Pregnancy

I Decided Against Abortion, But I Was Really Happy To Have The Option

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Like some 49% of pregnancies in America, mine was unplanned. My partner and I had flirted with the idea of children, but we had securely filed it away in the “Maybe Someday” box. More pressing in our minds were things like me graduating college, saving up to move out of our crappy studio apartment, my partner starting college, and learning to drive so we could get a car. That’s why it was like a punch in the face when I stared at that test; the test I bought for one dollar because I was so sure I couldn’t possibly be pregnant.

I rushed out of the bathroom, tears streaming down my face, calling for my boyfriend. I called Planned Parenthood the next morning. I got an appointment for about a week after I called. I decided not to go through with my abortion – I chose to give birth. But this is not a piece to discuss that choice, and how and why I made it. This is a piece to discuss the process I went through in arranging the procedure and the choices I had to make.

There are two kinds of abortions; medical and chemical. A medical abortion is the kind most people seem familiar with, where suction is used to terminate the pregnancy. A chemical abortion is where two pills are administered. The medication is what causes the termination of the pregnancy. For either of these procedures, a woman is required to report to the building and be under the care of a medical staff for the whole procedure. These also require follow up visits to make sure everything has gone according to plan.

I opted for the chemical abortion.

It is not free to get an abortion. I called to schedule my appointment and was initially quoted seven hundred dollars. That was more than I had, so Planned Parenthood was able to offer me a discounted price based on my income. Now, I did have insurance, but my insurance would only cover an abortion that was deemed “medically necessary”. In that case, a doctor would have had to state that having the baby would either result in my death or result in damaging me severely. I hadn’t even seen a doctor about being pregnant at that point, so I opted just to take the discount offered to me, which lowered the price to about two hundred dollars.

I couldn’t just walk into my local Planned Parenthood and get an abortion. I called in and was told that my location didn’t even perform abortions. I would have to travel to one of two locations; one was forty five minutes from me, the other was two hours. Being that neither my boyfriend or I were able to drive, this presented a problem. We chose to go to the Planned Parenthood forty five minutes away and ask for a ride from someone we trusted. I found that I would also have to have my follow up appointments at the same place, so this would mean I would need to schedule even more rides.

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57 Comments

  1. CMJ

    August 15, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Thank you for this rational, factual account of the process of attempting to get an abortion.

  2. ted3553

    August 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

    As a pro-choiceer, I’m glad you had the option. My feelings around the whole idea is that it’s really about choice. If you aren’t forced to have an abortion, you shouldn’t be forced not to have one.
    I am also appreciative of PP educating and counseling so that you could be fully informed before making your choice.

  3. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    August 15, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I love this piece, but I am heartbroken by so many of the broken parts of the system that it underlines for women who ultimately do want to obtain an abortion–the long waits, long drives, cost.

    It highlights not only the importance of having the choice, but of safeguarding it.

    • arrow2010

      August 17, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Abortion should not be a super convenient option.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      I disagree, but we will leave it at that.

  4. K.

    August 15, 2014 at 11:42 am

    This is a wonderful article–and very important. Not many people know what it’s like to go through the process of getting an abortion or what Planned Parenthood is like.

    • leahdawn

      August 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

      I really appreciated the insight into Planned Parenthood too. I live in Canada and so all we ever hear about are controversies involving it, but have no idea what going there would actually be like (and praise be to our healthcare system for that.)

    • Lilly

      August 15, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      The exception is New Brunswick which is just ass backwards and had to close their only clinic because they ran at a loss– gov’t didn’t cover it and so now women there cannot get an abortion except when ok’d by a doctor.

    • TashaB

      August 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      Actually, they need an ok from two separate doctors, which makes it even worse that the Morgentaler clinic closed.

    • Lilly

      August 15, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      shit that sucks even more — I figured you’ll get at least a few doctors that will carte blanche ok it but to get 2 in time will be really hard.

    • Laurenhfx

      August 15, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      PEI is probably the worst in Canada because there are no providers on the Island so women there are referred to hospitals in Nova Scotia (2-3 hour drive) that provide it.

  5. allisonjayne

    August 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing. This is awesome.

  6. Abby

    August 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I wish more pro-lifers would read articles like these and understand that PP isn’t about just giving out abortions like Halloween candy. They’re pretty much the only ones out there interested in helping women make fully informed choices about family planning.

    Thank goodness we still live in a country where we’re able to have these choices, and kudos to you for ultimately making the choice that was right for you and yours!

  7. Dooflin

    August 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you for being so candid.

    What I find most interesting, there are quite a few differences with your experience and mine because I live in Texas. There is no PP in my hometown. I had to drive over four hours, to have a sonogram while having my fetus described to me and initial pages of (mis)information that is purposely worded to make you reconsider. You’re then required by law to wait until the next day for your procedure. The initial appointment was $75 and the procedure was $500. They did not have low income discounts. The state is very concerned with what happens before your abortion, but not after. There is no exit counseling, no social worker, no required post-procedure visits. The law has become even more strict now, and that clinic is no longer open.
    After my experience, I regularly wonder about the women in my state and I find myself terrified for our future.

    • Old Lady Phillips

      August 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      This is awful. Like, sickeningly awful.

    • Danyelle

      August 15, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      This is so awful I feel for you. A women should be able to make whatever choice is best for her and her family with dignity, understanding, and support. Some people just make me sick.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

      August 16, 2014 at 7:48 am

      Oh my god… You know, we read about the measures that have been taken in Texas to prevent women from receiving adequate reproductive care, but we rarely get to hear the first hand accounts of how those measures effect the women that live there. I am even more outraged and I’m so sorry this is something you had to endure.

  8. alyp

    August 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I am thankful for the choice and thankful that in Canada abortions are mostly free, regardless of the reason you are getting one.
    Thanks for this article!

  9. Old Lady Phillips

    August 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I’ve had to make this choice three times in my life. The first two times, I chose abortion. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was the right choice at the time. I went to Planned Parenthood, and was given the information and the care that I needed, without bias and without judgment. The third time, I knew in my heart I wanted to make a different choice. I went back to Planned Parenthood anyway, just to talk about my options. I made and appointment with the counselor; at the appointment, she went over my choices with me and then asked me what I thought I wanted to do. I burst into tears and said, “I want to have my baby.” She looked at me and said, “Then you have your baby. Don’t cry, you can do this if that’s what you want to do” and gave me a huge hug. Then she gave me several referrals for OBGYN’s that took my insurance, and information about programs such as WIC, in case I might need them.
    This is kind of what kills me about militant pro-life supporters. They want people to believe that organizations like Planned Parenthood only give you information on abortion, not on all your options–that they want you to have an abortion, because they want your money, or because they hate babies or whatever nonsense. I’ve heard it all. But all they want to do is be there to support, educate and care for women when they need it. They’re fucking angels, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Korine

      August 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Your experience is almost exactly mine, down to the 2 abortions and even visiting PP before deciding to have my daughter. They are angels and I think so fondly of clinic workers as well as the amazingly big hearted men and women who stand outside the building to escort women inside, attempting to shield them from the protestors and blasting music to try to drown them out. Its been 7 years and I have tears of gratitude in my eyes now, as I think of those very grandmotherly/grandfatherly people who volunteered their time.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 15, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      It really blows my mind that some groups can’t wrap their heads around the fact that a pro-choice organization might be big on presenting choices. I’m glad everything turned out well!

    • JenH1986

      August 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      I have volunteered to counsel at the local PP. The purpose is to provide support to women who are in a stressful situation and to make sure SHE is making the best choice for her, not someone someone else.

    • Old Lady Phillips

      August 15, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      Jen, that’s awesome!!!

    • Beverley-Top10

      August 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    • val97

      August 18, 2014 at 11:57 am

      I went something like 8 years without insurance. Without pp, I probably would not have been able to afford birth control, and I definitely would not have gone in for routine pap smears. I even went there when I had strep throat. They are amazing, and I donate to them every year.

  10. allisonjayne

    August 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Anyone I’ve spoken to who has had an abortion expresses the same thought: “Do I wish I didn’t have to have an abortion? Yes. Do I regret it? Nope.”

    • Lindsey

      August 15, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Right. There’s no one who’s been like yes, I would like to get pregnant for the express reason of having an abortion. It seems like that is what people think, though.

    • amyp

      August 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      I had an abortion at 16, do I regret it? absolutely not. Was I more careful after? Yes extremely because It wasn’t a fun experience and I would prefer not to have to do it again, but if I would have gotten pregnant again at say 18-22 I would have had another one.
      I am 15 weeks pregnant and being pregnant is not always fun, after 13 weeks of puking none stop, being admitted to the hospital twice for dehydration, missing tons of work, and doing this all alone (my husband is working away for four months) I cant imagine forcing anyone to go through with this for ANY reason.

    • allisonjayne

      August 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      I too felt even more pro-choice after having been pregnant (with a very much wanted and planned baby, and a relatively easy pregnancy).

  11. Maria Guido

    August 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks for writing this.

  12. rockmonster

    August 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks for writing! This article was wonderful and insightful!
    https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4010/4416673228_a2f3d48814.jpg

    • AP

      August 15, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      That is the cutest thing EVER! So adorable.

  13. JenH1986

    August 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks for writing this. I wish we heard more stories about positive PP experiences (regardless of the choice made) because PP is not some big scary giant monster.

  14. Michelle

    August 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    This is a good article. It’s the choice that matters. No one is ‘pro-abortion’. no one starts out in any situation by thinking ‘oh well i’ll do whatever i want then get an abortion’.. that’s just not how it goes. we just deserve the choice to decide what’s best for us, whatever that ends up being.

    • ted3553

      August 15, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Totally. I’ve never heard any one who views themselves as pro choice saying to people-“go around, do what you want, have an abortion. No biggie”.

  15. Picklejar

    August 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Thank you for this. It seems that a lot of pro-life/anti-choicers think women just waltz in an have abortions without serious consideration of the options, or reflection on the ramifications after the fact. Nobody *wants* to need an abortion – but it’s essential that the choice is there, along with a caring, non-judgemental environment to go through the experience. You were asked for well-informed consent, after hearing about all options, and seeing pictures of fetuses (feti?) in all phases of development. It’s never an easy choice.

  16. Ana

    August 15, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I read that abortions only amount to about 3% of the services PP provides, and contraception is 35%. So in a way they may be preventing more abortions than they provide, which makes it even more ridiculous that people picket them. Not to mention the cancer screenings, STD tests, WIC program, counseling, etc. I used to go to PP for my exams and birth control when I was too broke to afford insurance and a regular OB. They are awesome in my book. I hate that people get so worked up about them when they are just trying to help the girls and women who need it most.

    • Clever name

      August 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Yes, I will be forever grateful for the free birth control PP provided me with when I was uninsured. I am 100% sure that they are the reason that I have my three wonderful children today- because I was able to have them when I was ready for motherhood. PP is indeed awesome!

    • 2Well

      August 15, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Many pro lifers are also anti birth control.

      http://thepillkills.org

      After all, sex is icky and women just need to lie back and think of England, and if they’re lucky they’ll be rewarded with a baby out of it.

    • koolchicken

      August 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      Some, but certainly not all. I’m 100% pro-life. But I’m also 100% pro making responsible choices that prevent pregnancy in the first place and that includes birth control- and I don’t mean crap like the rhythm method. Every other pro-life person I happen to know is the same. We’d rather see more education about how babies are actually made and the ways to prevent that from happening given to teens and adults.

      So please don’t say most pro-lifers are anti birth control. It’s a sweeping statement based off the actions of extremists. It’s offensive and not true.

    • 2Well

      August 15, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      I said many, not most. To me, a vocal, substantial minority still counts as many. It’s a growing trend in many circles, unfortunately.

      Your attitude is a healthy one.

    • koolchicken

      August 16, 2014 at 1:56 am

      Well the definition of many is, “a large number of” or “the majority of people”. So by that definition your comment is saying you feel the majority of pro-lifers feel a certain way. And I’m telling you that’s not true.

      There are many facets of being pro-life. For example, I actually think abortion should be legal. Just because I think we should be preserving life, and that includes the life of the mother. I do think that abortion should be reserved for instances when the child is certain to be born with something like Tay-Sachs and will live a horribly painful and short life. Or if a woman is certain to die, or be horrible damaged by continuing the pregnancy or attempting any form of birth. I also realize that while I am a Catholic, not everyone is. And it’s not okay for me to force my religious beliefs on others who may not hold the same ones. I believe that I should not have say over what someone else does with their body.

      My attitude is a healthy one, and one that IS shared by many. And a small but vocal group is not the many. Because their size is not determined by the loudness of their bullhorns. It’s determined by their actual numbers. And I’d encourage you to remember that when discussing pro-lifers again in the future.

    • 2Well

      August 16, 2014 at 10:11 am

      I guess my interpretation of “large” is different. For example. If 60 percent of people feel one thing, and 40 percent feel another (hypothetically), that 40 percent is still many and a large number.

  17. aCongaLine

    August 15, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Thank you for writing this.. it’s really comforting to know that there are people out there, just like me. Our first was unplanned, and it was definitely a conscious choice to parent- but a choice I was so thankful to have, and one that we didn’t choose lightly. While I haven’t chosen to exercise my right to terminate thus far in my life, I am comforted by the knowledge that such safe services are available to me should I need them.

  18. Blueathena623

    August 15, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I had an abortion in April. I don’t regret it at all, and all I felt was relief and yes, even happiness, that I didn’t have to be pregnant anymore. Because I had a csection before they would only do surgical under anesthesia, which was great for me.
    I’m not going to judge or doubt anyone who is traumatized by their abortion, but there was no trauma associated with mine.

  19. Amber Starr

    August 15, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you for this beautifully written piece. I’ve always said that I don’t know that i could personally have an abortion, but I will fight for other women to have the right to make whatever choice is best for them and their partner.

  20. Danyelle

    August 15, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Beautiful piece thank you so much for posting. There is such a sigma attached to Planned Parenthood when they really are angels and some of the nicest non judgmental people you will meet. They provide such a wide range of services above and beyond abortions, and when an abortion is needed they will provide a wealth of information, counseling, and support, not only regarding abortion but for all other options available to you such as adoption and resources if you decide to keep the pregnancy. I never can understand their reputation being as they often provide more support and information than the average doctor’s office and are often the ONLY resource that will fully support a woman’s reproductive health and her right to choose. Cannot say enough good things about them and they are first on my charitable donation list. Despite what many pro-lifers seem to publicize abortion is never an easy choice for any woman but one made after careful consideration and is not commonly used as a birth control method. No one wants an abortion, most (of course not all) women are regretful that they were in a situation where an abortion was needed but not regretful of their decision to have one. I have always been pro choice but became MUCH more so after having my daughter. Pregnancy is very very hard for many women, not to mention difficulties with missing work, stress on your relationships, and the emotional and physical toll on your body. Plus then the limitless needs of raising a child! No woman EVER should be forced to keep a pregnancy or the resulting child if they do not wish to do so and I am appalled seeing more and more legislation limiting what should be a basic right to access a full range of Healthcare.

  21. WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

    August 16, 2014 at 8:00 am

    I had a girlfriend in high school — she was my boy friend’s younger sister and she was pregnant at 15. Her father, mother and I took her to PP in DC (an hour away) and had to shelter her from the shit storm of strangers screaming in her face…literally –spit flying from their furious lips hitting her in the face while they shoved horrifying pictures to within inches of her eyes- until the angels of mercy came with umbrellas and the most comforting smiles to escort her into the building.

    This was just a consultation. She wasn’t getting an abortion.

    Thank you for writing this. It really is a great piece.

    • Lackadaisical

      August 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Protesting outside abortion clinics is illegal here (UK) as causing “harassment, alarm or distress” under the Public Order Act 1986. I really don’t think it should be allowed anywhere as it is not a freedom of speach issue, it is harassing vulnerable people in an aggressive and fairly hateful way.

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

      August 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      It was over 30 years ago and I still remember it as if it were yesterday. It played a major role in how I formed my pro-choice position and the approach I generally try to take.

  22. Mike

    August 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Our society is so regressive. Consider that, post-birth, you are no longer allowed to kill your child. So much for choice! What if the kid starts to annoy you after a while? Or you just get sick of it and you want a new one instead? What if the baby won’t accept a bottle but you don’t want to breastfeed? Shouldn’t women be entitled to *REAL* choice, not just “oh, you’re a woman, you can control your life and body only if your pregnant!” Excuse me? So just because I made this decision to have this child, now I’m required to care for, feed it, etc.? Ridiculous. If you change your mind (YOUR mind, not someone else’s), you should be able to dispose of the kid afterwards.

    • arrow2010

      August 17, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Too logical.

    • wicked bitch of the west

      August 17, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      hmmmm….

    • wicked bitch of the west

      August 17, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      I’m not sure where you are from, but in America we have this thing called adoption where you can give your child to another person if you don’t want hir or you are unable to care for hir.

      Once the baby is born, hir is no longer a part of a woman’s body, so her bodily autonomy is no longer connected to the child.

      You don’t seem very bright.

  23. AugustW

    August 16, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Exactly. Being pro-choice isn’t about wanting an abortion. It’s about wanting to make sure you, and other women, have the CHOICE to have one.
    Thank you for this article.

  24. arrow2010

    August 17, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Sorry but abortion is murder. At least own up to that.

    • 2Well

      September 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Murder: the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought. The human being part is up for debate, but what isn’t up for debate is the unlawful part. As long as it is legal, it is not murder.

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