It’s not easy for anyone to share an abortion story, but Andy Richter did just that on Sept. 10. Host of the second Sexy Beast, the art-themed fundraiser for Planned Parenthood L.A. (PPLA) held at The Theater at Ace Hotel, Richter took attendees at the event back to the early 1990s, when he and his then-girlfriend (and now-wife), comedian Sarah Thyre, were starring in Jill Soloway’s stage production of The Brady Bunch.
“I’d like to share a story,” he began. “In 1992, my girlfriend and I were having a rough time. We’d been performing in a show together for a couple of years, but it had come to an end, and we found ourselves living apart. She was in New York City working three jobs; I was in Chicago jobless and sleeping on my mother’s couch. The strain of living apart, and the stress of being two young people attempting to make a living as performers and writers was really taking a toll on its relationship. So when she called me to tell me that she was pregnant, it was not exactly happy news."
"Luckily for us Planned Parenthood existed," Richter continued. "My girlfriend knew that she was not ready for motherhood, and I knew that I was in no way prepared to be a father. I drove from Chicago in my battered old Toyota pick-up to be with her when she went to Planned Parenthood to terminate her pregnancy. Her choice to get an abortion was a choice that she made with assuredness. She knew that she was doing the right thing for everyone involved. But I can’t say it was easy. She was sad, and I was sad, and it was sad. But to this day, I know that she will tell you that she made the right decision."
Richter's story took another sad turn before a very happy conclusion. "Soon after I returned to Chicago, the strain of our long-distance relationship became too much for us, and Sarah and I broke up," he said. "But then, what seems like five minutes after that, we realized that breaking up was the stupidest thing we’d ever done. So we got back together, and we got engaged, and we got married, and we had a couple kids, and a parrot and two dogs. And so far, we’ve been married for 22 wonderful years. Planned Parenthood gave two young struggling people the ability to do the thing that is in their name: We got to plan parenthood. When we could barely care for ourselves, much less a newborn, we were able to choose the time when we brought a child into our lives. Planned Parenthood allowed my wife to make the decisions she needed to make in order to control her body and her health, and maintain her life and her future. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.”
I thought this was a very poignant story, and made even more so by the fact that it was told by a male concerning how the decision to terminate an unwanted pregnancy positively affected his life.
We actually need to hear more stories from the male perspective because often these decisions are as difficult and terrifying for them as they are for the women.
And ending a pregnancy when you are not yet ready to care for a child, certainly does NOT mean that you will not go on to have a wonderful family, a wonderful marriage, and to be a wonderful mother or father.
I have known more than one couple who terminated an early pregnancy only to go on to have a house full of kids after they finished school and were financially and emotionally ready to be parents.