I had my abortion when I was in college, married, and I already had a toddler. I don’t regret my choice at all. In fact, it was the best family planning choice for us and allowed me to maintain my 4.0 college GPA, get over ten scholarships that year, get inducted into my school’s honor society, and still spend time at home teaching my daughter and playing with her and spending time as a family. It was the best choice for us and we are happy about it. I was only able to get a safe, affordable abortion because of Planned Parenthood. I am thankful that I had a choice.
I had an ectopic pregnancy, meaning the embryo was stuck in my falopian tube instead of my uterus. I did not know this for a few weeks however, and was grateful to have Planned Parenthood there for me to have a normal abortion. I went, and because it was not in my uterus, they couldn’t find it and I left perplexed and upset. For the next two months I was monitored closely by my gynecologist to figure out what was going on because I was definately pregnant. But there was no sign of anything inside me. I ended up having to take chemotherapy to kill it (just one shot) and it worked. My HCG levels began to fall and I just had to pass it. Except, it was not that easy. On the Saturday after this, I guess it had gotten too big by then so my tube began to rupture as I was finally miscarrying. I ended up in the emergency room in the most intense pain of my life (minus breaking my leg when I was 14) and having to recieve emergency surgery and get my tube removed. Conclusion of this story is: pregnancy is COMPLICATED. Getting pregnant is a risk to any woman. It’s DANGEROUS. I was put in the most vulnerable position of my life and, if I not had options, I would have been in an even worse state than I was (which was already terribly low). I am happy to say I am better now, but spending over two months with somthing inside me that I didn’t want there was close to unbearable. I cried every day. I thought about hurting myself (which I never did). I had to study for finals, but I had to go to the doctor so much I had to miss parts of class. Or, if I made it to class, I was so over-whelmed by my situation I would sit in class in tears hoping no one would notice. No woman should have to go through what I went through. Having no control over your own body is having no control over your life. The feeling of powerlessness I felt cascaded me into a very deep depression. But, I thank powerful women for fighting for me and my right to my own body. I am so happy this forum is committed to sharing stories of women taking control of their own lives. Keep fighting the good fight. xoxo
It could never happen to me. I am a planner. I am responsible. I always use protection. I waited until I was 27 to start having sex. I’m still 27. And now my abortion is part of my narrative. The weeks following my positive pregnancy tests (three!) were the most difficult and trying of my life. My conservative childhood collided with my progressive adulthood and forced me to make a choice. And I chose to love myself and make the best decision for me. I am relieved. I am angry I can’t share my narrative with some of those closest to me for fear of making their worlds crash down around them. But I am empowered and thankful to be connected with a THIRD of the women in the United States–and all women throughout history who have taken control of their own bodies. I support whatever decision women make for themselves. Whichever decision is made is the right one. And I made the right one for me. It has been an incredible opportunity for me to open up and accept love from my family and closest friends. I am lucky. I embrace my abortion, my life.
I feel SO strongly about these issues and I want you to know I was really moved by reading your story and the rest of the submissions on the website. I don’t know why I have always been so strongly and fiercely pro-choice… but once I was talking to my grandma about it and she told me about how after she had my mom and my aunt, she found out she was pregnant again. She didn’t want another child, and she felt like it was just wrong– she felt a certain way with her first two pregnancies, and this one just felt off. She wanted to get an abortion, but it was pre 1973 Roe v. Wade, and she didn’t want to break the law, so she didn’t. She learned that her strange feeling that something was off was totally right- she woke up in the middle of the night one night hemorrhaging, and she rushed to the doctor. She begged him not to save the fetus, and he looked at her and nodded and without saying a word did what he could to stop her bleeding. It was totally illegal for him to do that, and totally illegal for her to do that, and yet she knew she didn’t want that baby, something inside her told her it wasn’t right… It’s really scary and crazy to think about how she couldn’t make that choice pre-1970s, and so scary and crazy to look at how the legislation in different states now is getting closer and closer to that pre 1970s situation.
I can remember, so vividly, holding the test in my hand—not believing what I saw—the panic starting to overwhelm my body, my chest heaving, my brain whirling, my heart jack-hammering into my ear drums. THIS IS NOT ME, I screamed inside my head, THIS IS NOT MY LIFE. THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE TEST. I took another. The same. Two pink lines. Two teeny, tiny pink fucking lines. How could a tool so small, so… plastic, suddenly indicate so much, the entirety of my future. My dreams, my life’s work, my career, my—- I couldn’t catch my breath. I desperately wished the skin I was wearing would fall off of my bones because it felt so horrifyingly awful to be in my body, to have a body. I collapsed onto the bathroom floor and believed I was going to die… or at least hoped I would.
I was twenty three years old. I had been on birth control since I was seventeen, and was a devout worshiper at the alter of safe sex. However, two months prior to the above mentioned heart attack-inducing/eyeball-gouging/barf-conjuring/soul-smashing/sanity-stealing shock-of-a-lifetime, I’d decided to go off of the pill due to an explosion of controversy surrounding YAZ and the speculative links between oral contraception and blood clots/sudden death/cancerous tumors/liver failure. “If you’re good about using condoms you’ll be just fine Jules, I really DO think it’s better for our bodies to be off the pill,” said my gynecologist of six years. She was the doctor I’d gone to as a senior in high school, with whom I’d had my fantastically awkward “I want to be sexually active” talk, from whom I’d received my first gynecological exam and my first prescription to birth control. This woman had been with me since the beginning, since before I’d seen a penis with the lights on. Know what I’m sayin’? I was a child when I first entered that office… and now, I was speaking to this woman AS a woman, as an equal; any advice she felt comfortable giving me I assumed she would take herself. So, when she supported my decision to go off of the pill and reinforced the effectiveness of condoms in preventing unwanted pregnancies, I had no doubt in my mind that I was doing the right thing. And honestly, it’s not that the woman gave me bad advice, she didn’t, it’s just that something happens to your brain when you’ve been on a pregnancy-preventing medication for six years straight, two THOUSAND one hundred and ninety days in a row…it (your brain) forgets it is no longer on that medication.
The man I was dating at the time had been transferred overseas for work, therefore sex had become sporadic, and when two disease-free people in a monogamous relationship aren’t used to using condoms as their main form of pregnancy prevention (since the girl was on the pill for every single sex session prior)—lemme tell ya—they’re gonna have a hard time remembering that they need to use one when they haven’t seen each other in months. They may remember most of the time, but throw a glass of wine into the equation and forget it, the fat lady sang and drove home seven hours ago and you might as well start pickin’ out baby names. It is for this reason that I wish my doctor had said, “Hey, so, I completely understand your reasons for wanting to be off of the pill, and they are good reasons that I, myself, support, but since your mind has been in the psychological space of “I don’t make babies” for six years, and since you’re already in a monogamous relationship where fear of disease isn’t part of the equation, why don’t you try using an IUD? The IUDs on today’s market are safe, hormone-free, multiple year-lasting forms of contraception with higher rates of success than the pill and far lower rates of complications and side effects than the pill.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!! WHY in all the years of my incredibly whitey mcwhite, bourgeoisie, private school upbringing did no one tell me about IUDs???? The IUDs I’d heard about in sex ed class were “horrible, infertility-causing” things of the past that shouldn’t be trusted and are “only for women who’ve already had children.” Why on earth didn’t my doctor recommend this? She didn’t even bring it up once as an option during our conversation. In fact, NO other options besides condoms were brought up during our conversation (I came back to this office—which was in Beverly Hills mind you—months later and found out my gynecologist had had a “falling out” for “undisclosed reasons” with the head doctor of the facility, she never contacted any of her patients to inform them of her move nor did she inform them of her current location. Can I get an OY VEY?!!)
Through sobs and convulsions, I asked the abortion clinic doctor this very question (the clinic itself is a whole other story…one worth telling, but I thought I should get this initial story out first), “WHY was I never told about IUD’s?” to which he responded matter-of-factly, “Well, pharmaceutical companies would lose millions if more women stopped using the pill and started using IUDs that are a one-stop-shop purchase for up to ten years (instead of the monthly purchase of the pill). So these companies put a ton of money into advertising the pill, and they market IUDs as something that is ‘recommended for women who’ve already been pregnant’—which immediately scares away educators and young people from trying or even ASKING about IUDs as an alternative to the pill.” Well that settled it. I hated everyone and everything and life was retarded. What the hell was wrong with people? A lot, apparently.
I was angry, I mean really angry, and depressed and so very, very embarrassed that I, prep school-educated, responsible, driven, empowered, socially aware, sexually smart, Modern Female Me had slipped up and joined a very shamed demographic of person. And then….then my best friend (a woman whom I consider to be my hero, a woman who takes her life, her actions, and her responsibilities with remarkable seriousness and devotion) got pregnant. She called me late one night to tell me she’d decided to get an abortion, and “would [I] fly to [her] hometown to be by [her] side?” That flight was booked faster than an Alabama cheerleader on a Friday night.
It was an honor and a privilege to be by the side of a woman I so deeply respected as she made this choice (no, not flippantly, not ‘casually’, not un-emotionally) to preserve her life as it was—without a child. I did not think any less of her, think her any less responsible, less intelligent, less loving, nor did I think her any less capable of being a mother to a child or multiple children in the future. This was a woman who’d been using birth control every day since she was sexually active and who, under a time of devastating family stress and career upheaval, plum forgot to pop in a new Nuva ring. She is human. I am human. We aren’t perfect. We have memory lapses, judgement lapses; we make mistakes. We are human. We are human. We are human. We are human. Our life is one worth saving.
I had spent months torturing myself for having “been a person who’d gotten an abortion”, for having been so “irresponsible”, so “foolish”, however there was not a moment of judgement that passed through my veins as I stood by my friend’s side through her procedure. I was suddenly shocked at how hard I’d been on myself through this exact same process a year prior… and how supportive and understanding I was with my friend. It occurred to me that shame—ESPECIALLY shame surrounding controversial social issues like abortion—stems from public perceptions of very personal experiences. To know the heart of the matter is to know it first hand; to fully comprehend the complexity of a behavior is to know it not as legislature or political propaganda, but as the living breathing experiences of living breathing people. THIS is why it was important for me to share my story, to start this campaign, because sharing the humanity behind the issue TAKES AWAY THE SHAME of the issue. Showing the types of women that have chosen abortion TAKES AWAY THE STEREOTYPES, TAKES AWAY THE MISCONCEPTIONS of women that support the right to choose. Sharing stories across the globe creates a COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT and RIDS WOMEN EVERYWHERE OF SELF HATE. There is not one ‘type’ of woman that chooses to get an abortion. Women who choose abortion are rich, poor, white, black, turquoise, educated, not-educated, mothers, teenagers, students, victims of rape, victims of genocide, victims of incest, victims of prostitution rings, victims of spousal abuse, victims of gang violence, victims of slavery, Baptist, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, liberal, conservative, registered Republicans, and everything in between…and you know how I know? BECAUSE THEY’VE BEEN EMAILING ME.
I am here as an advocate for women, for all the many complicated facets of what our ‘womanhood’ brings to our lives. For centuries, this hasn’t been an easy road. Let’s lighten the load, shall we? Share your story. Shed the shame. It’s time.
With all the love and support my little life can muster,
My mom had two abortions in her life. The first was with a guy she wanted to marry. They lived together. And then he cheated on her and broke her heart. She didn’t tell him she was pregnant and did what she needed to do. The second was just after she met my father. She didn’t mean to get pregnant (she was still really young) and I am absolutely sure that her abortion saved their relationship. I know that my dad would have stuck by her side but it would have altered their dynamic in a major way. So instead of having a child because she felt she had to, she opted to wait and have two children with that man years later when she was ready. My mom and I are best friends and I am touched that she trusts me with this story. It breaks my heart that she has never told my father. I think she’s terrified that it would change the way he looks at her, even after thirty years of marriage. I know that my life would be completely different, or even nonexistent, if my mom had made different choices. And I kind of want to put the smackdown on anyone that judges her.
I was very moved by your Facebook page and wanted to share my own story:
I grew up in the south, and between being catholic, our school’s fabulous abstinence-only sex education program, and just my own general ignorance, I made it to high school knowing practically nothing about birth control. (Had I been taught, I would have had easy access to drugstore condoms and a planned parenthood located in our town.) Instead, I became pregnant at age 15. I did not know the guy very well. When I called him asking for support, he disconnected his land line (or changed the number) and refused to answer my pages (yes pages- it was the 90s). I once paged him from a friend’s house and he called back the “unknown number” within 5 minutes. I told him to go to hell and then I was on my own. A sophomore in high school. My parents found out and were more supportive of me than I ever thought possible (a friend of mine had also gotten pregnant in high school and been kicked out of the house, so I was terrified of this fate). But they disagreed as to the decision they hoped I would make. They would never have dragged me into it but I could tell it was straining their relationship. Worry that dragging this problem out for 9 months could have spelled divorce did play a role in my decision to get an abortion. But mostly I was a scared kid that was afraid of ruining my life before it had even started. Was I happy with my choice? In the years after my abortion I did go through times of incredible guilt. But ultimately I have made peace with my decision. I work at my dream job at one of the most prestigious institutions in my field. I have travelled the world and I love my life. Now that I’m old enough to look back, the “what if” game is not painful. I know if I had kept that child I would be a high school dropout most likely being supported on the very welfare that pro-lifers tend to despise and condem. I would never want anyone to have to be in my position (hence my rabid support of REAL sex ed) but even more, I would never want that decision taken away from an equally vulnerable child. I was basically a child when I got pregnant and would have been completely incapable of giving a child the nurturing it would need to grow into a productive member of society. In retrospect, taking care of ME was the right choice.
I am a conservative republican *gasp*….and I had an abortion. What burns my britches is that everyone who hasn’t been in the situation wants to point and give someone the “shame, shame” and they have never been in the situation. AND YES, I had done that many a times before I was in the situation….the “shame, shame” should be given to THOSE people like me!
Anyway, I was 21 and had started falling out of love with my boyfriend. We had in fact just broken up because of it….and a week later I found out I was pregnant. I was being safe (but not consistently) as I was on the depo shot but not going the exact time of the day each month…which I guess made a difference for my body? I don’t know…but I was one of the small percentage.
I got in touch with him to discuss the situation. He wanted to get back together but I was very hesitant. We talked about it for a week and I just couldn’t do it. I decided to have the abortion and he decided to be there with me while I did it. I will say it was probably the most horrible thing I have ever been through. We were in a foreign country and not one person spoke english. I remember laying in the chair and them giving me the anesthesia. It burned so bad. I woke up to them taking me into a room and locking the door. It had 3 small beds on the floor and it was terribly cold. I jumped up and was screaming and banging on the door to let me out or to let him in to be with me, but they wouldn’t. It was horrible.
I now have kids and hope to have more, but I wasn’t personally ready for that kind of life changing event. Selfish, absolutely…but still MY choice. I don’t regret the decision that I made, but it does make my heart hurt knowing what I did because I was raised to believe that it is wrong.
Regardless of right/wrong it is for ME to live with that decision…and I am glad I was allowed that decision. That decision should not be taken away from anyone, period.
I think what you’re doing is amazing, and I really want to be a part of helping you get it done. My ex girlfriend and I went to Planned Parenthood for an abortion (she’s now enrolled in school which she wouldn’t have be able to do if we hadn’t) and I myself can say that it’s changed me as well for the better. More than anything though, I think about the well-being of a child that is brought into a home that’s not prepared to properly love and take care of it, and the disadvantages that situation has. This thought was the driving force behind our decision to choose abortion. I want to make sure my kids are taken care of, and I wasn’t ready to do that. On top of the free service, Planned Parenthood supported my ex with birth control post-procedure, signed her up for Medicare so she could have healthcare (she didn’t at the time) and they even suggested a good OBGYN for her. I don’t think I can truly express how much respect I gained for that organization after my experience, and therefore I feel really tied to this issue.
I was adopted. I met my birthmother when I was 19 and my birth father when I was 21. I have a wonderful ongoing relationship with both of them now. I’ve had a ridiculously blessed life. I am glad my birthmother decided to give my adopted family the opportunity to provide me with so much love and opportunity.
And yet, I am completely pro choice. The fact of the matter is… if I had been aborted, I’d have never known the difference. My mom, dad, and sister would have never known the difference. I have so much love and respect for my biological mother… that if she had truly felt it necessary to blow out my little candle while it was just barely lit. So be it. Also… If there was a medical reason for needing the abortion… would I not put my own life on the line for mother NOW? So why not then… before I was even born?
There isn’t a specific point I am trying to make here… it is just something I constantly think about. Most of the older people in my life are conservative, and christian. My own birthmother would completely disagree with me. But this is how I feel.
Keep fighting the good fight.