Vanessa’s Story

I am a second-year mathematics student at a state university who had an abortion on October 25. My live-in boyfriend and I have decided that, until he finishes graduate school and I complete at least my undergraduate degree, we are going to hold off on having children. After my abortion, besides relief, I felt angry, because it was not traumatic, not painful, and not difficult. I felt I had been lied to.

My partner and I are both Mexican-American, and we were brought up with anti-abortion sentiment through the Catholic church—horrible and medically inaccurate descriptions of procedures, heartwrenching stories of problematic abortions, and rallies in front of churches and family-planning clinics. We were taught that abortion is a terrible thing.

But I was not ready to have a child as an unmarried student with plans for graduate school. We discussed what to do when I found out I was pregnant with a home test, and my boyfriend said that he would leave school if I wanted to keep the baby. After a long talk, we decided that we would have children in a few years, but not yet.

We made an appointment at a family-planning center, and I had a sonogram. I was still only about 5 weeks pregnant (meaning practically nothing could be seen), so we decided to wait a week, since it was more likely to be successful at 6 weeks. I was so nervous. I read everything I could online about surgical abortion. Historically, I’ve been known to be afraid of needles and get sick at the thought of blood, so I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

The day came sooner than I expected. The sonogram was a better conformation of my pregnancy this time (though I still couldn’t see anything). Immediately after we decided to continue, the doctor stuck me with a small needle and sedated me intravenously. He joked that I was being given the “drama queen dose”, because I had told him how nervous I was. I was immediately calmer.

The rest of the procedure was easy. He told me I would feel slight pressure as they prepared me, and there was. Then a few minutes later he said, “I’m going to give you, a local anesthetic, so brace yourself!” I tensed. He smiled. “Just kidding, I already did it.”

The procedure was so short I was shocked, and I felt no pain at all. I had to ask if that was really all. I was dazed from the medication, and the doctor shook my hand as the nurse escorted me to the waiting room where my boyfriend was sitting anxiously. I was given a bag of pills to take and instructions to take it easy for a couple of days.

My only major reaction was disbelief at how many lies are told to the women of the world to scare them away from a choice that could affect their future so dearly. I wish I could tell everyone how, even for a nervous person like myself, abortion is an option that will allow you to plan your life and have children only when you are ready to be a mother. I am glad that I was able to have an abortion, and plan to be active from now on in protecting reproductive rights for other women.