Laura’s Story

I have had two abortions and I am not sorry.

The first, I was 17 and had been in college for one semester. I was living on my own for the first time in my life, working, going to school, and had met a really fun guy. My body doesn’t do well with chemical birth control methods, so I have always relied on condoms. We were slack about it a couple of times, but I didn’t worry about it—I thought I was invincible.

My first sign that I was pregnant was my heightened sense of smell. Then, my breasts started hurting and feeling hot all the time. I didn’t even have to take a test to know—I was definitely pregnant.

Carrying the pregnancy to term was never a thought. I knew that I would have an abortion. I had always been pro-choice, and I always said that even though it wasn’t something I wanted to ever have to do, I would if I got pregnant at the wrong time.

Because the age of consent in my state is 18, I had to call my mom and tell her. She was sad for me, but glad that I had come to the decision to have an abortion on my own. That was when she confided in me for the first time that she, too, had once had an abortion, right before Roe v. Wade was passed. In a way, that was comforting to me.

She drove down the next week for my first appointment at the abortion clinic. In my state, you have to go to “counseling” at least 24 hours prior to the abortion. So, we went to that, paid the $650 fee, watched the video that the state requires you to watch and signed our name about 100 times.

The next day, we drove back for the abortion. There was a lot of waiting. I had to be in a separate waiting room from my mom, and I waited there for about four hours with about 20 other women, of all ages and races. The clinic forbid jackets and books, and they wouldn’t let us eat at all the day of the abortion. I remember breaking the ice with a group I was sitting with by joking about the injustice of making a group of hungry, cold pregnant women sit and watch soap operas on a grainy TV for hours.

When my name was called, I was given an injection of medicine. I don’t remember what exactly it was, but they called it “twilight sedation”. It put me out of this world. It was like having an out of body experience. I don’t remember too much about the abortion itself because the medicine worked so well. The doctor was a man, and he was pretty cold and gruff, but I suppose in that line of work you have to distance yourself. The nurses were all great.

After the abortion was over (which didn’t hurt at all) a nurse led me to the bathroom and helped me put on a pad and my sweatpants, and then sat me down in the recovery room. There were about 10 recliners in there, and they gave us cookies and juice and told us that we did great. I had to sit there half an hour and then I was able to leave with my mom. We went and ate cheeseburgers at Sonic.

All I felt after the abortion was relief. It has been over six years since that first abortion, and I have never once regretted it, had a nightmare about it, nothing.

When I was nearly 21, I gave birth to my amazing son, who was very much wanted and planned for. My husband and I welcomed him into this world at home, with no doctor or midwife present. I think that is one thing the abortion did do to me—it made me become even more private about my body that I was before. Even though I never regretted the abortion, I didn’t like it that I wasn’t in control of the procedure. I really didn’t like it that I was so out of it that I didn’t know much about what was going on. So, that experience led me to have a great natural childbirth in the comfort of my own home.

Now, my son is a year and a half old. He is still breastfeeding, and my period has not returned. I knew there was a possibility that I could be fertile, but I hadn’t seen any signs of my returning fertility, so my husband and I were not careful. A little over a week ago, I realized I was pregnant again.

I have one semester left of college, and I will finally be able to start the career I have dreamed of my entire life. My son is wonderful, but exhausting, and I am not ready for another child. I don’t think I ever want any more children, really. My husband and I talked and quickly agreed that I would have an abortion.

I called a clinic closer to where we now live, and made an appointment. They were wonderful, and made me feel comfortable from the moment they answered the phone.

This time, I opted to do what they referred to as the “medical abortion,” which used to be known as RU-486. I was only 5 weeks pregnant, and I wanted to have the abortion take place in the comfort and privacy of my own home. We both took two days off work and drove the two hours to the clinic. We made a little vacation of it, renting a nice hotel room and seeing the sights when I wasn’t at the clinic.

The clinic experience was much the same as the time before. Signing my name a zillion times, watching the video. This clinic, however, had no problem with jackets or books, and that made the three hour wait (both days) much more bearable. The second day they gave me the first pill, the one that stops the growth of the pregnancy and causes it to detach from the uterus. I felt fine afterward, no bad reactions at all. We went home that night, and I slept just fine knowing it would all be over soon.

The next night, I inserted the pills into my vagina that cause the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy. I took two of the Tylenol3 that were prescribed by the doctor and went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, I had bled in the night (like a heavy period) and it was over. I went to work that morning at 6am and felt fine all day. I am glad that I chose the pill this time, and I would have last time had it been offered. Statistically, it isn’t as safe as a surgical abortion, but it was the right choice for me this time and I am thrilled that it is now an option.

I have no regrets about having this abortion, either. I was not willing to give up my dreams for myself or for my existing child to bring this child into the world. I held a friend’s newborn today, and felt not a single pang of regret. Now that I know my fertility has returned, we will be very careful to avoid me becoming pregnant again. But I take great comfort in knowing that if I do, I have access to a safe and legal abortion. I don’t ever want to have to do it again, but if I have to, I will, and I am not sorry for that, either.