To the editor:

I am a domestic violence and sexual abuse survivor. And I’m writing to ask Wasco County residents to vote “no” on Measure 106.

When I was still with my abuser, I had a pregnancy scare. I’d been a Christian, conservative, pro-life voter my entire life, but being personally faced with an unplanned pregnancy gave me pause.

I grew up witnessing how hard life had been for a cousin who’d gotten pregnant “out of wedlock,” how “pro-life” family members had gossiped about “shameful” state her behind her back, and how hard she struggled to provide for her child as a single mother.

I also knew the temperament of my abuser. I’d endured hours of being screamed at, of being terrified, of watching him beat my puppy with his fists until it was a quivering mess in the corner.

I’d always told myself that, if I got pregnant, I’d do the “responsible” thing no matter what: that I’d be an “adult” and carry that child to term and raise it.

But as I sat crying in the bathroom of my apartment, praying for my period to come, I began to reassess what doing the “responsible thing” really meant.

Was it responsible for me to have a child I couldn’t afford to care for? To ask her to go without food or clothing because I didn’t have the resources to support her? Was it responsible to bring her into a world of fists and screams and terror? To have her live in an environment that would forever damage her the way it had damaged me?

I was haunted by those questions. And I decided that, if I was pregnant, I loved my unborn child too much to put her through that kind of suffering. My period came two weeks later. I never had to actually make “the choice.” But being faced with it forever changed me.

“Medically necessary” abortion laws don’t take horrors like rape, domestic violence, or incest into account. Nor do they account for the psychological damage a woman might endure by carrying a child to term.

“Medically necessary” abortion laws don’t consider the plight of womxn in poverty, of mothers who are forced to give birth children they cannot possibly provide for.

I refuse to punish impoverished, abused womxn for situations beyond their control. I refuse to punish womxn for being trapped in a nation that devalues motherhood, in a country that demands we “protect” the unborn while failing to provide the social support it would take to render abortion unnecessary.

Want to end abortion? Work to make it unneeded. Until then, vote “no” on 106. Anything else is hypocrisy.

Megan Hoak

The Dalles

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