I am 75 years old.  I was one of the lucky ones.

by Anonymous

March 2, 2018

I am 75 years old.  I was one of the lucky ones.  I had a supportive father who helped me get a diaphragm when I was 17 and wanted to have sex. Diaphragms, condoms, withdrawal, rhythm, and abstinence were the only contraceptive methods available!  The prescription of diaphragms was illegal in the state I lived in unless the woman was married.

My father got me an appointment with his wife’s gynecologist and I got a diaphragm and spermicidal jelly and I used them. Every single time.  I got pregnant anyway when I was 19.  To get diagnosed I had to go to a doctor and give a urine specimen which then got injected into rabbits or frogs or something.  There were no home pregnancy tests.  I told my boyfriend I was pregnant and we knew we weren’t ready for a baby.  So I called my dad.  He told me to come to visit him as soon as possible.

When I got there he asked me if it was OK if he told his new girlfriend that I was the person for whom he had asked about an abortion.  She thought it was for another of my dad’s girlfriends!  Of course, I said, yes.  Then he took me to a gynecologist with a specially coded business card to give to the clerk at the front desk.  We also brought a LOT of cash in unmarked small bills.  The doctor quizzed me about why we weren’t going to get married and have the baby and I handed over the money.  Then I was examined and something was put inside. I was told to wait at my father’s apartment, not to go out for the next 2 days.  It all felt very scary.

The following day the doorbell rang and the gynecologist was at my father’s 3rd-floor walk-up apartment.  He did the abortion with some type of general anesthesia with me lying on my father’s kitchen table. Only my father and the gynecologist were present.  My boyfriend had gone out to buy some groceries and was told to go away and come back in several hours.  As I was waking up, the doctor sadistically asked me if I was ready for him to start the procedure.  I was very relieved to find out it was all over.  He gave me some antibiotics and recommended a day of rest, no sex for at least 10 days, and advice about what to do if I got a fever, heavy bleeding, etc.

So I was one of the lucky ones — I had a supportive parent. That parent had money to pay for the abortion.  He had a friend who knew how to get an illegal abortion from a competent provider.  There were no complications from the surgery — either at the time of the procedure or later.  Other girls I knew at the time were not so lucky.  Some carried their pregnancies to term and gave the babies up for adoption.  Some had illegal procedures that did not go well, causing severe injury, infection, infertility.

I am very very grateful for the circumstances of my abortion know that legal abortion is critical to good health for women.  I want abortion to remain legal in our country and to become much more available than it is currently.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!