Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Marsha's Story


Thank you, Marsha for sharing your story.  Thank you, Jo for interviewing, filming and editing this great piece.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

“When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her." -Adrienne Rich

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nikki's Story

I am a woman. I am a mother. I have had an abortion.

There were lots of deep breaths taken those long winter months.

Being my third pregnancy, I knew within days that something was different. It started with this little tick in my lower abdomen; when I coughed, or sat up, or moved a certain way. And then I noticed my breast; a little tender, a little swollen; just like before. Except this time I knew with certainty I was pregnant. I waited days, what seemed like months. Waiting for that time that I could take the test to prove what I had been feeling.

I randomly ran into my midwife. The strong, beautiful woman who had gently helped bring both my baby girls into this world naturally at home. I took one look at her, said I’ve been meaning to call you and she knew. She was one of the rocks that helped me through those days.

There were so many tears those winter months. Tears of how. Tears of why. Tears of why not. There I was a 30 year old, married, healthy mother of 2 who had always said I would have more babies. I loved having babies and had even studied toward being a midwife for a bit because I wanted to help pregnant women have their children naturally at home. I loved being pregnant, loved giving birth, loved nursing and sleeping with those amazing souls I had brought into the world. And yet there I was a 30 year old woman. Who wasn’t so content with just being a mother anymore. Who was enjoying her freedom from the constant needs of a baby. Who had gone back to work. Who was living in a two bedroom trailer while we struggled to build a home. With two very needy children already. And a husband that could be just as needy in his own way. I felt tired. I felt strained.

I wanted to have another baby. In an ideal world where we could afford our little family, where we could afford to build a house, where we didn’t have to worry about how the bills would be paid. But the world we live in is not ideal. We have no trust funds, no inheritance, not even retirement or health insurance. Our world doesn’t cater to those of us who run our own businesses, or who work hard enough to make just enough, but never enough to really get ahead. I tossed and turned at night, accepting the reality I was faced with. I didn’t think it would be fair to bring another child into this uncertain world, where no matter how hard we work; we still can’t manage to get ahead. Could we support another child? Probably. Could we live in an old trailer with 3 children? Certainly. But what about our quality of life? The future of the children I have already brought into this world?

I wrapped my head around the idea. Abortion. Such a heated (and hated) word for so many. I did not tell my family (Southern Baptists don’t take too kindly to the idea). My husband did tell his (ex-Catholics are much more understanding). I began to tell friends. I realized just how common abortion is. I read the statistic that 1 in 3 women in America have had an abortion. When I told 3 of my girlfriends that I was going to have one, all 3 of them told me they had had one at some point in their life. I started to feel better about my decision.

My midwife told me about Mabel Wadsworth. I didn’t know what to expect going into it. I could not believe how wonderful everyone there was. I felt incredibly lucky to live so close to such an amazing resource, and during the entire process I thought of all the women in the world who are not so lucky. Women who do not have the care they need. Women who do not have to right to choose what they do with their own reproductive systems. Women who have died because they did not have the option I had available to me. One of the thoughts that helped me through natural childbirth was the connection I had felt with every women who had ever given birth. I experienced this again, a 3rd, time but this time it was with all the women who had been able to determine their own future instead of left powerless.

I was so blessed. So grateful. I had a husband who was right there with me through the entire thing. Holding me, crying with me. I had friends who watched my children for me, so I could spend a day recovering and resting.

I’m sure some would call me selfish. I like to call myself strong. I will admit it was not an easy decision to make. It was not an easy thing to do. But I do still believe it was the best decision for me at the time. And I firmly believe ALL women should have the choice to end a pregnancy if they do not want to have a child.

Nikki Fox, December 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bets' Tale


My two pregnancies occurred well before Roe vs. Wade came before the Supreme Court. Options for abortion were few and far between. In September 1966, I was a freshman in college in Washington DC, had rarely had a date in high school, and was naïve about my sexuality and about young men. At the first dance of the first semester, I met a handsome, freshman football player. Having had a jovial evening of dancing and some drinks, I agreed to go on a date with him. After several dates and assurances that we had protection (little did I know about diaphragms or the pill at that time), we consummated the relationship. I immediately got pregnant.


Telling my parents (especially my father) or leaving college were not options available to me. I had to raise money for whatever way I could find to terminate the pregnancy. I worked in a department store as a clerk. What made the job very depressing was that I was placed in infant and children’s clothing and that I had morning sickness all day most days. I learned of a “doctor” in downtown Washington DC who gave injections said to terminate pregnancies. I had the injection, which did nothing to terminate the pregnancy, but left me spending most of the night wrapped around a toilet seat vomiting. I have no idea what the substance was and was too scared to ask.

Through a friend from high school, I learned of a Dr. Milan Vuitch who provided D&Cs. If you read about the history of abortion in America, you will come across his name. He was a pioneer in making abortion available to young women and spent considerable time in court fighting for this right. His office was barebones, but sterile. He did not give anesthesia, but used the instruments efficiently and carefully to terminate the pregnancy. I bled for a week or two afterwards, and then all was back to normal. During the summer, I did tell my mother about the abortion. She took me to her gynecologist to have a check up. Thankfully, the gynecologist, who was my father’s colleague in the same hospital, and my mother kept my secret.

Three years later, I was working in Boston, having taken a break from college for a year. I met up with an old friend from Washington DC. After dating for some time, I got pregnant again despite using protection. I was already accepted to finish my degree at a college in Massachusetts and again needed to terminate the pregnancy. While abortion was still illegal in the U.S., by this time, some churches were providing information on places offering safe abortions. A Unitarian minister gave me the number of a group in Towson, Maryland, that conducted a secret abortion clinic with physicians from Johns Hopkins Medical School who believed that abortion should be legal.

When I called them, they told me to stand alone at the appointed time in front of the out-of-business movie theatre in Towson with an envelope in my left hand. As I stood waiting, a black Cadillac pulled up. I got in and found two other women already in the car. We were taken a long distance into the country to a farmhouse. We sat in a waiting room and one-by-one were called into the medical room. The D&C procedure was conducted by masked practitioners: a doctor and a nurse. We were told ahead of time the masks were necessary to protect the identity of the medical staff. Because I had scar tissue from my first abortion, the doctor scraped a long time, particularly at the point of the scar tissue. This process was quite painful. I began to bleed a lot. They offered to take me to have me stay overnight to be watched, but I insisted that I be taken back along with the others.


I bled heavily for three months after the second abortion. Again I told my mother what I had done and again she took me to the doctor. While he did not take kindly to my return visit, he made sure I was healing as best as I could.


Since that time, I have never been able to have children, which I would have loved. While I do not regret my decisions, I do regret that safer and less painful methods were not available. I also regret not having the courage to discuss my situation more openly. I am pleased that women today have more outlets for obtaining abortion that in the past. As the NARAL poster says, I hope that we can keep abortion safe and legal.

Bets Brown, September 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Inspired me to be a provider - AM (New York)


via www.thanksabortion.com

I had an abortion the summer before I started med school. I had been with my boyfriend for 3 months when I found out I was 12 weeks pregnant, which meant we ended up getting pregnant the first time we slept together despite me being on the pill. I was in shock because I had been on the pill and thought that I should have been smarter than to get pregnant. I mean, I was going to med school!

I found out I was pregnant at my annual Gyn visit. My doctor and I were discussing how my last period was a little late and light and then she sent me for an ultrasound. Apparently no one informed the ultrasound tech that I was not expecting because the first thing she did after inserting the probe was say “And there’s the baby’s heart beat!” I almost died. I suppose on some level I may have known or suspected that being pregnant was a possibility but I was still in total shock when the picture of a fetus came up on the ultrasound monitor.
My doctor did not perform abortions but at least they referred and actually got me an appointment for the end of the week at a private clinic where the doctor did abortions in his office in addition to his regular Gyn care.

I called my boyfriend in tears to tell him. I told him I had to get an abortion, and thankfully he was totally on board and was extremely supportive. He was able to come to my parent’s house the night before the procedure and luckily they were out of town (they still don’t know). He took me to the clinic the next day and was amazingly supportive.

The procedure took a little while because the physician wanted to insert laminaria and give me miso before the procedure since I had never had a baby before. The miso made me sick and there was no place for me to lay down, which was miserable.

Shortly after noon I had the abortion. At the end of the procedure I thanked the doctor and told him how important this was to me since I was starting medical school in a month.

My boyfriend and I are still together 4 years later. I could not imagine the two of us trying to have a child at that point in our relationship and I doubt we would still be together if that was the case.

Next month I will graduate from medical school. I have chosen to go into Ob-Gyn and I am determined to be an abortion provider. I am so thankful for that doctor and have considered trying to contact him to let him know I finished medical school and will soon be a colleague.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Revelations


Unknown. "Revelations." Our Truths/Nuestras Verdades: 10. Our Truths/Nuestras Verdades. Web. 19 Aug. 2011. http://www.nuestrasverdades.org/.


Once, I chose to have a child, and found piles of information seemingly at my fingertips, eager to help me live with my choice. Once, I chose not to have a child, and found only scraps of stories, whispered fragments of shame and death. This is the story of my choices, the story of my struggle to find my own answers to questions many are ashamed to ask.    

When I was 23, I became unexpectedly pregnant. I was a student, with no health insurance, living hundreds of miles away from my family. I had parted ways with my partner in baby-making several months before. When I was 25, I was again unexpectedly pregnant. This time, I was married, to a wonderful man. We were about to buy a house, and I was teaching full-time at a local community college. We had a circle of supportive friends, and family close by.  It was the second pregnancy that I chose to terminate, although even to me the first sounds the more obvious answer.

I did not want any more children. I abhorred being pregnant. Both during and after my
pregnancy I was seriously depressed, to the point where I sometimes had the
impulse to turn my car head-first into oncoming traffic. It required medication, a patient doctor and a year after my twin daughters’ birth for me to come out of my darkness. I terminated a pregnancy. I had an abortion. The words still feel so alien on my tongue. Arguing for abortion had been easy in the abstract, but now I had memories of girls and women waiting anxiously in the front rooms, laying sleepily in the back rooms, aching under our borrowed heating pads.

It is not possible to feel abstractly anymore, watching televised debates
on abortions while you are still bleeding from yours.

I know that I am lucky. I had the funds to pay for an abortion at a safe, clean clinic
located at the end of my block. I am past the age of legal consent. My state does
not  have a waiting period. I am married to a man who accepts and supports the
choice I made. I’m an educated, white, middle-class mother of two. I am not
postponing motherhood, sending the spirit of this child away and asking her to
return at a later date. I am slamming a door in the face of any potential children in
my future, cutting them off in a literal, absolute way.

It helps to remember that in many ways, I am very typical. My chosen method of birth control failed me, and I became pregnant at a time when I did not wish to be. I weighed my options, and broke down in hysterical sobbing. I drank chocolate milkshakes from McDonald’s and napped all day, still hoping desperately that it wasn’t true. Finally, I made the most agonizing decision of my life. I had an abortion, and in my heart, I know that I made the right choice.

To read more stories from Our Truths/Nuestras Verdades, visit www.nuestrasverdades.org

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rachel's Story

via www.prochoice.org

Nearly four years ago I chose to have an abortion. At the time I was 18 years old and about to start college at Cornell University. I had been using birth control faithfully, but still, I got pregnant. I knew there was no way I could raise a baby at that time. It was a hard decision, but I know it was right for me.

I thank God that abortion was an option I had, otherwise I wouldn't have the opportunities that I have now. I don't want to have children until I can give them a great home, with all of the comforts a child should have.

No one should take that option away from women. No one. And I will stand up for that right until the day I die.

Rachel Caputo


Friday, August 12, 2011

Jackie's Story

via www.fwhc.org/stories/jackie.htm


I had an abortion three weeks ago.

When I found out I was pregnant I was 15 and attending grade 10 at high school. I was two weeks late for my period, I never thought I could be pregnant. But another week passed and my boyfriend and I really started to worry, I mean we had our whole lives ahead of us.

So I went to the doctors, only to receive a call the next day saying I was definitely pregnant. I remember hanging the phone up crying. That day I never left my room until my boyfriend showed up, he tried to comfort me and said "our only choice is to terminate this pregnancy." I was against abortions at the time, I thought it was murder. So of course I got very angry with him. I couldn't tell my family and I couldn't tell my friends, I had only the health unit to depend on. My family was against abortions, and my older sister couldn't have children, so this was a very tough thing for me to have to do.

I was 12 weeks pregnant and getting sick every day, when finally I decided an abortion is what I would do. We made an appointment and when I was 16 weeks pregnant we headed to the hospital. I cried the whole way there and back. I was very emotional with the whole thing and still am. I found the abortion uncomfortable, but the nurses and counselors helped me a lot and where very supportive. I was scared but my boyfriend was with me through out the whole thing.

To think back makes me cry, but to think ahead makes me feel that I made the right choice. Now I'm all for abortions, and I want every other young women out there to know that we do have choices. If a pregnancy is unwanted, abortions are ok. Even though it may feel wrong going through the termination, at the end you'll realize you made the right choice. I know I did.


Jackie
21 August 1999

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Waitress's Abortion Story

by Sunsara Taylor

via www.rhrealitycheck.org

Last night, after a beautiful march in support of abortion rights, a group of close to twenty of us went out for food and drink. About half way through our evening, our waitress asked us why there were so many of us together and what the occasion was. In response to our answer, that we were in town to defend abortion rights and Doctor Carhart, she immediately opened up about her own abortion story.

First, our waitress thanked us immensely for being in town. She explained that her mother had worked at abortion clinics and, despite the two crosses that hung around her neck, she was extremely strong in favor of abortion rights. Then, she explained her own experience. She had been on Depo-Provera for over a year and correspondingly hadn't gotten her period in that entire period. Anyway, she got pregnant before her periods had resumed. Because of the hormonal disruptions that were caused by, and still mellowing out in the wake of, taking Depo, her pregnancy felt different to her than her first (she also has an eight year old son). Additionally, due to these same hormonal fluctuations, when she finally tested herself at home for pregnancy, at two different times the test came back negative.

When she finally sought out a doctor to understand what was going on with her body and discovered that she was, indeed pregnant, she was more than four months along. The clinic that she visited for this information would not perform an abortion at this point in a pregnancy and so she sought out searching for a clinic that would. This search led her to Dr. Carhart and his Germantown clinic.

This is when she got very passionate in her story.... To read more, see the original story at A Waitress's Abortion Story I RH Reality Check

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Abortion Story

Beedy Parker   July 2011
     I became pregnant in the summer of 1969, twenty nine years old, with an IUD in place. I had two young daughters, by my first husband who had left the year before. I was entering a relationship with the man who became my second husband (until he died three years ago) but we were not yet married and we thought we could not get pregnant. This was in Massachusetts, the Boston area, and abortion was still illegal.
     I went back to the doctor who had placed the device ( I had had it for three years, I think) and asked him if he would remove it (thereby terminating the pregnancy). He jovially replied that he wouldn’t, but that a baby would born unharmed ”with an IUD clutched in his fist”. I think I understood then that he could not afford to remove the IUD under the circumstances of the law, and I knew he was helping a lot of women, many low-income, by giving them IUDs, which were fairly new then.
     Then we started exploring our possibilities for an abortion, feeling that we had quite enough to deal with without having another child at that time (he also had a young son in his first marriage). We contacted Bill Baird, an abortion rights activist, who subsequently spent some time in jail for his activism in Massachusetts, and found that we needed to go to Montreal for the abortion. We made the appointment and made our arrangements, being able to have it done within the safer three month pregnancy time period (I had always been able to tell fairly accurately when I ovulated and when I was pregnant).
     But in the meantime, I started to bleed and  called my IUD doctor, who told me to come right in to the hospital he was connected to. I was wheeled in in good time and given a “D&C”. While lying there, I was told that the IUD was imbedded in the wall of my uterus and that it had almost perforated the uterus wall.  I then realized something profound: that my life and welfare, and the lives of other women, were not  very important to society at large, and I think I became radicalized at that point, and have so continued since. (I also made the mistake of flippantly asking the nursing crew ”if this was an abortion?”, which was followed by a shocked silence, and my realizing that I might have exposed the doctor in some way).


We married eight months later, and had another child two years later.

Charlotte's Story

     I was at the young age of 16 when I got pregnant.  At first I was in denial when I missed my first period, and was still in denial when I missed my second and third.  I had always had a regular period and I knew that I should at least tell my mom that I hadn't had my period in three months. At first she was horrified and cried constantly.  After a couple days had gone by and she was able to calm down, she informed me that I was the one to make a decision and she would support me with whichever I picked.   
     I took a test and it was positive.  I was pregnant at sixteen, and was only a junior in high school.  I knew that I wanted to have a family and children, but  now wasn't the right time.  Abortion was something that I had never thought much about, until I was the one making the decision.  I went through with an abortion.  At first I felt empty inside, but I also had a great feeling of relief.  Even though I wonder what my life would be like if I had gone through with the pregnancy, I do believe that I made the right decision.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Diversity in the Waiting Room

"There were many women in the clinic that morning.  The diversity in that waiting room truly astounded me.  Teens, middle aged women, twenty and thirty-somethings, all of differing ages and socio-economic backgrounds.  Some in business clothes, others with tattoos and piercings.  Some looked as though they had just walked out of the pages of an All-American J. Crew catalog."
"I do not feel guilt or remorse for choosing abortion, but I have felt grief over my silence.  So many of us have a story or a secret.  This is mine."

- 22 year old woman