Over the summer, Georgette Forney of Silent No More Awareness wrote in the New York Times:
Experience provides a realistic review of a product or service. We go online to see what previous consumers have to say about everything from hair care products to home improvement contractors. Reviews do not make our minds up for us, but they do help us discern if this product is the one we want.
At the Silent No More Awareness Campaign we voice our experience with abortion. We share our abortion stories at public gatherings and outside abortion clinics, carrying signs that say “I Regret My Abortion.” It’s not an easy thing to do but we have helped women choose life after they hear our stories. We all have different reasons for having chosen abortion but a common theme that runs through our stories is that we may not have made that irrevocable choice if someone who had been through it was there to tell us about their own experience.
New York magazine recently featured stories from 26 post-abortive women. The article begins by discussing how abortion laws vary by state and goes on to say how common abortion is:
And yet abortion is something we tend to be more comfortable discussing as an abstraction; the feelings it provokes are too complicated to face in all their particularities. Which is perhaps why, even in doggedly liberal parts of the country, very few people talk openly about the experience, leaving the reality of abortion, and the emotions that accompany it, a silent witness in our political discourse. Even now, four decades after Roe, some of the women we spoke with would talk only if we didn’t print their real names.
Despite the pro-abortion movement’s attempts to celebrate and normalize abortion, it’s impossible to miss the sadness in these stories. My heart breaks for these women, whose boyfriends pressured them, who were so young, who suffered through terrible physical pain alone, who think about how old their child would be.
These heartbreaking stories of abortion speak for themselves.
The first one is from a 19-year-old in Kentucky whose boyfriend pressured her into having an abortion:
… When I was thirteen weeks, we made an appointment at the closest clinic in Kentucky, four hours away, but the night before, we decided not to go. At two in the morning, he called and said, “Get dressed.” I said, “I don’t want to go.” We both cried the whole way there. I don’t think abortion is killing, but I’d always been against it. When I told him the credit-card scanner at the clinic wasn’t working, he asked if I was making it up. We went to get $1,000 from a gas-station ATM. I was hysterical, and he said, “Okay, you don’t have to go back.” I was so happy. Then he said, “We drove all this way. Stop crying, act like a woman.” I was angry, but I was so sleepy and tired of fighting. When I had the ultrasound, I asked for the picture and a nurse said, “Seriously?” A month later, he said he regretted it too. When I cry about it, I cry alone. He thinks it would make me sad to talk about, but I don’t want our baby to think we forgot. I’ve never heard of anybody else having an abortion here.
A woman named Janet tells of the cold abortion workers she encountered during her abortion:
When I was 18 I was drugged and date raped. I just remember waking up with the guy on top of me with this weird grin. When I found out I was pregnant I just thought: That a**hole. I didn’t think about the baby. I had to save up money, so I had to wait for the very last possible week. My best friend drove me. I was very scared. When I was actually at the facility I thought, Oh my God, there’s a baby inside me. The staff was very matter-of-fact, no kindness. A nurse said, “It looks like it was a girl.”
A young woman named Madeline was pressured into having sex with her boyfriend:
I didn’t think I was ready for sex, but my boyfriend pushed it. Rape feels too strong, but it wasn’t really consensual. I didn’t think about the whole condom thing. I was going to a Catholic high school, and in health class we never talked about sex. The scariest part of the whole experience was not having anyone to share it with. I was in AP classes and couldn’t concentrate. I’d look around and think, No one knows. At night I’d think, What if I wait too long and then suddenly have this baby? I tried to plan out telling my parents, but my mom’s religious views scared me. I read on the Internet that minors can get a judicial bypass, but I was nervous it would take a long time—when I lay down and sucked in, there was a little bump on my tummy. Finally, I got up the courage to tell them. Both my parents took me. It’s a two-day process. I was at twenty weeks, just a few days away from being too late. During the ultrasound, the technician told me how big the head was—it was the most scarring thing. The next day, the procedure took fifteen minutes. I slept for the rest of the day. I was grateful my parents were there. It cost about $2,000, so I definitely couldn’t have done it without them. I feel bad that it was so far along, developed. In my government class, we spent a whole week on abortion. It was awful.
…The doctor was grotesque. He whistled show tunes. I could hear the vacuum sucking out the fetus alongside his whistling. When I hear show tunes now, I shudder. Later, he lost his license. A few months ago, I got pregnant again. My in-laws have been helping us out financially, so we have no choice but to involve them in our decisions. They gave us $500 cash to bring to the clinic. I felt very forced. I felt like I was required to have an abortion to provide for my current family. Money help is a manipulation. I’m crazy in love with my daughters—imagine if I did that to them?
Describing her late-term abortion on her daughter, who would have had severe health problems had she not been aborted, Dana says:
…They did a sonogram to find her heart and injected her with a long needle. I counted four movements, and she was gone. At six in the morning on the day I was supposed to return to the clinic, I felt my water break. I was alone in a hotel bathroom so far away from my home. I wanted to protect my husband. I didn’t let him in. I delivered her intact, sitting on the toilet, and I sat there until the doctor and nurse came and took her away properly.
Many of the accounts mention regret, but this one stood out:
…Afterwards, I felt this mix of regret, relief, gratitude, and I had a new sense of control and determination about my future, like, I’m going to do this and this and this. I tracked the whole pregnancy online, living in fantasies about how big my belly would be…
A woman named Abby describes one abortion as a “nightmare” and another as a horrific ordeal:
…The procedure was in a tiny, bright white room—it was like a nightmare, but it was over really, really quickly. They moved me into this communal healing room. Women were reclining on big, pillowy chairs. I remember feeling comforted, warm—we’d all been through the same experience. Two years ago, I was in Oklahoma. I wasn’t given a choice in method—I got the pill. My boyfriend worked in Idaho—I was alone. They gave me all this paperwork that said, “This is serious. You could die,” and an antibiotic, painkiller, and a latex glove and a pill to shove up my vagina. At home, the antibiotic made me vomit and sh*t everywhere. I thought, F*ck the latex glove! F*ck them for thinking I can’t touch myself! After the contractions started, my hands turned into claws. I was dehydrated. I had this underlying feeling that I was being made to suffer, to repent for my situation. I called my boss. He took me to the ER. It cost $2,000. When I stood up, the bed was covered in blood. I felt ashamed, but the way he reacted with kindness, I saw that I could choose not to feel ashamed. When I went home, I got up to pee, and this gray golf-ball thing came out. I thought, So I just flush the toilet?
As Georgette Forney pointed out, hearing about various abortion experiences helps people discern if abortion is truly what they want. The more abortion is discussed, the less attractive it becomes. These devastating accounts in New York magazine show that women deserve so much better than abortion.