Sharon

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I don't regret my abortion.

1972 United States

The choice I made was the right one for me, at that time in my life. I'm sure it wouldn't be the right one for everyone, but each person is different, and so is each situation. I feel very strongly that women should be able to make their own decisions about these things, for themselves, without anyone else (like the government or a bunch of busy body protesters) trying to tell them what to do.

I had a vacuum aspiration abortion in an abortion clinic in New York City. This was in 1972, so that was really the only option available. There were no abortion pills at that time; it was either have a surgical abortion or stay pregnant. I just felt lucky to be able to have it done legally and safely. My experience was not at all unpleasant. At that time, women were going to New York in droves--those who had the means to get there--because it was illegal almost everywhere else in the country, and the clinic I used was well set up to care for us. They even had a shuttle bus to pick patients up at the airport and bring us back afterwards! Before the procedure there was a counseling session, which in my case included me and 2 or 3 other women. The counselor gave us a thorough run down on what was going to happen, and gave each of us the opportunity to ask questions and talk about how we were feeling. I was feeling fine about the whole thing myself--just wanted to get it over with. The most helpful thing about the counseling for me was the description of the procedure. I went in knowing exactly what to expect, and was a lot less nervous and afraid as a result. The counselor, like everyone else at the clinic, was extremely supportive and reassuring. I really couldn't have asked for a better experience from that standpoint. The procedure itself was almost completely painless. The doctor explained everything as he went along, so I was never confused or afraid. The only discomfort I remember was a shot of local anesthetic in my cervix, which just felt like a quick pinch, and after that, nothing hurt at all. It was all over in 5 or 10 minutes, and then I was sent to another room next door, to rest for a while till they could make sure I was okay to be released. The main emotion I remember experiencing at that point was extreme relief to know I was no longer pregnant and would be able to move on with my life free of the worry that had been hanging over my head since learning about the pregnancy. After a brief recovery period, I was checked out by a doctor, who also discussed birth control with me. I left with a prescription for birth control pills and instructions to get a checkup with a gynecologist in 2 weeks, just to make sure everything was okay. I then took the clinic shuttle back to the airport to catch my plane back to Illinois. The aftermath was completely uneventful for me. My recovery was nothing dramatic at all; and I had my two week checkup and got a clean bill of health. I have never had any regrets about my decision. There have been times when I have wondered about what my child would have been like, if it would have been a boy or a girl, etc,--but that was more a matter of curiosity than anything else. I feel that I made the right decision for ME, at that point in my life. I knew I really wanted kids SOMEDAY, but it was just not time yet. I was in college, which I badly wanted to finish, and I was barely able to support myself, much less another person. There was no father in the picture (the pregnancy was due to a stupid spur, of the moment, one night stand, and I never even saw the guy again after that night). Handing my kid over to a stranger to raise was not something I could even bring myself to contemplate, and abortion was the only option I seriously considered. The only thing I felt really bad about was knowingly taking a dumb risk by having unprotected sex and ending up pregnant as a result, because I knew better and let impulse override my good judgment.

Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?

My abortion was legal but would have been illegal in most U.S. states, because it took place about 4 months before Roe v. Wade. Fortunately, although I lived in Illinois, I was able to rake up enough cash to go to New York, where it was legal. I don't know if I would have dare risk an illegal abortion, give the conditions of the time.

How did other people react to your abortion?

The few people I told--immediate family and a handful of friends--were supportive, except for one friend whose disapproval took me by surprise. (She was Catholic and staunchly anti-abortion, and she was the only one who tried to talk me out of it.)

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Sentí y decidí.