It was February 1998. Winter was bitter and life was tough. Sitting on the icy tiled floor of the narrow bathroom in the student residence, I couldn’t take my eyes off the two pink bars. Maybe if I stared at them long enough and hard enough, they would eventually fade away. But nothing happened. Nothing magical, anyway.

I was 19 and my life was total chaos. The brothel pursued me, unless it was I who sowed it. Anyway, I was in a mess there. At the time, I was working part-time at a luggage store and making $6.90 an hour. A real misery. My immaturity matched my excesses: inordinate.

I was panicked. Completely overwhelmed.

This child, finally this thing in my belly which would have become one after nine months, I wanted it. I would have loved it, God I would have loved it. Because love, yes, I had some to give. But for the rest, what could I have offered him? Nothing, that’s what I thought to myself at the time. And after all these years, I still think the same thing. Beyond financial considerations, I had empty pockets of experiences, resilience, courage and judgment. In fact, of everything that shapes a parent, since I myself was, in many ways, a little girl.

I was seven weeks pregnant. It’s powerful, denial! I had to hustle, find the $300 to pay for the procedure (a FORTUNE), find a clinic, do the ultrasounds, and undergo. To suffer the judgment of the staff, the careless remarks of the social worker, the lectures of the doctor, the horde of anti-abortion activists decked out in signs exposing fetuses and my own look in the mirror. You must not believe, brought up in the Catholic religion, I felt disgusted. Abortion was legal, but it was still and for many amoral. What a slut I was!

But the worst is not the memory of the noises. Of the act. Of the end.

In the winter of 1998, I did not choose not to give life, I chose not to interrupt mine, so that I could continue to grow so that one day, at the desired time, I would make as many children as I would like.

We could say, today, that things are simpler, that the procedure is free, that women can decide more easily, but this is a decoy. The cost of abortion is mental and physical. Its price is also social, determined by the judgment of everyone’s beliefs, charged with an oppressive threat: the dismantling of our freedom to choose.

Let’s keep an eye open to what is happening in the United States, to prevent the coldness of February from becoming a real polar vortex.