Tennessee Abortion in the 2000s

by Cindy

April 13, 2023

I was about 27, newly divorced, and living in Nashville in the early 2000s. I never thought I’d be divorced and I was sort of reeling and finding myself, I guess. I had never gotten pregnant when I was married, so I had stopped taking birth control seriously. I had been dating someone who was really not right for me and, as I was realizing this, I also discovered I was pregnant.

It was very early. Maybe a week after my first missed period. I called Planned Parenthood and they said I had to wait to be after a certain number of weeks to come in for the procedure. I remember sitting in a room of about 6-9 women, waiting for our abortions. We had to watch some videos and talk to someone. We had to have an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat, then confirm again that we wanted the abortion. I was told my pregnancy was at nine weeks. I think I was given a Valium.

I had to lie on a table and my cervix was manually dilated with metal rods and then the pregnancy suctioned out. It was excruciating and I remember crying. The doctor was not sympathetic. When he finished, he left the room and kind of waved at me, raising his index and middle finger from the top of the clear container half full of frothy red. I was ushered back to a room of women sitting in recliners on pee pads, “just in case you bleed through” to be observed. And then home.

The man who impregnated me drove me and brought me home. He wanted to stay but I asked him to go. I ended things after that. As painful and traumatic as I found my abortion, it had still freed me from that relationship and given me a second chance to start fresh on my own. And I took it. I have been scrupulously careful about birth control since then. I have never…not once…regretted my abortion.

I regretted that my abortion was so physically barbaric, and that I was subjected to other people’s opinions and timelines. I regret that I didn’t have the option to choose a less invasive method. I wish I’d been given more pain relief. (Gynecological health really needs to include more pain management during procedures overall.) But my abortion…I feel nothing but grateful to have had an abortion. It was the very best thing for me. I am also grateful, in spite of the old methods, to have had a safe abortion under a doctor’s care in my own town.

All pregnancies should be wanted and those who do not want to complete a pregnancy shouldn’t have to.





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