I was 22 weeks along when I made the decision to get an abortion. The entire process was done in secret, we asked for no help. We drove hundreds of miles from one state to another to get services. The staff, doctors and nurses were amazing, but the misinformation and religious based shame I received while there will forever haunt me. They were required to have me look at the ultrasound, and I was forced to listen to the heartbeat. Then I was sat in a waiting room with a dozen or so people also seeking abortions. A nurse came in and put on a video, we were required to watch it. It was 45 minutes of shame and hate, lies and misinformation, horrifying pictures and religious dogma. After we were done with the video we waited. For hours, hoping my name was called next. We waited in silence, with someone crying occasionally. A handful got up and left, without getting their abortion. Finally, my name was called, I went back and had to talk to a “councilor”. I was forced to explain why I didn’t want this “child”, why I came here, could I financially support it If I was to keep it, reminded adoption was an option. The whole time I was being told these things, I could see the sadness in the councilors eyes, knowing what they said was damaging and incorrect. At the end, she looked me in the eye and said, “only you know the right decision.” After that, I waited some more, a few hours later I was called back again. I went into an exam room, and the doctor came in. I remember laying down, and the doctor had a very large needle, she took the needle and pushed it into my swollen stomach, to stop the heart of the fetus. After that, she had to place spacers in my cervix, to create some space for the procedure the following day. There was some pain, but the doctor was amazing, explaining every step, ensuring I was comfortable.

The next day, we showed up early. We managed to make it to the clinic before the protesters, so that made that walk inside little easier. I checked in, filled out a bunch of paperwork, and sat in the dead silent waiting room. After another long wait, I was called back. From there I went to an exam room, was asked to change into a medical gown. Then in came the nurses and doctor, I was given some medication, asked how I was feeling. They checked on my cervix, making sure the spacers were effective. After that, I went into the procedure room. I didn’t see much but a large light, some monitors and iv’s. I last remember laying down on the table, the nurse inserting the iv, telling me “everything is going to be okay”, count back from 10, then I was out. Just as quick as I fell asleep I was up. The nurses carefully got me into a wheel chair, and I was moved into the recovery room. There were about 5 or 6 of us in there. I remember looking around, and seeing relief on some of their faces, tears in others. I remember having to go to the bathroom, and seeing so much blood. I remember asking the nurse, “is this okay?” And she gently reassured me it was okay, and gave me some medication to help with the pain. After some time in the recovery room, I was taken up to the front, and walked outside with my husband helping me. Thats when I saw the protesters. The signs of “fetuses”, screaming “baby killers” and screaming “you’re going to hell!”. Keep in mind my children were in the car, hearing and seeing all of this happen. We managed to get out of the parking lot and get back to the hotel. Once back in the room, I wanted to take a shower, and I remember hearing the water running, the steam filling up the bathroom, undressing, and seeing the blood. And then I just started crying. Torn on what I just did, wondering if it was the right choice, thinking if this made me a horrible person. It was a very hard time after we got back home. I was in a very bad and dark mental place, having to hold in my emotions, with no support or help with how I was feeling. My husband was there for me 100%, never doubted me, held my hand, loved me. I don’t think I could have made it this far without him. To this day, I think of that abortion, about how I was shamed from the beginning, living in a hostile state toward pregnant people. But then I remember the love, compassion, empathy, and respect those nurses and doctors gave me. I still remember the pain in their eyes when they knew they had to turn up the volume so I could hear the heartbeat. The way they said what they were legally told to tell me, lies and misinformation, but made sure I knew that whatever I chose, it was the right choice.

I was a lucky one. I had the support of my husband. I was able to travel hundreds of miles, out of state. I was able to pay for the abortion. And this was before we lost Roe. Right now, there are pregnant people being denied the same healthcare I was able to receive due to draconian abortion laws, leaving states with no abortion services or providers. Forcing pregnant people into dangerous, life threatening situations, with not a care for either the pregnant person or the pregnancy. And things are only getting worse.

This was my story. If you read it, thank you. You don’t have to like it or agree with it, but now you know some one who’s had an abortion. You’ve heard an abortion story. Now, in 2023, I think it is imperative that I share my story, and amplify others, to get rid of the same and stigma that comes with this life saving, healthcare procedure. Abortion saves lives, I know, it saved mine.