Pria’s Story

I had an abortion using RU-486, the “abortion pill,” when I was 23. I’m bisexual, and had always practiced safer sex with both men and women and used contraception with men. I had been dating the same guy for two years, was in a monogamous relationship with him, both of us had tested negative for HIV, and we were using condoms. Sometimes we forgot to buy new condoms and were too lazy late at night to go out and buy any, so we would just avoid having vaginal intercourse at those times. However, about two or three times, we had unprotected intercourse anyway. The only times we took this risk I was either having my period or had just had my period, and therefore the chances of getting pregnant were relatively low for someone with very regular periods like me. So I guess you could say we occasionally resorted to the “rhythm method,” but only two or three times. That carelessness was not worth it because I got pregnant after having unprotected sex just a day after my period ended.

I remember knowing even before I took the pregnancy test, which was just five days after my missed period, that I was pregnant. This is because even that early on in the pregnancy I could feel its effects, and they were terrible. My breasts were retaining a lot of water and hurt, and I was constantly exhausted. I could barely walk up a flight of stairs, despite being very fit otherwise. When I took the pregnancy test and we saw that I was pregnant, I started to cry, but only for a few minutes. I knew that having a baby at that time in my life would be an extremely irresponsible thing to do, and I had no qualms about having an abortion. I didn’t believe that what I was carrying was a life before I got pregnant, and I didn’t believe it after I got pregnant. It didn’t feel like a life was growing inside me; it felt like a parasite was making me sick. That may sound cold to some people, but I don’t hate babies; in fact, I generally like them, and I wouldn’t call a baby a parasite. However, at its earlier stages, a fetus is not a baby. I think it was a lot more like a parasite than like a human child.

The experience of using RU-486 was okay, and I used it when I was exactly five and a half weeks pregnant. I went to Planned Parenthood, and I swallowed the first pill there in the clinic. Then a few days later I took the second set of pills at home, which induce the cramping. The doctor from Planned Parenthood called me on the day I induced the cramping at home to make sure everything was fine, and it was. I did begin bleeding and cramping earlier than expected—a day before I took the cramp inducing pills—but it was only a little uncomfortable. I was even able to go to a movie. The day I took the cramp inducing pills it was really gross because there was so much blood—much more than a heavy period—but that’s not the worst thing in the world. The cramps were very strong, but on the advice of the doctor, I took about 800 milligrams of ibuprofen every four hours, and while that wasn’t enough to completely cure them, that was enough to make them tolerable: like having a really bad day of menstrual cramps. I just watched rented videos all day, took naps in bed, and had my boyfriend, who was very supportive and is also very pro-choice, take care of me, but I would have been okay even if I had been home all by myself.

At one point when I was on the toilet changing my sanitary napkin, something the size of my pinky toe dropped into the toilet. It was very distinguishable from the rest of the blood, and I’m pretty sure it was probably the fetus, if you could even call something a fetus at that stage. I flushed the toilet, and I do admit that this felt weird. However, honestly, seeing that it was just a shapeless and very small clump just reaffirmed what I already knew—I was not killing off anything more significant as a life form than a mosquito, if that. I continued to bleed an amount similar to a menstrual period for about ten days after the actual abortion. About a week after the abortion I had an appointment back at Planned Parenthood to ensure everything had successfully been flushed out, which they just checked using an ultrasound, and then I was done.

A few weeks after I had the abortion, I felt somewhat sad and guilty for a couple days, and cried pretty hard a couple times. It’s hard to explain why, because I certainly didn’t feel I had done anything wrong, and I absolutely didn’t regret the decision, still did not want to have a child, etc. It felt as if the hormonal fluctuations I had experienced were actually inducing a sort of chemical depression, perhaps something akin to postpartum depression. Within a month, I felt no sadness at all, and I’m pretty sure that this early sadness was purely hormonal. So, I would say to women reading this who have an abortion and are surprised to find themselves feeling sad, don’t assume that the sadness is really reflective of your long term thoughts and emotions about it. You don’t necessarily have to be sad or have any regret about what you did, so if you are feeling sad or guilty and this is unexpected, I’d try just giving it a little time at first, maybe a week, to see if that helps. It did for me.

Having an abortion was indeed the best thing for me, and the life any child I had at the time would have been a disaster, so it’s a good thing I didn’t have one then. First, I was in the middle of law school, and even carrying a pregnancy to full term, much less keeping any baby I had, would have made it imposisble for me to be as successful in law school as I was. As it turned out, I was extremely successful in law school after that abortion, and my success has allowed me to devote my career to doing good for others. So, that success has been good not just for me, but for society. Having an abortion “for my own good” was not selfish because it allowed me to do something productive and unselfish for other people, rather than spending my time being pregnant and/or raising a baby—activities that bring parents a lot more happiness than they do other people. Second, I would have been a terrible parent at that time, so if I had had a baby and tried to raise it, that would have been a complete disaster for the child. Finally, if I had attempted to find adoptive parents for any baby I had, I would have had a very difficult time finding good ones because I’m not white and neither is my boyfriend, so the baby would have been really low on the totem pole at adoption agencies. In sum, I had a generally positive experience with abortion and I don’t regret it at all.