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 photo of Savita Halappanavar, who died after being denied an abortion when she miscarried in Ireland in 2012, during a protest against the recent US Supreme Court decision to end federal abortion rights protections on June 27, 2022 in Los Angeles. , Calif. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned long-standing precedent for Roe vs. Wade, representing the biggest blow to women’s constitutional rights in history. a new Millisecond. The Our Abortion Stories series recounts readers’ experiences of abortion before and after abortion.Roe. Abortions are sought by a wide range of people, for many different reasons. There is no single story. Telling stories from then and now shows how critical abortion has been and continues to be for women and girls.

The fall of Roe will test access to abortion across the country. We cannot, must not, lose the right to safe and accessible abortion or access to birth control. Share your abortion story by email [email protected]Y sign our petition “We have had abortions”.

Editor’s Note: These stories have been excerpted and lightly edited for clarity.

Trigger Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault, Bleeding


We met at Hartford’s Warehouse in 1978, the best place to dance in Connecticut.

Your family came from Honduras, your glasses made you look studious and your laugh emanated from the depths of your chest, almost catarrhal.

We would meet at your apartment near South Marshall Street, where you would play your violin and I would dance. Maybe we’d smoke a little marijuana. You were a classical violinist, musician and music teacher.

When I found out I was pregnant, you said, “Let’s keep the child. I’ll marry you.” But at 26, I wasn’t ready for marriage or parenthood. I’m not sure you were ready either. I think you might have had another girlfriend at that time. What kind of home could we have made for a baby?

I made the appointment at the clinic. You took me that day and waited with me.

“Are you sure?” you turned to look at me I nodded.

Inside the treatment room, the surgeon did not wait for the anesthesia to take effect before beginning his work. I moaned over and over, “This hurts!” The surgeon frowned. Then, luckily, I lost consciousness.

You left me at my friend’s apartment in New Britain where I recovered on my own.

Raised Catholic, I had to work through my guilt for years. I did the right thing?

We had stopped seeing each other. But for decades, the spirit of our cocoa-colored son hovered at the doors of my dreams letting me know he was okay. That the abortion was okay. He grew a little in each dream, until he was a young man. His visits ceased. He lovingly let it go into the light.

The course of my life changed forever.

Five years after the abortion, I began teaching black, biracial, Latino, Asian American, and white students whom I referred to as “my children.” I met my future husband. Five years later, when she was ready, our son was born. Three years later, our daughter.

I was grateful to be able to raise our two children in a loving home.

—Marie Lavendier


I saw girls with unwanted pregnancies, no access to abortions, plunge into boiling Epsom salt baths, have their boyfriends punch them in the belly, and starve themselves to the point where they weighed less than before they got pregnant.

I was pregnant at 16, six weeks after my high school girlfriend left me. I was faced with one of the hardest decisions a woman, or in my case, a girl, will ever make: keep, get rid of, or give away my baby.

The moment a girl or woman finds out she is pregnant, she is sentenced to a lifetime of selecting the least bad options from a list of hopeless alternatives for herself and her child.

She was too young to have a baby, but she was too afraid to give it away. I didn’t think I would ever recover from the loss of my son through adoption. I considered abortion, but couldn’t bring myself to end a life I had created.

I am grateful that I had a choice. I saw girls with unwanted pregnancies, no access to abortions, plunge into boiling Epsom salt baths, have their boyfriends punch them in the belly, and starve themselves to the point where they weighed less than before they got pregnant.

Eliminating women’s reproductive health rights does not eliminate unintended fetuses. Give birth to unwanted children. Forcing women to give birth to unwanted children creates dependency on others. Both mother and son have little chance of lifting themselves out of poverty.

After having my daughter, it took me 10 years to finish a four-year college degree, while working full-time for low pay. I spent 18 years collecting food stamps, “shopping” at free pantries for clothes and food, and relying on payday loans when my alternator or refrigerator broke. I filed for bankruptcy twice. I am 44 years old and still owe almost $70,000 in student loans.

At 16, when I chose to keep my baby, I lost the remaining balance of my childhood and any chance of a normal life for myself and my daughter.

On my worst days, I was quick to remind my daughter of the sacrifices I had made for her. She was quick to remind me that she did not ask to be born.

—Deana Mason


I hear: “You are pregnant”, and my ears cannot stop hearing it. My breath doesn’t exhale and my eyes dart to the doctor for a sign that this may not be true. Driving home from the clinic, a sense of terror washes over me. I’ll have to tell my mom. We are in 1969 and abortions are not legal.

My brother provided me with the name of an abortionist in Watts. A few nights later, he was driving me to a large two-story Victorian house. I was taken upstairs to an empty bedroom. Quickly, my “doctor” pulled down a towel from the top shelf and spread it out on the floor. There were no introductions, no small talk. He instructed me to take off my jacket, jeans, underwear, and shoes and lie down on the towel on my back.

She inserted her fingers into my vagina, made a quick jerky movement, then withdrew her hand. I remember instantly feeling gooey, in shock, the blood draining from my brain as I nearly passed out from the stabbing pain. I stood there for a while as the blood flowed back to my head. Weak, I sat up slowly. I got up carefully with her help and put on my clothes. As she reassured me, she told me that she would have a miscarriage in the next few days and that it would be unpleasant.

The abortion was traumatic and scary, but I think it took me a lot longer to recover because of the need for the abortion. I had been raped.

Now, with Roe upside down, there is no room for inaction. If not for you, he speaks for others. It is not the church or the state or the courts that should determine the reproductive rights of women. It is the women who must decide their destiny.

—Marlene Simon


I had an abortion in 1975. I was 20 weeks and had saline induction. I waited so long because my then boyfriend was lying to me about having this child and he didn’t want to. At the same time, he didn’t plan on being with me. I couldn’t keep him single and single because my father told me that he would never recognize a bastard child. It was a horrible experience. The doctor tried to convince me to put him up for adoption. I couldn’t imagine doing that.

I used contraceptives. But things happen. The doctor did his job even though he didn’t want to. The boy’s parents blamed me. The nurses were horrible. But she was grateful that she wasn’t pregnant anymore.

—Michele H..


I was bleeding profusely and lost consciousness. When I woke up, I found myself in a bed in the maternity ward, surrounded by mothers with their babies.

In the early 1960s, my boyfriend and I had been together for six months and I was on the pill. I missed my period but since I was on the pill, I didn’t think about getting pregnant.

A few months passed. I went to see my doctor and when she told me that she was pregnant, she really surprised me. Neither my boyfriend nor I wanted to get married, so I decided to try an illegal abortion.

My best girlfriend and I did some research and thought we’d try to make it ourselves. We bought a Foley catheter and she inserted it into my uterus and pushed it in until I started bleeding. We were both scared because if either of us got caught, we could be sent to prison. Unfortunately, I began to bleed excessive amounts of blood. Another friend dropped me off at the door of a local hospital emergency room. When I walked in, I said I was having a miscarriage.

After I was examined, the doctor said that he knew I had miscarried and left me to die on a table in a room with the light off. I was bleeding profusely and lost consciousness. When I woke up, I found myself in a bed in the maternity ward, surrounded by mothers with their babies. They told me that they operated on me and gave me two blood transfusions and I almost died. My punishment was seeing all the happy ladies with their newborns. They kept me there for two days. The nurses did not speak to me and treated me with disdain.

—Jane S.


When I was 16, my boyfriend raped me for several days. He had no way to fight him. Fortunately, I ran away and a month later I found out I was pregnant. I was too young to understand how to handle it legally and my parents were against abortion. Fortunately, she had Planned Parenthood to turn to. At that time, if he had found out I was pregnant, he would have kidnapped me and the baby. I’m lucky I got away. Please bring back a woman’s right to choose.

—Hannah C..


My grandmother died from that botched illegal abortion, leaving my 2-year-old father and his 4-year-old sister without a mother. men who think backwards Roe it won’t affect them, better think again.

I am a mother of three and a grandmother of three, but I had an abortion in the 1980s before I was ready to start my family. I have never regretted that difficult and heartbreaking decision for one minute.

I am grateful that having a safe and legal abortion was an option for me. My grandmother was not so lucky. She married my grandfather without her parents’ approval during the depression. With barely enough to feed the two small children they already had, when she became pregnant for the third time, my grandparents decided together that an abortion would be in the best interest of their family. Unfortunately, my grandmother died from that botched illegal abortion, leaving my 2-year-old father and her 4-year-old sister without a mother. men who think backwards Roe it won’t affect them, better think again.

—Carol C.


sign and share MillisecondRelaunch of the petition “We have had abortions”—whether you’ve had an abortion yourself, or just stand in solidarity with those who have—so the Supreme Court, Congress, and the White House know: We will not give up the right to safe, legal, and affordable abortion.

Until next time:

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