If you go to the Planned Parenthood website, it tells you that abortion is a safe and legal procedure to choose. It is in bold and its message is clear.
My message is equally clear. Here is my story and I know that I am not alone and I will be sharing with you how I am one of the “silent voices.”
The building was so elusive. I really remember that feeling as our Mustang rolled up into the parking lot. They had coached us on dates and times to show up to avoid protesters, so of course I wouldn’t change my mind. Ignorance is the only way that a person can choose to do this, unless you are also under the influence of course. I wasn’t under the influence, I was just dumb, eighteen and apparently too lazy/stupid to research stories.
The “father of the child” came in with me and we were very nervous of course. They told us that I would be counseled for a certain amount of time so I could choose to back out if I wanted to. The counseling of course was one-sided and made sure that I knew that what I was doing was really smart and the only real choice to be making. I watched the faces of the women in the other chairs staring blankly at the floor, wall, anything but the small belly that was starting to show.
They made sure to put much emphasis, like the website states that this is a very common thing and nothing to be ashamed of. I had a lot to be ashamed of honestly. I had carelessly engaged in unprotected sex despite being educated and knowing better. I simply just chose to be reckless with my life and now the unborn life that was growing inside of my body. I knew that but I couldn’t face myself and what I’d done.
I believed the indoctrination I’d been told by many, mostly public schooling “sexual education.” I really believed what these people were telling me despite the fact my heart felt so heavy and I felt something deep and powerful inside of me telling me I was wrong.
I honestly had the contemplation in my mind of leaving (many times), but I was afraid before I got there and I was more afraid after the counseling. I felt and was told that I’d let my baby down, my family down, they expected me to walk out with a new life, clean from my mistakes. So I sat there in fear, paralyzed. And yes, I would like to state they don’t hold you prisoner or make you stay, it is your “choice” but a very uninformed one/one-sided one.
We paid our fees of course upon entry and the staff appeared friendly and helpful throughout the whole process. I felt so safe (at first and during the call to make the appointment) like I could really trust them. They felt like family, almost. Little did I know it was all a lie.
We were counseled in Columbia, SC on how I would be given a medication but not go all the way under as it was not the “knock you out procedure.” I was just given Valium. We were told I would feel mild cramping and that I would have a heavier than usual period. It all made sense given the circumstances – I questioned nothing. I’ve since learned, the hard way, that this is one of the biggest mistakes one can make in life. Question EVERYTHING!
All of us getting abortions were given the Valium at the same time. And they started calling us back one by one. I had no knowledge of course of what Valium even was, never even heard the name before. Honestly, I don’t even think they told us what it was other than it was a sedative. They had us sign a lot of papers quickly prior to the procedure and administering of medication. I was almost the last person in line. I didn’t see the other women come back. But I digress, there was other exams that were done prior to this administration of medications.
They do a physical exam and an ultrasound of the baby. I honestly can say I felt its presence more than ever before, as they performed the ultrasound. It really made me curious, what did it look like? Me, him? Was it a girl, a boy? I imagined its little eyes, hands, feet… So I asked the technician if I could see the baby, and she quickly told me no. I asked why I wasn’t able to see my baby and she told me that it was because people were likely to change their mind.
Now as an almost 30-year-old woman and a mother of a 9-year-old boy, that was time to run. I didn’t get it. I felt like something was wrong but figured that I had to fix this “shame,” everyone does this, it is safe, acceptable, preferred and my family was pressuring me to do this. And back then I really let them run my life – so I stayed. They took pictures, hid the screen and pictures from me, and fled the room. This is when I was whisked away to sign the papers and get the Rx.
Now it was my turn, they called my name and back I went. I started to worry because the effects of the medication did not seem as strong as they had initially been. I mentioned this to the nurse (who probably was an LPN) and she told me I was fine, not to worry and rushed me back to the room. I asked again if I could have more medication or something else and that I even would pay extra. I was told no, they had nothing else and could only give me the one pill.
Fear had started to kick in. No, no and no. To the table we went. It was old, brown and the room seemed not very sterile honestly looking back. The room had a weird metal window that I didn’t notice until later, a curtain hung poorly from the wall to the floor – where you get dressed and undressed.
The doctor who I’d not even seen or known his name walked in. Looked at my chart and started to mess with things. He did a very rough exam of my body, it became clear to me at this point that the medication was NOT working anymore. This was also despite the cervix shot they give you to supposedly numb the area, trust me when I say this made little to no difference pain wise (or so it seemed considering what they were doing) or consequence wise.
I expressed my concerns to the doctor but he wouldn’t look at me or talk to me. He acted as though I said nothing or that I wasn’t even there. There was no HIPPA stuff, there was no verifying my name or DOB, nothing like that. Next thing I know I felt the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I heard the sounds of a vacuum, it seemed. Honestly I thought we were doing the D and C so when I hear suctioning I was a bit surprised. The doctor smiled at me in the creepiest of ways as I (literally) screamed in pain as he sucked the life, literally out of my body.
The “nurses” held my extremities down on the table as I writhed in pain and covered my mouth as I screamed in agony. They told me things like to shut up, it was almost over, stuff like that. I honestly cannot quote exactly as I am unable to remember exactly what was said since it was a while ago that this happened, but you get the point. It was over quickly as they promised. They made sure to hold the glass jar in front of my face with my once living, baby in front of my face as they passed it through some window for disposal, I assume.
My whole body was in shakes, I couldn’t think at all, I couldn’t even dress myself I was in so much pain. I now know my body was in shock as was I in emotional trauma. The nurses that were once so counseling and nice were now mean. “Hurry up and put on this pad and your clothes, hurry up we have other people behind you. You aren’t the only one you know”. I muttered if they could please help me with my panties as I couldn’t stand. She grunted, sighed, roughly assisted me to get dressed and escorted me to the “recovery room”. It was full of other women who seemed so sad it made me want to vomit. They were just as damned as I was now. We had all felt this, I knew that without saying a word. It was on all of their faces. Not one woman looked happy. I wondered what had led them there, some were so smart looking, some seemed rich, and some seemed lost like me.
We got some antibiotics and after care information before sitting there for the required time for monitoring. Then, out the door we went to the people who drove us there. I was still in a lot of pain, and now, completely void inside – my baby was gone. I honestly didn’t know if I could live with myself. As I walked out in the waiting room I found my boyfriend in tears telling me that he’d gone outside to smoke a cigarette while he was waiting for me. He told me that he had met a wonderful man outside, who was a protester and that told him the truth of what was going to happen to me and our baby. He freaked and ran inside and begged them to get me out, they told him it was too late the procedure had already happened. It was a lie, the times didn’t match. They lied to us.
We were shocked, hurt, traumatized and we’d been lied to the whole time. From day one until the moment we walked out the door. The consequences of what could and would happen to me were never discussed. They also failed to tell me (and I was too dumb and internet was more scarce in the home to have been told that my child’s heart had already been beating at that point).
They made it sound like this little cell, blob, in-human object that was just there for removal. Nothing to love or nothing relatable. All lies. I know now that people have much more access to information then back then even, I know that stories have gotten out due to the web and doctors finally speaking up to help people make REAL informed choices now. I acknowledge this but there is more to this story.
I held this shame, secret, guilt and horror for a while. My mother knew and my boyfriend knew. We swore we’d never do that again, ever. We’d face whatever consequences that came from our encounters in the future but that was just not an option for us. The level of depression I felt was indescribable. Literally, I had no idea I was even depressed let alone how to handle it. I felt alone. I would also like to add that I tell this not to be a sob story to feel sorry for me – I want no sympathy at all. I do not expect it, I do feel that for my baby. I feel sorry, I feel sick and I feel ashamed. That is why I tell this, because I didn’t save or adopt my child, I chose murder and I tell this so others hopefully won’t do what I did. I want someone, hopefully to learn from my mistakes.
I was blessed in February of 2001 and found out in March of 2001 that I was expecting my precious child I have now in my life. I don’t remember how it came up but I shared my story with my OBGYN and she had previously worked at Planned Parenthood as she was taught to be a “feminist of choice” and how wondrous abortion and Planned Parenthood was (and facilities of the like). She worked there until she saw what happened to me, happening to other women. A LOT of of other women.
She quit and went into the business of saving babies lives and helping counsel her patients on the joy of being a parent and the joy of life. She was truly a blessing to me and her sharing that story with me made me feel less alone. She truly gave me the affirmation that I was not crazy or I was not the only one this happened to. She helped me in more ways than I can ever thank her for or express in words.
She shared with me that the doctors got kicks out of hurting the women and that they deserved some level of pain and punishment for what they were doing. I am sure that this does not happen at every facility, but it does happen a lot more than I am sure anyone has ever heard of. She was not shocked at anything I told her and she had seen it all first hand before. I was just another number, another statistic of the silent voice of Planned Parenthood and abortion.
I share this painful tale with you because if I can stop one woman from the ignorant information that is out there about abortion being a viable choice, it was worth the pain I’ve had to share to save one life. It was truly this experience that turned me around politically and what was really worth fighting for. Life. I hope my story inspires you in many ways, I hope that it is passed to someone who is faced with the difficult choice of pregnancy unprepared and to have all the information BEFORE hand. So my vote is simple, Pro-Life forever and always.
* I would also like to add that I did not focus on the topic of what happens to the unborn child, my baby and others babies lost in this tragic way. Because we all know the answer to that, it is obvious, sick and sad. I just wanted to clarify why I didn’t discuss on that as it is obvious at this point but no less important or not that it was not worth mentioning. I think about it all the time. That child is never far from my mind or my heart. So please understand that I write this story to reach out woman-to-woman as I felt it would reach more than focusing on the “cell or the fetus” as a lot of people tend to dehumanize the children. *