I'm a single mom and always have been. My first abortion was when I was 19. The pregnancy was a result of a broken condom. Really! True story. I was living in Seattle, but home visiting my family in Maine when I found out I was pregnant, and I was nearly at 12 weeks before I could get back to Seattle to terminate. It was done in a doctor's office, and was uncomplicated and fairly painless. His office was near my neighborhood; I walked there and back alone (the man offered to escort me, I declined). A girlfriend met me at home afterward with hot soup and a rented videotape(this was the late 80's). I suffered no pangs of guilt-the man and I were not in any sort of committed relationship, we split the bill, and remained friendly.
A few months later, I was madly in love with a Midwestern boy who refused to wear condoms. I had a diaphragm, and I used it...most of the time. Of course I got pregnant. That time, I decided to continue the pregnancy and had lots of romantic notions at first, but ultimately left Seattle, came back to Maine, and had a gorgeous daughter.
She was almost 4 when I got pregnant again, this time in Michigan. I was living with a very sweet man who was great with my daughter, and adored me, but we just didn't have a stable economic life, and I was afraid I'd end up raising *2* kids as a single mom. We left my daughter with friends who had kids around her age, and traveled 3 hours south to Ann Arbor, to a big Planned Parenthood facility. There were a few protesters out by the street, keeping the required distance away, but it still was uncomfortable. The staff was as kind as possible, but a little too efficient, and the recovery area was a huge room with little privacy. We left as soon as we could, and tried to enjoy a little of Ann Arbor before returning home. I was sad about having to make that choice, and had some fairly severe mental health issues afterward, some of which stemmed from the sorrow of ending a pregnancy I wished I'd felt able to carry through. I got an I.U.D. as soon as possible after the abortion, and never relied on a diaphragm again!
My third abortion took place a couple of years ago at the Mabel Wadsworth Women's Health Center. I can say from experience and without reservation that it was the best abortion I ever had! I was just over 40 and had had my I.U.D. removed because I was tired of long, heavy periods. My partner was in his 50's and had had a vasectomy-we thought we were safe! There was no real question but that I would have an abortion, although my partner would have supported whatever choice I made, and made sure I knew it.
I appreciated that the Health Center was tucked away from busy streets, and my choices weren't being questioned by self-righteous ideologues who had no business messing with women's health. The staff was kind and unhurried, compassionate and willing to answer any questions we had. The atmosphere was quiet and calming, private and respectful. Abortion is never an easy choice, and I am grateful that facilities like Mabel Wadsworth are available for women and men who need them. Thank you for being here.