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Category Archives: Prolife

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.

AWP, WGS, SEWSA, and Grant Opportunity

It has been an incredible last couple of weeks. As many of you know, Alex and I (Lynne) adventured to Seattle for AWP 2014 with our AbortionChat table. We met TONS of men and women of varying shapes, sizes, colors, etc. It was amazing. We asked incredibly personal questions (what kind of birth control do you use? What would you and your partner do if you got pregnant? And plenty more). We gave out brochures and cards. We took pictures which you can see on our Twitter account or our Facebook account. It was a great four days. We met people who shared stories about having three abortions, and not regretting a single one. We met people who didn’t know if they were prochoice or prolife. We met men whose partner’s had an abortion without telling them. It. Was. Great. And we can’t wait for more submissions. (Thank you for those of you who have submitted. I promise we’re going through them!)

Alex at our table!

After we returned home, him to Florida, and me to Maine, we recovered from Jet Lag (yes, capital letters) and I was invited by a member of the ACLU to participate in a Reproductive Justice Panel for the WGS Conference in Maine! There I got to talk about abortion, crisis pregnancy centers, the lovely people who send us death threats, etc. I met some incredible people there. I also met some very brave men and women there.

I was clearly very involved in what I was saying :)

Next up on our list is heading to Wilmington,  North Carolina for SEWSA which just announced their panel line up. Allie and I will be hosting one, discussing writing my memoir, The Right to Live: A Christian Girl’s Struggle through Abortion, Losing Her Home, Job, and Mind, and Recovery as well as how AbortionChat got started. We would love to see you there.

In the meantime, in case you haven’t heard, The Abortion Conversation Project is now open to submissions for grant opportunities. They are the ones who granted us the ability to go to New Jersey for the Sex Ed Conference, as well as host our table at AWP. They are a wonderful organization, and if you know a project or other organization, please submit a proposal to them. The deadline is April 1, 2014 so move fast!

In the meantime, we are still accepting submissions and we’d love to share your stories. Keep up the good work. Remember to use contraceptives, communicate with your partner, and change the world.

 

 

 

 

I’ve Never Told Anyone by Angie Boudreau

The following blog post is a mix of emails AbortionChat received and was given permission to share from Ms. Angie Boudreau. Until now, she has never shared her story with anyone. The reason she told AbortionChat we could share? 
I am willing to share my story if it would help even just one person.”

So thank you, Angie, for sharing this personal story with us and with the other members of the AbortionChat community. This is her story in her own words: 


Thank you for taking the time to read this. I have no idea where to start. Until last year I never told anyone about the abuse I endured as a child and into my teen years. I finally decided to seek therapy, and have shared a lot with her over the past year, but not about my abortion. Why? It’s not shame, or guilt, or even anger. I can’t explain what it is. Thinking about it is something I have tried to avoid as much as possible. For years I had refused to let myself believe I actually went through it to begin with.

See when I was 15 I was attacked by 4 older guys. I knew one of them as a friend’s older brother. The other 3 guys wore ski masks and I don’t think I knew them. Honestly there isn’t much I remember. However I do remember the moment I woke up naked, bruised head to toe, and with an ache I just can’t put into words. I was alone. I think I must have passed out a few times because by the time I managed to move, and get myself dressed.. it was night. I called my Grandfather (my Parents were out of town for the weekend looking at houses). My Grandfather came to pick me up, and took me to the hospital. I had a bad concussion, broken collarbone, and multiple fractures in my face. The ride to the hospital seemed very long, and we didn’t say a word. My Grandfather is a very quiet man. He never did ask questions as to what had happened.

At the hospital they checked me out, and said I had to stay for observation. A very friendly nurse with bright red hair came into my room. I remember her so well. I believe she was a nurse, and not a doctor. My memories are very broken as to the events that day. I do remember how soft spoken she was. She was trying to get me to talk about what had happened. I would only tell them I fell down the stairs. I always stuck with that story. Up until this point in my life I had always been abused by a Great Aunt and Uncle. They threatened me, and I felt like it was something I deserved, and to me it was normal. I didn’t know anything else. After 2 days in the hospital they sent me home. I stayed with my Grandparents for a couple of weeks. That wasn’t out of the norm. I stayed with them quite a bit. I was very close with my Grandmother.

Some time passed, and I wasn’t feeling so great. I was always sleeping, and always sick it seemed. My Grandparents took such good care of me. They didn’t give me a hard time about missing school, and they didn’t pressure me to go back home. Although they never said anything I have a feeling they knew things weren’t the best at home. It wasn’t long before my Grandmother figured I was pregnant. She didn’t even tell me at the time. She told one of her brother’s. Then one day he picked me up, and took me to the doctor’s. Everything had been arranged for me by my Grandmother. Once they talked to me and I found out what was happening I freaked. I tried to leave, and I tried to talk to them. They wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. I had already drank a glass of water when I first arrived there (it was a very hot day out). Something must have been in that glass because it didn’t take long for me to start feeling very weak, and I just wanted to lie down. I felt as though I couldn’t move or talk. I felt like I was screaming inside, but nobody could hear me. I woke up sometime after and eventually my Uncle took my back to my Grandparents. It was never discussed. I never mentioned it to my Grandparents.

Then when my Grandmother became ill a few years later she had written me a letter explaining why she did what she did. She didn’t want my life to be ruined. She said nothing good could have come out of bringing a child into this world under such circumstances. She apologized as well.

To this day the only regret I have is having that abortion. I am now unable to have children due to scaring, and complications from the abortion. Then again I can’t get close to men so I probably wouldn’t be able to have kids anyway.

I am not against abortion! please don’t misunderstand. I am for women’s rights. Everyone is different, and every situation is different. Women should have a choice what to do with their body. It is HER body after all. Even though I wish I had gotten to keep the baby (I ache for a baby), I know at the time it was the right decision made for me.

I apologize this turned out to be so long. I don’t know where it all came from. If you are still reading… thank you for listening, and giving me an outlet to get this out.
Angie grew up in a small town in Eastern Canada. She was an only child with 2 very busy parents who she rarely saw. She lived there until the end of Grade 9. That’s when everything fell apart for her. Eventually she moved to Toronto, and have been there ever since. She am now 37, still single, have a few really great friends, she is happy with her job, and does a lot of volunteer work for numerous organizations. That was until this past year when memories became triggered, and the nightmare started all over again.

If you’re reading this and have any questions for Angie, she can be reached through AbortionChat’s email (abortionchat at gmail dot com) or through her twitter account: @TherapyAfterCSA

Things Both Sides Agree On

On January 18th, 2014 I was able to attend a ProLife rally in Augusta, Maine.

Pastors, priests, and political officials spoke in favor of dismembering abortion, while I sat in the audience shaking in fear. They made places like Planned Parenthood a target. They said that abortion is murder, and x-amount of babies have died since Roe v Wade was passed 41 years ago. They marched with stop signs that read, “Stop Abortion Now” to the capitol building.

A counterpart and I took several ProLife pamphlets for research and attempted to engage with people to gather an understanding of why they’re so adamantly against abortion rights. And while the two sides have many differences, today’s post is going to focus on the similarities that both sides are fighting for that rarely get recognized because we’re all so focused on how ignorant “The Other Side” is.

*Support
One thing I was incredibly impressed by at the rally were some pamphlets that addressed, “How to talk to a friend who’s had an abortion,” or “Father No More, Where are the FATHERS of abortion?” Both pamphlets say things like, “There are counselors, priests, deacons, support groups and retreats prepared to help.” They address giving yourself time to grieve. They say, “Assure the person of love and support.”
This is incredibly similar to what Planned Parenthood, ProVoice, and what AbortionChat does. Everyone involved recognizes that this is not an easy decision. People will need support after their abortions.

*Pressure
Both sides are adamantly against the person who is pressured into seeking an abortion. Whether it is a significant other, a family member, or a friend telling the pregnant person to seek an abortion, both sides fight against the coercion.

*Lowering Abortion Rates
One side venomously opposes abortion. The other supports a person’s right to choose. Both, typically, work to lower abortion rates. One side does this by comprehensive sexual education, and having people understand the wonder of contraceptives. One side does this by prayers and picketing. Either way, both sides fight to lower abortion rates.

*Families
Governor Paul LePage spoke during the rally and identified himself as “ProChild.” As he talked, he spoke of broken families in Maine, young men in correctional facilities at young ages, and child abuse. He addressed the fact that families need help.
Again, Planned Parenthood and several ProChoice activists rally for this cause, the assembling of a family. Bringing a child into a broken household is dangerous and destructive. Helping families come together and be ready for a child is a miracle that both sides appear to recognize.

*Ending the Shaming of Single Mothers
LePage also spoke of lessening the shame and stigma of a single working mother. Many who support abortion rights also attempt to do the same thing by offering support, counseling, and government programs to assist single mothers.

*Older Generations Are Set In Their Ways
Though both sides often try to change people’s minds, typically there is one thing both recognize: The older generation is typically set in their own ways and belief systems. It is incredibly difficult to engage them in conversation, especially political, without feeling some form of wrath.
Therefore, it appears that both sides aim to reach out to the youth.

This is a small list, but it is a list that at least starts the conversation of how we can all work together to lower abortion rates, mend broken families, support single parents, support people who’ve sought abortion, and end the pressuring of a person to obtain an abortion.

What else could we add to this list?

"Every Weekend, I Watch People’s Rights be Violated"

Last night, I attended the Patient Safety Zone meeting. For the next few days, I will be posting short snippets of what audience members had to say to the committee about trying to establish a 39-foot patient safety zone around Planned Parenthood. About 40 people spoke in support of the ordinance. Not a single voice of opposition was heard.

People spoke of threats, intimidation, fear. In the end we have to ask ourselves, why would humans treat other humans this poorly?

Irrational Fears Before Obtaining An Abortion

Walking into an abortion clinic is hard for most women. For many, it’s because of the unknown, the risks we’ve all read about, and the backlash from the anti-choice community. But outside of those factors, many women walk in with irrational fears that add to their stress level. So if you are considering having an abortion, here is a small list of things you SHOULD NOT be worrying about before your procedure:

*Pubic Hair
With the rise of the pornography industry, there has been a lot of stress on pubic hair and whether or not women should have it. This, by far, should be the LEAST of your worries. Going under the “It’s your body, it’s your choice” mentality, that does not just apply to an abortion, it applies to your hair, too. The people servicing you will be doctors. They will be men and/or women who have seen over a hundred vaginas in their day. Yours is your own. Feel comfortable (or as comfortable as you can) with it.

*Male Doctors
This is harder said than done. There are many wonderful woman doctors, and when I sought my abortion, I was hoping to have a female doctor. My heart nearly fell out of my mouth when a male walked in and asked how I was. But the reality is this: a doctor is a doctor. They are trained professionals.There are awesome female doctors, and there are awesome male doctors.

*Your Friends and Family
If you’re obtaining an abortion, chances are you’ve told at least one other person, and I hope they were supportive. Right now, support is the one thing you need. If you’re worried Aunt Sally or Uncle Joe will judge your decision, stop worrying. It’s your decision to make. You don’t ever have to tell them if you don’t want to. Right now, you need to focus on yourself and your body. Surround yourself with supportive people. Call the Pro-Voice hotline. Call anywhere that will make you feel better.

*Work
Work is work. While it’s nice to have a job, as previously stated, you need to focus on yourself and your body. If you need to take a personal day before/after the abortion, do so. Right now, getting through the day may be a priority. It’s okay to work, it’s okay to work the day after your abortion, and it’s okay to not work the day after your abortion. What do you want to do?

*Protesters
This one isn’t quite an irrational fear because protesters do exist, and they can be mean. The nice thing is that many times there are escorts for the clinics where protesters are just a little too close for comfort. Otherwise, it’s always recommended that you bring a friend, your significant other, whomever else with you. I had protesters yell at me as I walked in, but I also had a friend with me who put her arm around my shoulders and said not to listen. That made all the difference. I know it’s difficult, but try not to let them stress you out more than you already are.

*Crying
CRYING IS TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE.
I didn’t know this when I underwent my abortion. I didn’t realize this during my first appointment, and I didn’t realize it until I stumbled out and knocked over a box of tissues. It is okay to cry. It is also okay to not cry. It is okay for you to react however you want or need to react, but please, allow yourself to react. Allowing yourself to process things is the first step in taking care of yourself.

While this is only a small list, we welcome  your comments, questions, and even anything else you would like to add to the list.

Remember, priority one is to take care of yourself, be you ProChoice, AntiChoice, Religious, Cis, Trans, Boy, Girl or Atheist (or any variation in-between).

Abortion in High School, An Interview

I had an interview with high school student, “A”, today. Her friend obtained an abortion last summer. Here is “A”‘s side of the story:

Something to always keep in mind
Q: How old are you?
A: 17.
Q: How old was your friend when she sought an abortion?
A: At the time she was 16.
Q: Did she tell you she was pregnant, or that she had an abortion?
A: She didn’t tell me she was pregnant, she just told me through the summer that she was having a really rough time and she couldn’t wait to see me. When I finally saw her, she told me all about it.
Q: How did she tell you?
A: We were having a heart to heart, we were talking about summer. She got a little quiet, not really shy, but she said she had something to tell me. Then she told me not to judge her. Then she told me. It was shocking to me.
Q: What was your reaction?
A: I was shocked. I was kind of heartbroken for her because she told me she’d had a terrible summer, and I thought it couldn’t have been that bad. I was just like, really surprised that something like that could happen to one of my best friends in the whole wide world.
Q: How did she handle her abortion?
A: It happened in the summer, so she had a lot of time to think about it. She went to her mom’s and told her mom. She had a therapist for a little bit. She tried her best to contain her emotions, it was one of those decisions she didn’t make for herself. She was sad. Really, really, sad. I feel like she handled it like any other person would. She was generally upset about it. She was drugged by her significant other at the time, but she insisted it wasn’t rape, and then she got pregnant. She knew she had sex, but she didn’t remember it. She thought they used a condom, but they didn’t.
Q: Did she tell her parents?
A: She told her mom first, and then her dad. Her mom insisted abortion was the only option.
Q: Did she tell her significant other?
A: Yes, and he like too many males out there just kind of fled from it. They couldn’t press charges because she didn’t say it was rape. The age of consent is 16, I think he was either 19 or 20.
Q: Why did she decide to have an abortion?
A: Because she knew she was way too young to be a mother, she wasn’t ready, it was either this baby for the rest of her life, or she goes and tries to live a teenage life. She really just wanted to be a normal teenager. She knew if she had the baby it wouldn’t happen. She was scared, she knew the significant other wasn’t going to stick around. It was one of those “I’m going to hurt this child if I have it. If I have it, it won’t have a good life.”
Q: Do you feel like she was pressured into her decision?
A: No. Not at all. She was not going to have this kid. She wants to have kids when she’s old enough and ready, but at that time she just wasn’t.
Q: Do you support her decision?
A: I definitely support her decision because I know it’s the best for her right now, even if she gets sad about it. I know she thinks about it every day, but I think it’s best for her. If she’d gone through with having a child, she wouldn’t have been happy.
Q: Did any member of the school district know about her abortion? Do you think they should have?
A: Yes, a few of her teachers knew about it. I think her mom sent an email. Definitely her counselors knew about it. I think some people should have known in case she broke down in class so there was someone to go to. It’s not one of those easy quick fixes. It’s been over a year since her abortion, and we’ve had countless conversations about it. She just needs to be supported.
Q: What were the hardships surrounding your friend and her abortion?
A: Oh, man. Seeing little kids, and interacting with small children. She told me a story, one of her teachers
Photo Credit:
Allie Rosnato

has a kid with curly blond hair and blue eyes, and she thought her child could have looked like that and asked, “What kind of monster am I?” Her relationship with her mother was definitely tested. She really liked this guy, but she pushed him away because he was the cause of all this.

Q: What do you feel were the important aspects of supporting your friend?
A: Texting, that was an important thing. Communication, talking to her, asking her how she felt today. I think the most important thing was having her be able to talk about it. A lot of the time people try to sweep it under the rug, I think it’s something that needs to be talked about because it did happen. She told me she doesn’t talk about it with her mom, and I think I was that person she went to to talk about it and her feelings.
Q: Is she okay now?
A: Yes, I mean, there’s going to be that one little part that will always, always see a kid and feel that guilt, and that pain, and that sorrow, but I know for a fact she’s going to be okay. I know when she has kids someday and she’ll know she made the right decision because she’ll give that child the life it deserves.
Q: What is your sexual education curriculum like at your school?
A: Um…well…we have a freshmen year health course, but it’s not really that technical.
Q: Do you feel like this is sufficient?
A: Not at all. I mean, I honestly think we should have this course our junior or senior year. I feel like only 2% is sexually active freshmen year and as you get older it’s more relevant in your life. Freshmen year it’s kind of a joke, and you don’t really care about what’s going on. Freshmen are immature and you can’t take it seriously. When you’re older, it’ll matter to you.
Q: Do you know how to operate a condom?
A: Yes.
Q: Are you a virgin? If no, when did you lose your virginity?
A: No, and April 2013.
Q: What would you do if you were to get pregnant now?
A: Um, well, I’d probably do the same thing as my friend just because I have the same opinions as she does.
Q: Have you told your partner this?
A: Yes, and they agree.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I think that people need to be smarter. If you don’t want kids, do everything in your power to not. Use a condom. Get birth control. Use Plan B if you need to. It’s fun to have fun, but I can’t stress it enough: BE SAFE.
Also, Relationships take two people, and when it ends up one sided, things go wrong. It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself in to.

Choosing Life by Rachel Troumbly

The first 16 years of my life were something out of a Lifetime Channel movie; alcoholic, misogynist, abusive stepfather, enabling and psychologically damaged mother, and a spoiled, bratty, but obedient younger sister. 

We were upper middle class, well educated, Catholic, and lived in a predominately white rural area right outside of a large city. We were the picket fence kind of people, hiding our secrets behind a nicely manicured lawn, shiny cars, and family portraits with exaggerated smiles. 

I reference all of this in effort to illustrate the fact that I was by no means what the far right would consider the “typical” abortion seeker. I wasn’t poor, uneducated, or a delinquent. I may have had a broken home, but I was smart and motivated. Though my family was quietly prochoice, it wasn’t an issue that I ever considered for myself. 

I moved out at seventeen with two-hundred dollars in cash, a full tank of gas, and only one goal: to be better than the home I came from. Granted, my road to self discovery wasn’t without pit falls. I found the bottom of a bottle, various lovers, and some debt along the way, but I was determined to get where I was going. 

I hear a lot of people talk about the “convenience” of abortion. I want to note here that I’ve had two children, one before and one after my abortion, and neither child came at a convenient time in my life, but neither were aborted. This is because my convenience wasn’t a factor in my decision to abort. What factored into my decision was directly tied to the complications and ensuing health problems that were brought to light in my first pregnancy. 

I was 19 when I found out I was going to be a mother. It came at a time when I was still trying to find my way. I had a new car, a steady job, and a home with my boyfriend. I didn’t want a child, and I considered adoption, but never abortion. 

Not because I was against it, but because I had no reason, in my mind, to do it. The nightmare of my pregnancy prompted me to decide against adoption, as I was too scared to go through pregnancy again and I didn’t want to miss out on having children. 

I suffered a rare complication while pregnant called hypermesis gravidarum that caused me to vomit violently at all hours of the day, for the entire pregnancy. I couldn’t hold down water, let alone food, and I often passed out from dehydration. Since most women experience vomiting in their pregnancy, my doctor thought I was exaggerating the circumstances, so I wasn’t diagnosed until the 7th month. All in all, I lost 12 lbs, and only ended up 7 lbs heavier at the end of my pregnancy than I was before it. 

I wish I could say that my sickness was the worst of my pregnancy problems, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. Like most women, I was prepared for the long process of labor and vaginal birth; the idea of a Caesarian never crossed my mind. I didn’t want the epidural either, but after a couple of hours of back labor, I was screaming for the euphoric release of a spinal tap. I had little time to relax before the real nightmare began. After six hours of labor, my doctor informed me that the baby’s heart rate was dropping and that I hadn’t dilated past 2 centimeters. After two shots of pitocin and no improvement, I was prepped for an emergency c-section. 

I was terrified. 

All I could think of was the life of my child. When they finally pulled my little boy out, I held my breath waiting for a sign that he was ok. One, two, three, four… Silence. I heard someone say that his cord was around his neck and I saw his blue face. Tears fell down my cheeks as I lay there, strapped to a table and unable to help him. Then, finally, I heard him scream. It was the greatest sound I’d ever heard. My baby was ok, and after a few days, we headed home to live happily ever after….

     …. For three days. 

Six days after my son was born, my left leg had swollen 3 times its normal size. It had turned red and purple and I sobbed with every step I took. My mother rushed me to the hospital emergency room. After one look, doctors swarmed around me, sticking me with needles, checking my blood pressure, and poking at my feet. I was informed that I had a clot in my femoral artery and my lower calf and they had progressed to a point of imminent danger. 

The doctors said with the size of my leg and the amount of elapsed time, I was a ticking time bomb and could release the clot with the slightest movement. No one knew exactly why I had developed a clot, and from what I learned, a femoral clot was rare. After having it, my chances of future clots increases, since the old clot leaves the major artery corroded and scared. 

I spent seven days in the hospital, with blood draws every six hours, heparin every twelve, and a strict order of bed rest with absolutely no exceptions. Those seven days were torture. Since I’d already left the maternity ward, I wasn’t allowed to keep my son with me. My mother and husband worked, so I saw my baby for a couple hours a day. Outside of that, I was all alone. 

Turns out, I had an undiagnosed blood disorder that causes my blood to clot easily. I was advised to abstain from having more children, as my disorder (known as Factor V Leiden) coupled with the femoral clot, made pregnancy an extremely dangerous endeavor. Unfortunately, the Catholic run hospital wouldn’t preform a tubal until I’d had a second child,  and I couldn’t take any birth control that released hormones without risking further clots. I chose to use condoms as a means of preventing pregnancy from there on out.

My second pregnancy
After my scare, I went on to go to college and I worked full time to raise my son. My husband at the time wasn’t very reliable and rarely held a job, so I took on all of the responsibility. We split up when my son was two. When my son was three, I dated a guy who was very controlling. I wanted out of the relationship and started making plans to leave, but I was keeping the relationship going until I could get my ducks in a row. 

Apparently he knew I wanted to leave, because soon after I found out I was pregnant by him, he revealed to me that he had poked holes in the condoms as a means to get me pregnant so that I would stay. 

I was terrified. Given the situation I was in, my medical condition, and the brush with death from my first pregnancy, I wasn’t prepared to risk another one. I moved in with my family, three hours away, only two days after discovering that I was pregnant. We discussed my options. I knew that the father wouldn’t help with the child, just as my ex husband didn’t help with my son. I had only one year of college under my belt, and couldn’t afford another child. 

At only six weeks pregnant, I was already vomiting day and night, and feared being able to care for myself and my three year old. My aunt told me that she would adopt my child if I wanted, but I was only concerned with the prospect of dying. I didn’t want to leave behind the child that I paid for in blood, sweat and tears. I lived for him. What good was I to him if I died? 

After days of consideration, I chose to have an abortion. My great grandmother, who was Catholic and extremely pro life, stood behind me the whole way. 

The day after my 24th birthday, she and my grandmother drove me to the clinic, three hours away. As we pulled in, I looked out the window to see the pro life protesters lined up on the walk way. 

They yelled at me, begging me to choose a different option, throwing fliers at me. 

I felt the tears running down my face. They don’t know me, I thought. They don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve been through. If they knew, would they still ask me to risk my life for this baby? I couldn’t force my legs to move. I knew I was doing the right thing, but I couldn’t endure the spotlight that they were shining on what was the hardest and most private moment of my life. 

I looked up, with tears staining my eyes, to see my 85 year old great grams. She pulled me to my feet, wrapped her arm around my shoulders, and told me to ignore them. She sat right next to me in that clinic, holding my hand while I filled out my papers. 

I was escorted back for a checkup before receiving an ultrasound. The technician asked if I wanted a copy of the ultrasound, and I said yes. In the back of my mind, I felt like it was my penance to pay, my scarlet letter, a reminder of my sin. After the ultrasound, I was escorted to a psychiatrists office. She asked me why I chose to have an abortion, whether I was forced and the process of the procedure, including diagrams of d&c and the possible side effects. 

The woman gave me phone numbers, literature, and a variety of alternative choices like adoption and raising my child, before sending me back out to the waiting room for a required four hours, encouraging me to consider all given routes before they would continue the procedure. 

When the time came, the nurse came to get me. She explained again the procedure, and the medication options and side effects. I received my dosage and was escorted to the procedure room. It looked like any other room in a hospital. The walls were white, the floor was cold, and there was the unmistakable smell of rubbing alcohol and cleaner. 

I laid down, closed my eyes, and waited. It was over in minutes; quick and painless, a fact that, for a long time, plagued my conscience. I knew the implications of my choice, and the social stigma that it carried with it. I was, and still am, at peace with my choice, but that doesn’t mean that I am without reverence for it. After time in the recovery room, I walked out to my car, with my great grams wrapping her arm around me, drowning out the angry voices of the protesters with her fearlessness. 

She died a month later, not long after telling me how proud she was of my strength and my courage. 

I’m 27 now. 

Last month marked three years since my abortion. Since then, I’ve gotten married to a wonderful man, and we’ve had a child of our own. You might wonder why I could argue my health as a means for abortion, yet risk it in another instance. 

It’s because this time I didn’t have to worry about leaving my child alone in the world. This time, he had a steady, reliable father to love him and raise him. When I chose my abortion, I didn’t disregard life, I simply weighed the life of the 8 week old fetus against not only my own life, but the life of the child that I was already charged with protecting. I weighed how his life would be affected by my death or impacted health, against the life that hadn’t even begun, and couldn’t miss what it didn’t know. 

I know that I made the right choice. I know that it is because of that choice that I can hold my children at night and love them and kiss them. I know that it’s because of my choice that I can give my children two loving parents and a home where they are protected. I know that it’s because of my choice that I can finally reach my goal. My home is better than the one I came from. I love my family and I will continue to put them first until my dying day. 

When it comes down to it, convenience never played a part in my abortion. It would have been most convenient to have one at 19, when I had the world at my fingertips. It would have been convenient to have one at 25, when I was newly married and my child was going to school, leaving me the chance to pursue a degree. 

No, convenience wasn’t a factor, life was. My child’s life, the child with memories and warm hugs and sparkling blue eyes, the one I bled for… His life mattered. This is why I can confidently proclaim that I am pro LIFE; because I chose to protect the lives that I was already responsible for. 
     I am only one of thousands of stories, each unique to the individual. Our voices have been silenced by those who refuse to listen, but I refuse to remain quiet. I refuse to return to the shackles of slavery, where my body is synonymous with an incubator. I’ve heard that its easy for me to fight for abortion, because I got to be born. I think this is inaccurate. I think it’s easy for people to argue for life, because they are, in fact, living. 

Life isn’t biology. 

It’s not a heartbeat, or the air in your lungs. When a person is only kept alive by machines, they aren’t living, because there is no life to live. There are no memories for that person, no laughter, no warmth. They survive only at the mercy of the tubes that tie them to the living world. They know nothing beyond the dark abyss behind their closed eyes. 

It is only the person who’s mind is aware of what would be missed, that can argue for it. 

If they had never lived, they’d never know it. 



Rachel Troumbly is a 27 year old psychology major living in the frozen tundra of Northern Michigan. When she’s not nose deep in her studies or chasing after her two boys, she can typically be found rummaging through thrift stores (pack-ratting), mastering her culinary skills (hello hot pockets) and attempting to blur the lines of societal expectations by the glowing light of her keyboard. If all goes well, Rachel hopes to one day open up a shelter for abused women that will help them to start a new 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.