Over one-third of women of reproductive age have an abortion by the age of 45. However, women who have chosen abortion are often absent from the public debate. In order to break the silence surrounding abortion, we will be featuring real stories from real women each Wednesday on our blog. If you would like to share your story with us or have it published on our blog, go to http://www.prochoice.org/pregnant/hotline/share.html.

I’ve had back problems since my son was born in 2001. In December 2008, the pain had worsened and by January 2009 I was bed bound because my leg went numb. My orthopedic spine surgeon recommended a lumbar spinal fusion because my sciatic nerve was being severely pinched between two collapsed discs. The surgery was scheduled for February 26. I had pre-op blood work done two weeks before and everything was fine. Then as they were prepping me for surgery, my doctor says “We can’t do your procedure because you are pregnant.” I’ve never felt so hopeless. I couldn’t take care of my two sons I have right now because of the pain. I was so depressed and in excruciating pain. We talked with a high risk OB/GYN and he looked over my MRI and said if I continued with the pregnancy I could end up paralyzed. I had an abortion three weeks later and my back surgery two weeks after that. If abortion care wasn’t legal in this country I don’t know what my life would have been like. I received criticism from a few family members, but it doesn’t bother me. They had no idea what pain I was in or what I was facing. I’m so glad I have a choice.

–Submitted by Kensie* through our website

I went to my local Planned Parenthood last week and found out I was pregnant. In the week I waited to receive abortion care I had so many things running through my head. Would it hurt? Would I regret it? Will I change my mind? The answers to all of those questions turned out to be no. I was scared, but I had my boyfriend by my side the whole time. At the clinic I was given a sonogram and was comforted by an extremely helpful nurse. My doctor came in and shook my hand and asked me about myself as he set up for the procedure. At the end I felt a little cramping and some discomfort but the staff were very helpful and reassuring. Because of the protesters in the front of the clinic, I was walked through the garage to our car. I do not regret my decision at all and I hope my story can be helpful to someone else out there. Remember, you’re not alone.

–Submitted by Taryn* through our website

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