Sep 022010

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My name is Amanda and I have had two abortions. I feel that I need to share my story because it was a very traumatic experience just being allowed to get an abortion. I first got pregnant when I was 17, my boyfriend was 16. I used to be pro-life, but when I was in that position my views quickly changed. I realized that I could not go through with the pregnancy and adoption was not something I would be strong enough to do. I talked to my mother and she agreed to take me to Planned Parenthood. I was six weeks when I had my first abortion. To be honest I felt completely relieved afterwards. I was not really upset; I knew it was the right decision. However, my family no longer wanted anything to do with me. My dad called me a murder and said he was going to hang signs in the yard calling me a baby killer. Needless to say we did not speak for a very long time. My mother was also not happy with me. She told me that I was never to come to her with that request again.

A few months later I found out I was pregnant again. I know it’s stupid but what can I say we were teenagers, teenagers make stupid decisions. At first I wanted to keep the baby, but I realized that my boyfriend was still just 16 and he still had another year of High School, not to mention he was incredibly immature. So I decided I should have another abortion. I live in Missouri; you are required to have at least one parents’ permission to get an abortion. I knew I could not go to my family; they still weren’t even talking to me. My boyfriends parents are die hard Christians and do not agree with abortion at all. So I did some research. I found out that the state of Illinois does not require parental consent. So I found a clinic and made an appointment.

The problem was that my license was suspended and my boyfriend didn’t have a license yet. I am not from this area so I had no friends here. My boyfriend asked a few friends if they would drive us but they all said no. So we devised a plan… we cashed in my boyfriend’s savings bonds to pay for the abortion. Then we told his family that my grandma died and we were going to the funeral. So his dad took us to the train station. We actually didn’t have enough money at that point so I brought a huge suitcase full of games and movies to sell. We called a cab after his dad left and went to sell the movies. The cab was so expensive we knew we had to walk back to the train station. It was a three mile walk, carrying a big suitcase down the highway and it was late September, so a bit chilly. We finally got to the train station and rode it downtown to St.Louis. When we got there we found a cab to drive us to Granite City Illinois. We found a hotel online that was less than a mile from the clinic. When we got to the hotel they would not give us a room because we were both underage. So there we were in some unfamiliar town in the middle of the night. No place to stay, no one to call, cold and carrying a huge suitcase. We walked to a gas station to see if there was a 24 hour café around like a Denny’s. The closest Denny’s was 5 miles away but they told us there was a very small bar and grill that was open all night about a mile away. This town was very scary at night. It’s very industrial so there are lots of big buildings and we didn’t really know where we were going. We made it to the café and found that there were tons of bikers there. We had a hard time finding a place to sit. Everyone was looking at us weird and they said we couldn’t stay unless we were ordering something. We ordered a few small things and ended up staying there for about two hours. After that we were just wandering the streets. We sat outside of a McDonald’s for a long time; if we saw a cop coming we would quickly get up and walk back to the gas station. I didn’t sleep at all. At 5 AM the McDonald’s finally opened. So we went in there to wait for the clinic to open. I was about 7 weeks pregnant at this point and incredibly sick.

When it was time to go to the clinic we started walking down the street and soon saw a huge group of protesters. As I walked into the clinic I was called a murder, baby killer, and people waved their bibles at me. Children stood outside with big posters of “aborted fetuses”. I was very upset by this point. We got inside and started filling out paperwork. They informed me that we couldn’t do the abortion because I was from Missouri. I still needed parental consent. Even though I specifically asked this when I made the appointment, we were turned away. I was so upset; we just took our suitcase and walked into the angry mob again. We called a cab to go back to the train station. When we got there we had to wait 5 hours for the next train. So we wandered around Union Station and I was in the bathroom throwing up for most of the time we were there. We finally made it back to the place my boyfriend’s father dropped us off. We couldn’t call his parents yet because that would be too suspicious. So we waited for hours and finally called.

The next day I called the clinic again and asked what I could do. They gave me the number of a lawyer who could help. I called her and got an appointment. This woman helped me get judicial bypass, something that the state of Missouri rarely grants. I was finally able to get the abortion. I thought I was about 12 weeks at this point. So my boyfriend and I decided we had to tell someone because now the price had gone way up. So we told his mom. She surprisingly understood and said she would help. We kept it a secret from the rest of his family but she gave us the money and drove me to the clinic. When I got there they determined I was actually 14 weeks. I was very nervous but I figured after all I had been through I had to just go through with it. My family still does not know that I had this second abortion, or the terrible experience I had trying to get it. The laws need to be changed. It is unacceptable that I had to go through so much danger to make a choice about my body.

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