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Category Archives: Pregnancy Scare

Men and Abortion

I have a lot of conversations with people on their feelings of abortion. Even at the ProLife rally we’d attended, there was a pamphlet asking about men and abortion. Yet, many people don’t go back and ask, “How did YOU feel when your significant other had an abortion?”

I think this is an important piece of the story. Where was your partner? How did he react to the pregnancy? For many men, they become just as shaken up as their partner who is pregnant.

I’ve met men who called their girlfriend a murderer after she’d had an abortion. I’ve met men who held their girlfriend’s hand in the waiting room and escorted them out. I’ve known men who’ve bailed on their partner. I’ve known men who supported the pregnancy and are now proud fathers. I’ve also known men who find out in the aftermath that their significant other was pregnant and sought an abortion. His response? “I wasn’t mad or upset that she’d had an abortion. I was upset by the fact that I wasn’t involved. I wasn’t allowed to support her. I wasn’t involved in the decision. I would have wanted to be.” This happened to this man not once, but twice.

Here at AbortionChat, we encourage healthy conversations. We encourage having a Pregnancy Plan and being prepared for if your test turns positive. We also encourage you to sit down with your partner and ask, “What are WE doing to do if WE get pregnant?”

After you do that, let us know. We want to share your story here.

Betrayed By Your Body

People tell you your whole life how great of a thing your body is. They tell you to eat right so everything can work right. They tell you to take care of it, because it’s the only one you have.

But they don’t tell you what to do when your body betrays you.

Most girls begin menstruating by the time they reach eighth grade. Around that time, most are subjected to “Always Changing” videos about how they should take care of their bodies, and just because a period means that your body is capable of having sex and therefore creating a child, you may not be ready for it. They tell girls about choices; do you want to use pads or tampons? They explain the risks and things like Toxic Shock Syndrome. It is one of the first decisions a girl makes in what makes her comfortable with herself.

After awhile, as a female, you become accustom to “Aunt Flow” visiting once a month. You learn to wear dark pants for a week, carry extra pants/pads/tampons in your car/backpack/locker. You learn to hide the fact you’ve just bled through your pants onto your chair in chemistry. You learn to adjust to your cycle, because there is nothing else you can do.

Typically, your body becomes like clockwork. Some are so in-tune with their bodies they can tell you down to the day when their period will start.

Until it doesn’t start.

You can be as proactive as you like. You can use all the contraception in the world, and it can still fail.

So what then?

What do you tell a girl who’s known her body well enough to predict her cycles? The girl that’s always eaten the right foods to keep her body running properly. And the girl, who because she took care of herself, got pregnant. It doesn’t matter how; a night of passion, a one night stand, rape, whatever. She trusted her body. She took care of her body, and suddenly, she’s staring at a test that’s reading positive.

How does this question change when the girl is twelve years old? Seventeen? Thirty-six? Is there an age degree where one abortion is more acceptable than another? Why is that?

What about the circumstances? A one night stand verses a night of romantic passion verses a rape? Is one unwanted pregnancy like another?

School systems support taking care of your body. Physical education tells you to stay active. Health class, especially, teaches you to eat right, stay active, stay healthy. But the problem is, if you take care of yourself, your biology takes over. Women can get pregnant.

And if you don’t want to be pregnant, it can be like your body has just betrayed you. The thing you’ve taken care of all your life, the thing you thought you’d made some unspoken agreement to, has ulterior motives. In that moment where the tests turns pink, turns into a plus sign, turns into ugly black letters that read PREGNANT, your life changes.

To me, part of supporting a healthy body is supporting a healthy mind. You’re taught, literally, your entire life to take care of yourself.

Shouldn’t part of taking care of yourself consist of the ability to choose what is right for your body and your life?

My Crisis at the CPC by Cynthia Di Angelo

New location of the CPC. They’ve moved in directly next door to the actual clinic. They have been confusing women into missing their appointments at the clinic next door by having misleading signs. I was told by some of the clinic escorts they will offer women thinking they are at the clinic food when they walk in, so when they realize they are in the wrong place they can’t go next door and have their procedure

A few years ago, I made the decision to return to school and found myself living on my own in Kentucky. Most of my life had to be financed with student loans and the small wage I made at my job. I had left a very good job to return to school, but paying for the COBRA plan was out of the question. I had done well in taxes the year before so Medicaid was out of the question. I have a pre-existing condition so buying a health insurance policy was not in my price range.

Another Crisis Pregnancy Center

During this time, I hadn’t gotten a period in about 4 months. I hadn’t been sexually active for at least 6 months. I knew I should start by getting a pregnancy test before assuming anything, so I stopped at what I assumed was a free health clinic. The sign out front read “A Women’s Choice: A Free Special Health Clinic” and advertised free and confidential pregnancy testing.

The clinic I walked in to was small, and had posters and propaganda for finding Christianity. This should have been my first clue. A majority of the healthcare in Kentucky is affiliated with the Catholic and Baptist faiths so having religious affiliation didn’t raise any concern. A volunteer greeted me, and told me about their free testing and ultrasound capabilities for diagnosing pregnancies. Why was I not to think this was a healthcare facility? I went to the bathroom with my test, given to me by either a volunteer or employee. No way to tell. 

It was negative.

Next I was waiting in what seemed like it was an exam room, sitting on a chair next to the ultrasound machine. I assumed a doctor or nurse would be there. Nope. A volunteer with brochures about salvation came in to counsel me about my negative test. I was confused and scared, and still without any explanation to why I was having medical issues.

The volunteer said, “You are just lucky all of your sinning hasn’t caught up with you yet. While you aren’t pregnant, how do you know you haven’t been infected with HIV, and have been infecting others? You have to walk away from how you have been living your life, hand yourself over to Jesus, and beg for forgiveness for what has lead you to us today”… My mind drifted off as she scolded me, and I began to worry about my health even more. She asked if I had any questions and I mentioned I have an auto immune disorder that could be the root of my health problem. The volunteer obviously wasn’t a healthcare professional, I was told about a place that was hiring locally that had great benefits. She reached for my hand and asked me to pray with her. Again, my mind drifted away and I found myself just looking at the floor, thinking about the physical pain I was in.

The Crisis Pregnancy Center

Many people see no harm in the Crisis Pregnancy Center. However, I can’t be the only person who has confused one of the Crisis Pregnancy Centers as healthcare. Emergency mental health centers are often called “Crisis Centers”. If they were called an adoption recruitment center, or a chapel then I would have no reason to be complaining that I had showed up seeking medical assistance.

To promote itself as a medical resource is just irresponsible. The poor who have little access to quality healthcare are the most likely to have this confusion. Any number of medical emergencies could present themselves as a women being confused she is pregnant. How would they diagnose a situation requiring immediate care from a doctor such as an ectopic or high risk pregnancy? Substituting the care of doctors, nurses or midwives for religious guidance does nothing to serve the community. 
In my case, I ended up in the ER a few weeks later. I had a week long hospital stay for my auto immune disease. I can’t help to think this situation could have been much easier for me if only I had found actual healthcare, not a religious organization posing as a clinic.

Cynthia Di Angelo has been battling Crohn’s disease for over 20 years. A native New Yorker, but somehow wound up living in Kentuckybefore ending up in Philadelphia. She has a three year old daughter and is an adult adoptee.

Thursday’s Child by Jacqueline Mitchell

Warning: Content may have triggers for some

Do you remember this rhyme?

Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

Thursday’s child has far to go,

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for it’s living,

But the child that’s born on the Sabbath Day,

Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
Me at 1 year old with my great grandmother
First some context: I was born on a Thursday in August of 1961. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the 22nd of November, 1963. What does the birth of an unremarked and unremarkable girl child have to do with the death of a sitting president? Just this: I remember the day he died, young as I was. I remember my mother and older brother sitting in front of a black and white television, crying; the television showed an airplane sitting alone on a tarmac. It is a remarkably clear memory for one slightly over two years old, but it isn’t my first memory. No, my first memory is of two much older male relatives performing sexual acts on me. Let me make this absolutely clear, since some of the folk who will read this know me personally: it was not my father, stepfather, brother or stepbrothers and the perpetrators are long dead and gone, past hurting another child. The degree of consanguinity, however, was close enough to make the betrayal of trust horrific.

I will not go into details about the abuse; it is unnecessary and not pertinent to the point of this article; nonetheless I will point out that unprotected, penetrative sex…no, lets call it what it really was, rape, abusively incestuous rape… began at an early age. At first the things which frightened me were the extreme pain, the humiliation, the feeling of beingdirty and the guilt. I’ve yet to speak with a survivor who didn’t feel guilt in some proportion at some point in their lives…it’s what children do; assuming they are the centre of the world and are thus guilty if anything goes wrong. Later, and not much later at that, I found a whole new world of fear. I was an early developer, so my menstrual cycles began at a young age, and other signs of my developing body burgeoned, literally. At age 14 I had to have breast reduction surgery.

Me at about 2 years old
My mother, bless her heart, tried to explain the birds and bees to me when my cycles began … unusual in that place and time … and I quickly grasped the pertinent information with a feeling of horror. I could get pregnant from what was being done to me.

I make no claims of having any deep understanding of what that meant, at least at first, other than the self-centred notion that everyone would know what a bad, dirty, nasty girl I was; it was bad enough, in my eyes, that I and my abusers knew. Later, however, it began to penetrate that it would be bad for more than just me ….

How could I … young and defenseless as I was, keep or raise a child (especially if it was a girl) knowing that it could be hurt in the same ways I was, and I would be helpless to protect it? I couldn’t even protect myself at that age! How could I give it up for adoption knowing that, even then, adopted children were beginning to successfully seek out their birth parents? How could I curse a child by telling it how it was conceived, and how could I look at it without hate if it found me?

I can’t tell you exactly when I realized that if I got pregnant I would either have an abortion, or kill myself but I do know it was around the age of twelve. A friend of the family had gotten ‘into trouble’ and gave the child up for adoption, and when the child got a bit older he began wanting to meet his birth mother so that wasn’t an option. It didn’t take me long, even in those pre-internet days, to realise I’d have to have parental permission for an abortion, and that it wasn’t likely to be forthcoming at my age and in my rural community, especially as I was determined that no one would ever know by whom I’d gotten pregnant. If, indeed, I got pregnant. Suicide, then, if I couldn’t get an abortion. Between the ages of 12 and 14, when I finally succeeded in stopping the abuse… in large part because of the aforementioned breast reduction surgery ( I was watched closely whilst healing so I wouldn’t rip the scars open…limiting access to me…and having known a brief time of freedom from the abuse, I gathered the courage to threaten my primary abuser with exposure, including contacting the police, if he didn’t leave me alone. I was terrified to confront him but I did it anyway.)

Me at about 10-11 years old

I thought about every form of suicide I knew of, and was frightened by thoughts of pain, death, and going to hell …. hell being the one thing I was fairly certain of. My cycles were always irregular, often late and sometimes skipping a month or more altogether, so the fear that I might have been impregnated was always intense, always present.

I’ve often heard or read the argument, regarding rape and/or incest, that it isn’t the baby’s fault – and it isn’t. However, I was practically a baby when the abuse began and it wasn’t my fault either. Looking back, I don’t fault myself for my decision to end a pregnancy engendered by incestuous rape in whatever way I could. It was even a loving thought, in it’s way, because I would never want a child to know that was how it was conceived. Well, at least as loving as my terrified 12 year old self could be. I am grateful I never had to enforce that decision and am well aware that, although it was the decision I’d made in advance, it could well not be the right decision for someone else. I applaud those who are able to keep and love children begun in such horrific circumstances, but I equally applaud and support those who have chosen otherwise. I very much feel we ~must~ be able to choose what is right for us to do, and that the only right thing is to support one another to the best of our ability. I firmly believe that to force anyone to carry a child conceived by incest or rape is a second rape, a rape of the soul; and that forcing a baby to have a baby tells the brutalised child quite graphically that they are worthless, and unworthy of protection. On the other hand, I am as fiercely against forced or coerced abortion as I am against it’s opposite. Choice is all, and it is my privilege to advocate for everyone’s right to choose the right path for themselves.

My beautiful daughter and I
Speaking of choices: several years later, as an adult, I did become pregnant. The circumstances weren’t easy and many courses of action were urged on me, including abortion.

I chose not to abort.
Why? Difficult circumstances were not enough reason for me to give up a miracle. The damage done to my body during the years I was sexually abused should have made it impossible to conceive or carry a child, and I was not going to turn my back on such a gift. Difficult was not the same as the horror of carrying and bearing a helpless child born of incestuous rape as no more than a child myself, not for me, and I knew that this was the baby I was meant to have and raise. I have no right to expect anyone else to live by my reasoning, nor do I know the wounds, horrors, or challenges another faces. None of us do. It is not given to us to judge one another, but to be patient and kind. To judge one another is neither.

My beautiful daughter, who is a Monday’s child by the by, just graduated from university; bringing her into the world and raising her during her early childhood, as a single mother, was not easy and I was not a perfect mother, but it is one of the best choices I ever made. Yes, Thursday’s child had far to go…but I’m getting there.

Jacqueline Mitchell is a grouchy, opinionated old gal with a penchant for popcorn and a more than slightly warped sense of humour. A ‘Jill of all Trades’, from being veep of an asbestos abatement monitoring laboratory to cake decorator, she is happily married to the Great Scot, mother and step-mother to one daughter, two stepsons, and three furry barkers.

What It’s Like to be ‘Late’ by Jennifer Martin

Photo Credit:
Lynn(e) Schmidt

Sometimes I don’t do the dishes for weeks. I work three days a week to support my never ending car problems. I go without the essentials at times; toilet paper, laundry detergent, dish towels, etc. And occasionally I find myself living off ramen noodles when I run completely out of money. Like most people my age, I have a hard time taking care of myself. My habits are partly to blame, the economy is mostly to blame. My simple life of barely getting by had taken an unplanned turn when I realized I might be feeding my ramen noodles to someone else, someone inside me.

When I realized I was late, I didn’t think much of it.The thought of getting pregnant terrifies me, and truth be told, babies scare me. I avoid them for the most part. I’m not ready at this point in life, to care for another person other than myself. When I hear a baby cry, I try to be as far away from it as possible. When I see a little kid throw a tantrum, I give them candy and toys so they’ll stop making noise. When I see they’re crying, I quickly busy myself to avoid the situation. So, when I realized I was late, these thoughts of my experiments with small children did run through my mind, and I was queasy.

After the sixth or seventh day of the absence of my period, I found myself checking for it frequently. I would be walking through Wal-Mart and see babies around every corner and feel the need to make a quick run to the bathroom to check if I had started. Every little pain I had in my stomach, I’d assume that my period had come at last and run to check in the nearest bathroom, only to be disappointed. I was so desperate for some kind of answer, I broke down a bought a pregnancy test. 

Photo Credit:
Lynn(e) Schmidt

Though they both came back negative, I still wasn’t starting my period. I started to come to the conclusion I was pregnant. Some people would suggest having the child and putting it up for adoption but, honestly, I don’t think this is not an option for me. I’m skinny and my body isn’t set up for the caring of a baby. I don’t eat healthy whatsoever and being pregnant wouldn’t suddenly make money appear for nutritious foods. I searched online to check where the nearest abortion center was located and watched videos of exactly what the procedure was for an abortion.

My friends and boyfriend were supportive of my decision to get an abortion. They understood, like so many people wouldn’t, that I wasn’t ready to support another life other than my own. One of my friends even said she’d hold my hand during my appointment.

Then one day, while I was at work, I felt a sharp pain in my side. I knew this was it. I went to the bathroom and was overjoyed to see what I saw. I was glad not only because I wasn’t pregnant but because I wasn’t in need of an abortion. 
An abortion isn’t something that you look forward to getting done to you. It’s a step that happens when other contraceptive don’t work. It’s something that gets done when a mistake happens, and/or you’re not strong enough to bear a child. Even though abortion is the choice I would have made, I’m glad I didn’t have to. I’m grateful to have open-minded friends and family who would have supported me through my decisions. Not everyone has people like that around them and are forced into a path they’re not ready to take.

Jennifer Martin is a nineteen year old retail associate in Maine. Her friends call her Genevieve, but she’s not sure why. She enjoys pina coladas and occasionally getting caught in the rain. Reading and recycling are little hobbies of hers. 
Jennifer has a cat named Blue who she rescued from a near-death experience (involving a bald eagle and a dirty sock). 
She tries to be open-minded and looks forward to meeting different people because she enjoys talking about anything and everything!

Confessions of a Pro-Life Convert by Alex Ruiz

At the age of one, I was baptized Catholic. At eight, I did confession, took communion, and (by cheating the system—thanks, Mom!) was confirmed Catholic. And nine years later, I privately gave up my faith for a lot of reasons that I won’t delve into here. Intriguingly, though, a few Catholic sensibilities still lingered in my personal morality, the weirdest among these to my non-religious and fellow-liberal compatriots was being Pro-Life.

Look at him…God, he’s so punchable

It was always easy to explain: my cursory knowledge of biology (influenced by a Florida public school education, I now realize, and not my former religion) told me life began at conception, and therefore killing in-utero babies was murder. I didn’t think of exceptions for rape and incest, though could be persuaded when the life of the mother was at stake—after all, logic dictates ensuring one life, rather than risking both. These were the lines within which I smugly watched the world. For the sake of a well-rounded picture, I should mention that at this point, I also insisted on only wearing synthetic leather shoes and belts because murdering cows for anything but food was inhumane and unnatural, that total pacifism in both the international and personal altercations was always and eternally not just the best but onlymorally-sound response, and that Van Halen didn’t suck. You can see what kind of insufferable creature eighteen-year-old me could be.

Then the even-more-unthinkable-than-unthinkable happened: I had a pregnancy faked on me. The faking I didn’t actually figure out until some time later upon a closer inspection of details—we had always used protection, she danced around symptom descriptions, and relayed the details of her “miscarriage” in a way that I later learned would make even an introductory med-school student scream with laughter. What was really important was the moment in which she said to me that she believed herself to be pregnant: faced with the (false) reality of what she was saying, all of the moral and logistical reasoning that I had used to formulate my every view on abortion shattered like so many dreams.

All I wanted was for her to get it taken care of, a truth which I actually kept to myself for the most part—I think there was the sly inclusion of the question to see how she’d react, and (of course) she wouldn’t hear of it. I kept pestering her to take a pregnancy test so that we could know conclusively and start reacting—after a few days, she claimed she had taken one with questionable results and then threw away because she didn’t think I’d care to see it—and a week or two later professed that she’d “lost the baby” (which she was absolutely sure had been the girl I’d always wanted).

Her name is Adelina: Here she is
with her first rattle.

While the entire situation was doubly much ado about nothing, in the aftermath I faced my own hypocrisy towards the abortion option. It’s indelibly easy to posture and stake out a moral claim, especially when it hasn’t applied to one personally. And I won’t insult Pro-Life readers here by stating they only believe as they do because they have yet to encounter these situations, though I know this is a distinct possibility, especially for men. I did it, in my youth and my arrogance, and I was humbled. I sought a new perspective on the issue and eventually arrived at a funny mix: I don’t really think about whether or not life begins at conception—I subscribe to the medical community standard regarding first breath and add the George Carlin addendum of if a fetus is really aperson, we would mourn miscarriages with funerals and couples would say “wehave two children” instead of “two and one on the way” (skip to for the particular citation, but this entire bit actually did a lot to inform my new logic).

Some years later, my best friend and his girlfriend accidentally got pregnant with my goddaughter. At the time, they were under twenty, under-educated, and under-employed. I told them they had my support whatever they decided to do. Despite what I privately believed was their best course of action, she was born in October of 2009.

Alex and Adelina
A couple months ago

Since she was born and I’ve related the story of her circumstances, I’ve been asked why I’m still Pro-Choice, why I didn’t switch back after beholding this beautiful little creature for whom I would give pretty much anything in the world. In truth, I treat it as I do religion: reveling in the discussion and debate, but not pushing anything on anyone unless they ask for my opinion. With Adelina and her parents, I was honest when they asked, and was there for them all the way, even being present in the delivery room. I’m very glad that they made the decision that they did, but having been in that same situation (or thinking that I had been), I know that I could never make that decision for anyone.

So I stand Pro-Choice, a supporter of rights to a safe medical procedure that should be openly available to all women and couples. And it isn’t logic or a traumatic experience that drives me there, at least not alone. It’s plain empathy. I’ve felt the claustrophobia of an unwanted pregnancy and I’ve witnessed the splendor that can come out of it as well. What I take away from both is simply a respect for the situation and an understanding of the difficulty of the decision: either way, all that is needed is some simple support, education, and maybe a little humility.

Alex Ruiz is a freelancer, poet, and fiction writer. He is a graduate of the English and Theater programs at Rollins College, and currently teaches in Orlando, FL. He is at work on his grad school applications, his first novel, and his first half-marathon.

Apart from these exploits, Alex enjoys Irish whiskeys, lifting heavy metal objects, and yelling at 24-hour news channels like they’re sporting events. Please follow him on Twitter @A_X_Ruiz where he’ll be happy to argue with you about way more than just abortion.