His name would have been Jude

By Dave Andrusko

Judging by the headlines to others posts found at the site “Your Tango,” Jamie Berube’s post, “Why I Regret My Abortion” was in a distinct minority. The others ran the gamut from foul-mouthed to cavalier to just dumb. Berube’s very painful post was altogether different.

I suspect she understands that she isn’t supposed to regret her abortion. But the loss of the child–whom she would have named “Penelope Wren (Penny, for short),” if it was a girl “and Amory Jude if he were a boy”– was too intense to keep the truth buried in a cavalier dismissal.

The narrative runs from when Berube first learns she is pregnant through the moment she is pondering the second set of pills (a prostaglandin) that make up a chemical (RU-486) abortion which she will take within a day or two. The baby is likely already dead and the prostaglandin will induce contractions and expel the baby’s corpse.

I suspect from her narrative that she knew long before her boyfriend dropped her off at Berube’s best friend’s house that their relationship would be as dead as her baby would soon be. Even before he says he has to leave (he says he has to work the next morning)–rather than stay with her until her friend Sarah comes home–Berube writes, “I knew what his answer would be before he opened his mouth.”

She anticipates that the man who had impregnated her would be with another woman that very night.

Berube tells us early in her essay that

I’ve done a lot of “bad” things in my life. I’ve made choices that will forever haunt me no matter how much money I shell out for a shrink. But the choice that I made on that day, the choice to sign my name on a piece of paper that would give my consent to terminating a pregnancy is chief among the ones I regret most.

Why? Why does she write, “Yes, I regret my abortion”? Berube first says, “I regret not thinking through it more carefully.” Like so many women, she “knew” from the beginning she “couldn’t keep” her baby. Not a lot of pondering about the magnitude of the decision she made so quickly.

“I regret not considering that I might have been a really great mom.”As the essay concludes, a tear is falling down her cheek. She tells Sarah, protectively, “Because if I kept him, I’d never let anyone pick on him…ever,”

This as much as anything tells us Berube had violated her own code of ethics. If only she had looked for another way….if only she had thought about another way…maybe Penny or Jude would be alive.

Then there is her comment made just prior to going to the abortion clinic when she and the boyfriend stopped for a meal: Berube tells us she was “doing my best to relax and not feel like an irredeemable screw-up with a scarlet ‘A’ branded on my forehead — ‘A’ for ‘baby-aborter,’ in my case.”

If you have a few minutes, please read “Why I Regret My Abortion.” The conclusion is heart-breaking:

I took the first pill to begin the process — a process I had no clue I’d grow to deeply regret. Because I regret my abortion.

And because if I hadn’t, his name would have been Jude.