Our Abortion Stories: ‘If He Had Found Out I Was Pregnant, He Would Have Kidnapped Me and the Baby’

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An abortion rights supporter carries a photograph of Savita Halappanavar, who died after being denied an abortion as she miscarried in Eire in 2012, throughout a protest in opposition to the current U.S. Supreme Courtroom resolution to finish federal abortion rights protections on June 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama / Getty Photos)

On June 24, the Supreme Courtroom overturned the longstanding precedents of Roe v. Wade, representing the biggest blow to ladies’s constitutional rights in historical past. A brand new Ms. sequence, Our Abortion Stories, chronicles readers’ experiences of abortion pre- and post-Roe. Abortions are sought by a variety of individuals, for a lot of completely different causes. There isn’t a single story. Telling tales of then and now exhibits how vital abortion has been and continues to be for girls and women.

The autumn of Roe will pressure abortion entry nationwide. We can not, we should not, lose the correct to protected and accessible abortion or entry to contraception. Share your abortion story by emailing [email protected], and sign our “We Have Had Abortions” petition.

Editor’s observe: These tales have been excerpted and calmly edited for readability.

Set off warning: rape, sexual assault, bleeding


We met at Hartford’s Warehouse in 1978—one of the best dancing spot in Connecticut. 

Your loved ones got here from Honduras, your glasses made you look studious and your snigger emanated from deep in your chest, virtually catarrhal.

We’d meet at your condo close to South Marshall Avenue the place you’d play your violin and I’d dance. Perhaps we’d smoke some pot. You had been a classical violinist, musician and music instructor.  

After I discovered I used to be pregnant, you mentioned, “Let’s hold the kid. I’ll marry you.” However at 26, I used to be not prepared for marriage or parenthood. I’m undecided you had been prepared both. I believe you might need had one other girlfriend on the time. What sort of dwelling may now we have made for a child? 

I made the appointment on the clinic. You drove me that day and waited with me. 

“Are you positive?” you turned to have a look at me. I nodded. 

Contained in the remedy room, the surgeon didn’t look forward to the anesthesia to kick in earlier than he started his work. I moaned again and again, “This hurts!” The surgeon furrowed his forehead. Then, fortunately, I misplaced consciousness. 

You dropped me off at my buddy’s condo in New Britain the place I recuperated alone.

Raised a Catholic, I needed to work on my guilt for years. Did I do the correct factor?

We had stopped seeing one another. However for many years, the spirit of our cocoa-colored son hovered within the doorways of my goals letting me know he was okay. That the abortion was okay. He grew just a little in every dream, till he was a younger man. His visits stopped. I let him go along with like to the sunshine. 

The course of my life was modified ceaselessly. 

5 years after the abortion, I start instructing Black, biracial, Latino, Asian American and white college students whom I known as “my youngsters.” I met my husband-to-be. 5 years later, once I was prepared, our son was born. Three years later, our daughter.

I used to be grateful to have the ability to elevate our two youngsters in a loving dwelling.

—Marie Lavendier


I noticed women with undesirable pregnancies—with out entry to abortions—submerge themselves in scalding sizzling Epsom salt baths, have their boyfriends punch them within the stomach and starve themselves to the purpose the place they weighed lower than they did earlier than they had been pregnant.

I used to be pregnant at 16, six weeks after being dumped by my highschool sweetheart. I confronted one of many hardest choices a lady—or in my case, a woman—will ever make: to maintain, eliminate or give away my child.

The second a woman or girl discovers she is anticipating, she is sentenced to a lifetime of choosing the least dangerous choices from an inventory of hopeless alternate options for herself and her little one.

I used to be too younger to have a child however too afraid to present it away. I didn’t assume I’d ever get well from the lack of my little one to adoption. I thought of abortion however couldn’t convey myself to terminate a life that I’d created.

I’m grateful I had a selection. I noticed women with undesirable pregnancies—with out entry to abortions—submerge themselves in scalding sizzling Epsom salt baths, have their boyfriends punch them within the stomach and starve themselves to the purpose the place they weighed lower than they did earlier than they had been pregnant.

Eliminating ladies’s reproductive healthcare rights doesn’t eradicate unplanned fetuses. It provides delivery to undesirable youngsters. Forcing ladies to present delivery to undesirable youngsters creates dependence on others. Each mom and little one have little likelihood of climbing out of poverty on their very own.

After having my daughter, it took me 10 years to complete a four-year faculty diploma, whereas working full-time for little pay. I spent 18 years amassing meals stamps, “procuring” at free clothes and meals pantries and counting on payday loans when my alternator or fridge went out. I filed chapter twice. I’m 44 years previous and nonetheless owe virtually $70,000 in scholar loans.

At 16, once I selected to maintain my child, I forfeited the remaining steadiness of my childhood and any likelihood for a traditional life for myself and my daughter.

On my worst days, I used to be fast to remind my daughter of the sacrifices I’d made for her. She was fast to remind me that she didn’t ask to be born.

—Deana Mason


I hear, “You’re pregnant,” and my ears can not unhear it. My breath is not going to exhale and my eyes lock onto the physician for an indication that this might not be true. Driving dwelling from the clinic, a sense of terror grips me. I must inform my mother. That is 1969 and abortions are usually not authorized.  

My brother supplied me with the identify of an abortionist in Watts. Just a few nights later, I used to be on my technique to a big, two-story Victorian. I used to be whisked upstairs to an empty bed room. Rapidly, my “physician” pulled a towel down from the highest shelf and unfold it onto the ground. There have been no introductions, no small speak. She instructed me to take off my jacket, denims, underwear and sneakers and to lie down on the towel on my again. 

She inserted her fingers into my vagina, made a fast, jerking motion, then eliminated her hand. I bear in mind feeling immediately clammy, in shock, blood draining from my mind as I virtually handed out from the stabbing ache. I lay there for some time as blood got here flowing again into my head. Weak, I slowly sat up. I rigorously stood up along with her assist and put my garments on. As I steadied myself, she advised me that I might miscarry over the following few days and that it could be disagreeable. 

The abortion was traumatic and scary however I imagine it took me for much longer to get well due to the need for the abortion. I had been raped.

Now, with Roe reversed, there isn’t a room for inaction. If not for your self, communicate out for others. It isn’t the church or the state or the courts who must be figuring out ladies’s reproductive rights. It’s ladies who should determine their destiny.

—Marlene Simon


I had an abortion in 1975. I used to be 20 weeks and had a saline induction. I waited that lengthy as a result of my then-boyfriend was mendacity to me about having this little one and he didn’t wish to. On the identical time he was not planning to be along with me. I couldn’t hold it alone and single as a result of my father advised me he’d by no means acknowledge a bastard little one. It was a horrible expertise. The physician tried to speak me into placing it up for adoption. I couldn’t think about doing that. 

I used contraception. However stuff occurs. The physician did his job regardless that he didn’t wish to. The boy’s dad and mom blamed me. The nurses had been horrible. However I used to be grateful to now not be pregnant. 

—Michele H.


I used to be bleeding profusely and misplaced consciousness. After I awoke, I discovered myself in a mattress within the maternity ward, surrounded by moms with their infants.

Again within the early ’60s, my boyfriend and I had been collectively for six months and I used to be on the tablet. I missed my interval however since I used to be on the tablet, I didn’t take into consideration being pregnant.

Just a few months glided by. I went to see my physician and when he advised me that I used to be pregnant, I used to be really stunned. Neither my boyfriend nor I needed to get married, so I made a decision to try to have an unlawful abortion.

My greatest girlfriend and I did some research and we thought that we might attempt to do it ourselves. We purchased a Foley catheter and she or he inserted it in my uterus and poked it round till I began to bleed. We each had been frightened as a result of if both of us received caught, we might be despatched to jail. Sadly, I started to bleed extreme quantities of blood. One other buddy dropped me off at an area hospital emergency room door. After I entered, I mentioned I used to be having a miscarriage. 

After I used to be examined, the physician mentioned that he knew that I had an abortion, and I used to be left to die on a desk in a room with the sunshine off. I used to be bleeding profusely and misplaced consciousness. After I awoke, I discovered myself in a mattress within the maternity ward, surrounded by moms with their infants. I used to be advised that I had surgical procedure and had two blood transfusions and virtually died. My punishment was to see all of the completely happy women with their newborns. They saved me there for 2 days. The nurses didn’t communicate to me and handled me with disdain.

—Jane S.


At 16 years previous, I used to be raped for a number of days by my boyfriend. I had no technique to combat him. Fortunately, I received away and a month later discovered I used to be pregnant. I used to be too younger to grasp find out how to deal with him legally and my dad and mom had been anti-abortion. Fortunately, I had Deliberate Parenthood to show to. On the time, if he had discovered that I used to be pregnant, he would have kidnapped me and the infant. I’m fortunate I received away. Please, convey again a lady’s proper to decide on. 

—Hannah C.


My grandmother died of that botched unlawful abortion—leaving my 2-year-old father and his 4-year-old sister motherless. Males who assume reversing Roe gained’t have an effect on them, greatest assume once more.

I’m the mom of three and grandmother of three, however had an abortion within the Eighties earlier than I used to be prepared to start out my household. I’ve by no means regretted that heart-wrenching, tough resolution for a single minute.

I’m grateful that having a protected and authorized abortion was an possibility for me. My grandmother wasn’t so fortunate. She married my grandfather with out the approval of her dad and mom through the despair. With barely sufficient to feed the 2 younger youngsters they already had, when she grew to become pregnant a 3rd time, my grandparents determined collectively that an abortion can be greatest for his or her household. Sadly, my grandmother died of that botched unlawful abortion—leaving my 2-year-old father and his 4-year-old sister motherless. Males who assume reversing Roe gained’t have an effect on them, greatest assume once more.

—Carol C.


Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether or not you your self have had an abortion, or just stand in solidarity with those that have—to let the Supreme Courtroom, Congress and the White Home know: We is not going to hand over the correct to protected, authorized, accessible abortion.

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