Colleen’s Story

I’ll preface my story by stating that I was raised Catholic. I attended Mass every Sunday and attended Catholic schools in Montana. Interestingly enough, although my mom is a practicing Catholic, she’s pro-choice. I’ve always been considered a “good girl.” I was a straight-A student and had a full academic scholarship to an engineering college. I received my bachelor of science in metallurgical engineering degree at age 21 and a half. I became pregnant at age 28 in 1990 while living in Sacramento, CA. Because I wasn’t haven’t frequent sex during this time of my life, I used the contraceptive sponge as my birth control instead of the pill. I had not been seeing the man very long; we were not in a serious relationship. I felt fine during the first few months of my pregnancy. In fact, the only symptom I had was tiredness. My periods were quite irregular, so it wasn’t strange that I had missed a couple. However, I decided to go to a Planned Parenthood Clinic and take a pregnancy test. I can’t remember why I didn’t use an over-the-counter one, but in any event, this is what I did. When the nurse came into the room and told me I was pregnant, I was quite stunned. We calculated the time from my last period, and she told me if I wanted to get an abortion that I better do it very quickly (I was about 8-9 weeks along).

I knew immediately that I would have an abortion. I did not want to be a single mother, nor did I want to carry a baby to term and give it up for adoption. I didn’t even consider the man who impregnated me. He wasn’t in my life at the time, and I did not contact him. I told the nurse I’d like to come in for an abortion as soon as possible. A very good friend of mine named Patti who was originally from Montana lived in Palo Alto at the time. She had had an abortion a year before. Her birth control method had also failed. She was very helpful to me during this time. She took two days off from work and drove to Sacramento to be with me during and after the abortion. Patti has a Master’s degree in nursing and told me she thought it was best for me to not be anesthetized during the procedure, so I didn’t. Everyone at the clinic was great. I didn’t feel much discomfort during the procedure. Afterwards, I bled for a few days but nothing drastic. I was so relieved not to be pregnant any more! I had neither regrets at this time nor any time since. I’ve had no remorse or guilt about it either. It was definitely the right choice for me.

I’m now happily married to a wonderful man. I honestly don’t think this would have been possible if I had a twelve-year-old child. My husband and I are voluntarily childfree. The reason we’re childfree has nothing to do with my past abortion. We both agreed we did not want children before we married. We have a wonderful life pursuing our interests of travel, going to cultural events, and living a life unfettered by the responsibilities of children. I’ve told my husband about my abortion. He’s pro choice and has been very supportive. I’ll always defend and support a woman’s right to choose. I give charitable donations annually to Planned Parenthood and always know a political candidate’s record on abortion rights.