that a woman should want to experience. She took issue with Dunham’s statement as a sign of her privileged life, a rich actress who does not understand the struggles of women in poverty. But Russell did not take her thoughts a step further and delve into why her abortions were so difficult, so troubling or why Dunham’s comments struck such a nerve, even among abortion supporters.
Like her, many Americans are troubled by abortion and sickened when someone like Dunham makes flippant comments about it. The reason, whether they admit it or not, is that an abortion kills a unique, living human being. Russell had other choices; they may not have been easy choices, but either parenting or adoption would have been better than destroying her unborn children’s lives. Life is not easy, but killing a human being never is the best solution to a problem.