Family Secrets

Trigger warning: potential family violence, physical injury & death

There are so many ways that reproductive rights affect people. This is my family's story:

My grandma's cousin got pregnant as a teenager and in desperation her mother tried to give her a coat hanger abortion at home. She died. Not knowing what to do, her mother and boyfriend told the community that she had ran away and buried her in their basement. My family only learned about what happened relatively recently when the boyfriend came forward in old age and her remains were found in the house where her mother had lived for the rest of her life.

I wonder about one thing in particular – if my grandma's cousin wanted to abort her baby. If she did want her baby, the mother would live the rest of her life knowing that she had killed her daughter for something that this girl felt she needed. If she didn't want the baby, had she been able to access proper healthcare, she would have had advocates in abortion services to protect her from having an invasive medical procedure that she didn't consent to.

My family will never know, which of these two versions of events was truly the case. I'm not sure that either is any less tragic.