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.
This month, Glamour magazine published a six-page article about abortion, which profiles eight women who were willing to candidly share their abortion experiences. NAF members Dr. Deb Oyer, counselor Anne Baker, and Dr. Cassing Hammond were also featured in the piece.
“I was 23 when I discovered I was pregnant. My partner and I had been dating only a month, and I got pregnant due to failed birth control—I’d recently switched to the Patch, which didn’t work for me. I had just moved to Virginia from Florida and didn’t know where to go for an abortion, so I looked online and called a local NAF-recommended clinic. The day of my initial consultation, I drove to the address in a mall and entered an office that had a pregnancy-testing sign on its door. I filled out some forms, then a woman led me into another room to ask me more questions. Everything was fine until she asked what my religion was. I asked her why that was necessary, and she said she could not properly counsel me without knowing my “morality.” I was shocked—it was none of her business! So I asked to move on. She gave me a pregnancy test, and then as I waited for the results, she had me watch a video. Within minutes, I knew it was propaganda: It said not many people know the truth about abortion—that doctors who provide them graduate at the bottom of their class and that it is linked to breast cancer and depression. I was outraged. I went in trusting these people and felt betrayed and manipulated. When they started showing graphics of an actual procedure, using an illustration that was the size of a third-trimester fetus, I got up to leave. It was too upsetting. As I stormed past both the “counselor” and the receptionist, I said, ‘You people should be ashamed of yourselves.’ Once I got home, I called NAF to tell them they should take that clinic off their website—and that is when I first learned about these fake “crisis pregnancy centers” that sometimes use propaganda to discourage women from having an abortion. The NAF clinic I was supposed to go to was two doors down. When I went to see them the next day, I told them what happened, and they apologized and said it’s a common occurrence. It breaks my heart to think of someone going in there already scared. If I had been nervous or ill informed or did not have a support network, that experience would have been devastating.”