Michelle’s Story

I was 18 in 1983 when I met my future husband. I came from a strict Catholic family, so I had no experience with sex, other than doing things that would not result in pregnancy.

My boyfriend at the time was a man I would marry, he was my first time, and that was all it took. I had already left college, and was living on my own, as my father was abusive, and he was paying for school. I made a choice and started out on my own. It was incredibly hard, but worth it. I never looked back.

I didn’t want to tell my boyfriend I was pregnant, as we did not live in the same city and though I loved him, the relationship wasn’t the most committed on his part. (I didn’t know at the time I would later marry him)

I went to Planned Parenthood, and got the news I already knew. While abortion was legal, it was a small town and it was still a taboo subject. I was scared beyond belief that they wouldn’t do it, and I had no where to go with all that.

I was put through a battery of people detailing my choices. I didn’t expect to meet any pro-lifers there, but one woman said she didn’t believe in Planned Parenthood and always made sure to tell women that she thought it was a mortal sin, and they should rethink their decision to kill their unborn children. It shook me up, but I knew as a 22-year-old cocktail waitress, with no other tangible support, there really was no other choice for me. I had no desire to bring a child into an already overpopulated world and also not have access to the things that a child needs to thrive.

Planned Parenthood sent me to a women’s center on the edge of town, a beige and homely building set off the highway. The staff were efficient and nice, the waiting room tense and sad. I struck up a conversation with another girl; she was in the same place I was, so we chatted until she went in. I was next, and was put in a small room with no windows. That’s when I started to hear the screams from the room next door. It was the girl I had talked to. It was horrible. A few minutes later the doctor came to me. He was dressed in greens, but had a large gold chain and gold bracelets; he looked like he was right from Hollywood Central Casting. He proceeded to tell me that I was 10 weeks, right at the cut off that he didn’t have to do it. I begged him to perform the procedure. It was humiliating, but He did it.

I couldn’t afford a full anesthetic, and the pain was bad, but I got through it.

I was escorted to a waiting room full of recliners and given water. When I felt better, at least good enough to walk, I took the bus home. I told my boyfriend a few months later. He said it wasn’t just my choice, and that he had a say as well. I just didn’t feel like he did, we weren’t married yet and he was still living with his parents. We never spoke of it again, but it was always there between us. We stayed married a total of 3 years, I can’t imagine a child would have helped and then, I’d have been on my own again, this time responsible for another life.

I actually tried without success to be sterilized in my mid-twenties, but of course no one would do that. I always knew somehow I just didn’t want children. Even though we have the choice to end a pregnancy, not wanting them is almost a bigger stigma to contend with. I have never regretted my decision and later was diagnosed with massive Fibroid Tumors, which my doctor said would have blocked any pregnancy. I have friends with children who I love dearly, but I am and have always been at peace and given the circumstances I’d do it all again. I have helped 2 of my friends through he same thing, there is no reason that a woman should not have a choice in this matter, and I will continue to fight for abortion to be safe and legal for every woman.