Wanda’s Story

I found I was pregnant after my initial sexual experience. I was 19 years old and a freshman in college, the second after my uncle to attend. After going to the health center for confirmation, I told my doctor that I did not want to have a child. He referred me to a clergyman; I don’t remember the denomination but obviously not Catholic. At the time, abortion was legal in New York, California and Washington DC. I decided on New York, as it was closest. The clergyman gave me a telephone number, an anonymous referral card and instructions. The instructions had the address of the clinic, how much a cab from the airport would cost and the route to be taken and the admonishment not to speak to anyone about the specific reason for the trip. When I told him I had no money (I was a college student), he added a code to the card, which indicated that I would only pay $25. My boyfriend gave me some money and was supposed to bring me more but stayed away in the hope that I would change my mind. Sooo, I had to call the clinic to cancel my appointment as I had no money, they said to come anyway (even now I tear up thinking about it). I told them I had to cancel since I had no way to get there; I was in Indiana. This was such a tense time in my life that I started smoking cigarettes; a habit it took me 25 years to break.

I continued to look for a way to make this happen. Fortunately, before I went on to plan ‘B’, throwing myself down the stairwell, someone told me about a $100 short-term loan that I could get from the university. I bought a student airline pass for $5.00 so I could get a low rate ticket. In January of 1971, I flew to New York. I was the next to the youngest person there, the youngest being 16. I remember a grade school teacher who was pregnant by a married man, the 16-year-old whose mother found out at the last minute and accompanied her and the woman who already had four children (she borrowed money from her brother for the procedure) whose husband said ‘WHAT, AGAIN?’

When I left New York and returned to the university, I had pennies in my purse, I was no longer pregnant and I was absolutely thrilled. I have had no medical or mental problems because of it. I have never regretted it.