*An anonymous written piece and their perspective on the Texas heartbeat bill*
My mom was 11 years old when her older brother's sexual abuse of her got her pregnant. Her parents covered up the abuse, forcing her to lie and say she'd been fooling around with a boy in her class. They hid her away from the public eye and shamed her for being pregnant. She begged to be allowed to abort me, but her parents denied her access to an abortion.
Childbirth left her disabled: to this day she has chronic pain in her hips and walks with a cane.
Her parents adopted me and raised me as their own, believing my mother and father were my older siblings. My mother was sent to a boarding school, but on break she was forced to live in the same household as her abuser and the product of that abuse until she left home at 18.
I found out the truth a year ago, when I turned 18. Suddenly a lot of things started to make sense: why my "sister" could barely look at me when I was growing up, why she barely had any contact with the family after she left home, why it always felt like something was off about my family and the way they saw me. I'd always felt like they were embarrassed of me, but I'd never known why.
I am the kind of person pro-lifers claim to protect.
While my mom wasn't prevented from abortion by law, the outcome is the same. I, and many other babies, was born to an unwilling and deeply traumatized young mother.
I was born a reminder of abuse, a shameful family secret.
When an unwanted pregnancy occurs after abuse, this is the outcome many pro-lifers hope for, this is the outcome the Texas heartbeat bill intends to enforce.
I'm one of the lucky ones. I found out at 18, when I had the capacity to process it. My mom sought mental health care in her adulthood and we've developed a positive relationship in the last year. I wasn't raised by a resentful mother, bounced between begrudging family members, or put in foster care. Many children born in similar circumstances grow up abused, openly resented, and traumatized.
My life is fine, and my mom's life is fine despite everything she went through. But if I could go back in time and somehow change her parents' minds, I would do so in a heartbeat.
No one should ever be forced to endure a pregnancy and childbirth against their will, especially a victim of abuse, and especially a child. No one should have the right to violate another person's body like that.
Yes, I am grateful for the life I have, but quite frankly I should never have been born.