My family doesn’t know I had an abortion in 2002. I was 22 years old and scared to death to admit to them that I was in trouble. I was dating a man who had recently started to hit me—something everyone warned me about. But I thought I could “handle” his anger and take care of myself because I was “tougher” than most people.
“They were the only people I had seen for days who didn't hate me.”
I was working at three different bars and found out I was over eight weeks pregnant. It was the worst news of my life. I knew how everything would turn out. I would be tied to him for life. No matter what, everything he did, his family, all the lies and violence wouldn’t end. There was no escape.
I didn’t have money. I tried everything I could think of, every urban myth of how to end your pregnancy, special teas, jumping up and down, praying…..I was stuck and I knew it and so did he.
He announced to his family I was expecting and I started crying in a room full of people I was trying to escape. Before I could compose myself the words came out of my mouth “I’m going to abort the pregnancy.” This started a silence that ended in screaming. I heard everything. I was a monster. I didn’t have the guts or money to do it. Threatening to tell my family. Threatening to physically stop me at the clinic.
I went home and realized there was only one way out. I knew his family wasn’t lying. Adoption was out, he would never agree to it. He would use this situation for it all. My life. It would never belong to anyone but him again.
It took me almost two more months to get the money for the abortion. I had to take out a loan and ask my parents to co-sign. My parents. Who would never ever expect this from me.
How could I have let my life get this way? I was with a guy who hit me. I was working three jobs, and he didn’t even have a job and now I was pregnant.
I scheduled my abortion with Dr. Tiller and was warned about the protesters and people who would yell at me as I entered the clinic. I arrived scared and stared out the car window at protest signs telling me I was going to hell.
Once I got to the waiting room, my boyfriend told he was actually sorry for threatening me and happy I was doing this. He wasn’t ready to be a father. The nurse called my name, and I went back to a room and it all began. This process took three days.
When my first round of stents were placed, I was told I could leave. I was staying at a hotel just a block away so I was ready to sleep and process what I was doing, but when I got to the waiting room he was gone. He was gone with my fucking car.
So I walked to the hotel. The stents causing pain with every foot step.
I stayed in that hotel for three days. For the next few days I walked to the clinic and watched the posters and read the signs and felt so angry. I had no way of finding him, my car, or knowing if he had told my family.
By the last day I was leaving the clinic a little foggy. The workers there were concerned after learning what had happened. After talking to a counselor at the clinic, I was finally free to leave but with the knowledge that they were here for me if I needed anything. So far, they were the only people I had seen for days who didn’t hate me.
When I got to the waiting room, my boyfriend’s mother was waiting for me. Kleenex in hand and clearly pissed. She stood up and motioned for me to head to the door.
While in the car she explained that my boyfriend couldn’t “look at me” but that she knew I needed a ride. She took me to her home where I heard her make multiple calls about me, explaining I would sleep at her house until someone found my boyfriend to bring me to my home.
It took six hours.
Once he actually showed up, he took me home and began screaming. I walked passed him and went straight to bed. I woke up at 4am and started packing my things. I left that day.
I would have gone to anyone to escape this life. A man in an alley. A coat hanger. Anything. I would have done anything to run away.
I drive by that clinic every day. Still see those signs. Still read those messages about going to hell.
And I still picture a girl like me walking every day to some ray of hope of being free.