Kathleen Hanna: My Abortion “Was One Of the Best Things That Happened To Me”

“Well, I worked at McDonald’s and I spent the money I earned at McDonald’s to get my abortion. I was only 15 and the person who got me pregnant did not want to give me any money. I was $40 short, so I had my drug dealer call him and threaten him, so he gave me the last $40. I really credit [my abortion] as something that changed my life because I got a job, I took care of my business, and I moved on. And I’m not one of those people who’d have looked back and been like, ‘Oh, that kid would be 30 right now…‘ I don’t think, ‘Oh, I really regret it… ‘Maybe that’s a fucked-up thing to say but, I don’t regret it at all, number one, and number two, it was one of the best things that happened to me. Not actually being on the table and  having it done, but feeling like I was responsible for my own life and realizing that when I made mistakes, there were consequences and that I could take care of those consequences. I could make mistakes and I could fix them. And live with them. It wasn’t a big deal.”

Kathleen Hanna from the bands Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and Julie Ruin spoke with The Rumpus on the upon the release of a new documentary about her career, “The Punk Singer.” Thank Goddess for women like Kathleen who offering something different to the dominant narrative that abortions make you sad and regretful and damaged forever. A lot of women — I would venture to say most women — do feel sad about having an abortion. But ultimately feel empowered and relieved not to have their lives turned upside down by an unplanned pregnancy.

After the jump, Kathleen expanded more about why her abortion at age 15 was one of the best things that ever happened to her:

“I got to be in all these bands. And if you think about it, I don’t think I would’ve been in any of these bands if I’d been a teenage mom. I probably wouldn’t have finished high school. I definitely wouldn’t have gone to college. I’d probably be managing a McDonald’s or something. That gives me chills because when girls come up to me and they’re like, “I got into women’s studies because of you,” I do think, God, if I hadn’t have had that abortion, would this girl have gotten into women’s studies?”

I hope this quote isn’t taken as Kathleen Hanna knocking teenaged mothers (or managers at McDonald’s). The real point she’s making here is that motherhood — especially unplanned motherhood, and especially especially for young mothers — more often than not affects what a woman can accomplish in her life. Obviously, mothers go on to accomplish all kinds of amazing things with their lives but an unexpected baby will surely can affect the momentum of what she’s doing. Kathleen Hanna is right: she surely wouldn’t have been hanging around the Seattle music scene (at least not quite so much)had  she been a young mother. Think of what feminism and punk music would be like today if Kathleen Hanna wasn’t “Kathleen Hanna.”

This is why legal and safe abortion is crucial: women need to be in total control of their own fucking lives — not anyone else.

[The Rumpus]

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[Image via Getty]