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 have five kids at home, and we are all living off of one income. We are barely making it, and I know to have another child would be too hard for me. That being said, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
–Submitted by Jill* from a member clinic
Because I was 38 years old, we decided on an amniocentesis for my second pregnancy. It showed that only the barest, most rudimentary structure of the brain, the brain stem, had developed. Virtually the entire brain was missing, along with most of the middle of the face. All that was there was an empty, fluid-filled space, with no structures. As a pediatrician, I knew that these anomalies were not compatible with life. My husband and I decided then and there to have an abortion. My own OB/GYN scheduled it for the next morning, in the hospital that we both used. She recommended that I have general anesthesia, but then called back that evening to tell me that not a single anesthesiologist on staff at the hospital would participate, even when my OB described to them the absence of a brain! We were living in Salt Lake City at the time, and apparently most of the anesthesiologists in town refused to participate in an abortion, no matter what the reason. Fortunately, I knew an anesthesiologist who had privileges at that hospital, though she rarely used them, and she agreed to provide anesthesia. I had an abortion in my own hospital, with my own OB/GYN. It was entirely covered by my insurance, with the same small co-pay that any surgical procedure would have required. Later, my OB/GYN told me that she had checked for a heartbeat before initiating the procedure. She had been unable to find one. Apparently, between the ultrasound at 5 pm and the surgery at 7 am, the fetus had died. Genetic testing of fetal tissue showed that the fetus had Trisomy 13, a condition virtually always incompatible with life.
–Submitted by Stephanie* through our website
*Names have been changed to protect patient privacy.