(Originally published on MadameNoire.com)

My older daughter, Mari, was 10 years old when I told her what abortion is. I would have rather saved the conversation for when she was a bit older, but she’d seen the New York Times lying next to her cereal bowl and read the cover story, about the murder of George Tiller, an abortion doctor who’d been shot to death while serving as an usher at his church by an anti-abortion extremist who confessed he killed Tiller because “preborn children’s lives were in imminent danger.” Mari had questions.

As her mother, I had the duty to answer them in a way that was age-appropriate and accurate and set the foundation for their moral code. She already knew that when sperm meets egg and the embryo grows, it can turn into a baby. But then I had to explain the mechanics of pregnancy and fetal viability and what it means to remove a fetus from a uterus before it can survive on its own. I punctuated the explanation with how I personally feel about abortion: that it is not something that is or ever would be right for me but is still very much a tool and a right every woman should have in her arsenal as she plans her own parenthood.

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