Culture

Anne Summers: ‘It Was Going To Be A Challenge To Get Myself An Abortion In New York City’

In Anne Summers' memoir, Unfettered and Alive, the political activist, journalist and policy maker reflects on having two abortions and deciding motherhood was not for her.

By Anne Summers

Culture

In Anne Summers' memoir, Unfettered and Alive, the political activist, journalist and policy maker reflects on having two abortions and deciding motherhood was not for her.

By Anne Summers

My reverie with New York lasted for less than two months. To my horror I discovered that, once again, I was pregnant. It was, I realised, the result of a one­ night stand with a visiting Australian with whom I would never dally again, and whom I could never tell. I knew I had no choice about what to do, although it was going to be a challenge to get myself an abortion in New York City—and probably very expensive—but the hormones had already started to kick ­in, and I found myself emotionally connecting to what was happening inside me. But, I told myself, there was no way I could have a baby.

It might just have been possible the last time I’d been pregnant, in 1979 when I was working in the Press Gallery. Life in Canberra was a lot simpler and support services were on hand, but I’d rejected that choice. I had put myself and my new job first. Had I chosen differently then, today I’d be the single mother of a six ­year­ old, and no way would I have this job in New York. Now I was 41 and this was probably my last chance, so I had to think very hard about whether I wanted this child. I’ve never been very clucky or defined myself solely, or even at all, by my ability to bear a child, so I could be a lot more dispassionate than would have been possible for some women.

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This is an extract from Anne Summer’s latest book, Unfettered And Alive: A Memoir. Join Summers in conversation with Future Women Founding Director Helen McCabe on November 14 in Sydney. Book here.

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