Sandy’s Story

In 1972 I was 27 years old and married. The following year I had my 4th child. My marriage was not a happy one-my husband was a drunk and beat on me since we were married in 1964. We got married 10 months after I graduated. The abuse started when we were dating and being so young I thought nothing of it. I guess I thought I deserved it. Which I realized later was what every woman that was in my position thought. My husband was not home much because he worked second shift and I was alone a lot with my children. My girlfriend invited me to go out with her and I did. We went to a local bar for a drink and just to hang out. I never got out much so when this guy came over and started to talk to me I was surprised. He asked me for my phone number and I gave it to him not thinking anything of it. The next day he called and I met him for drinks and we just started to go out. My husband never knew as he was wrapped up in his own life.

We went out several times and I got pregnant. I was so happy and when I told the guy he said “oh.” That was not the answer I was looking for I thought he would be so happy but he was not. About a month later I told my husband. He got really mad and told me there was no way that he would except another man’s child. He also told me that I had no choice, I had to have an abortion. I was devastated. I love children and thought I did nothing about finding a place for me to go things would be better. It was not. He badgered and beat me and did everything he could to make me find a place. I called my girlfriend and she said she knew of a place in California that would give me information. I called them and they said I could go to New York City. There was a hospital in Harlem that performed abortions. So, after I found out the information I tried to put it off as long as I could, hoping that it would be to late for me to go. Unfortunately it did not work. He called and made me an appointment. I was very angry and told him he had no right. He said I belonged to him and I would do what I was told and shut up. You probably think “she should leave ” It was not that easy, this was before woman had rights and help to go to. I told the man I was seeing that I was going to get an abortion and he said “you do what you have to do”. I was devastated.

My husband and I got on a plane for New York and went to the hospital in Harlem. It was a clean place. The doctors and nurses were very nice. Unfortunately I was almost 5 months pregnant and thought I was too far along for the procedure. I was not; the doctor that examined me told me that I could have it. I went to counseling there with 4 other women. We were taken to a hospital room. The room was small. A doctor came in and inserted a needle into my abdomen and put saline solution in there. I was told that within 24 hours I would give birth. The next day I was having bad cramps and went into the bathroom and gave birth. I did not look into the toilet and did not want to see. Do I regret having the abortion? NO, I do not. It was the best thing I did, although I wish I would have had done it right away. Although it has been 37 years I feel that every woman has a right to choose. No matter what.