Greta’s Story

I found out I was pregnant on New Year’s Eve. The week before I was visiting friends in San Francisco for Christmas when it occurred to me. My period was late, I had been having unprotected sex with the guy I was dating… pregnancy was a definite possibility. Unfortunately it was also one that I couldn’t afford. I had graduated from college that summer and moved out to Seattle where I finally found a job only a month before. Having the baby wasn’t an option for me, but even the cost of an abortion would send me packing my bags and heading home to Mom and Dad just when I had finally begun to live independently. I was disappointed in myself- I had fucked up royally. The man I was seeing offered no support, financially or emotionally. He was a marginally employed heroin user who alternated between imploring me to have the child and not speaking to me.

I did find support from my friends, the clinic staff, and surprisingly enough, the government. The great state of Washington I moved to provides emergency medical assistance to women seeking abortion if their income doesn’t cover the cost. I was elated the day I was approved for coverage. All my liberal arts education-instilled doubts were momentarily quashed. In some instances, the government does provide for the people.

The day I went to the clinic for my abortion, the doctor informed me that it was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Under the influence of the narcotics they gave me, I watched thin red cardboard ballerinas spin around a black ogre in the mobile hanging above my head. As the procedure was performed, basking in the supportiveness of the female nurses, I felt I was acting in synch with a grand tradition of women before me.

I went home and my college roommate, who had an abortion of her own a year before, brought over food and stayed with me as I rested. That night as I lay in bed, I thought, “I am finally alone,” without my lover, without the looming presence of a child in my womb. And I knew it was right. I slept.