Illinois, 2004, 2005, and 2007
I looked in the Chicago Yellow Pages and made an appointment at what I thought was an abortion clinic. They sent a black woman in to talk to me. She told me that she and her husband hadn’t wanted their child at first and tried to convince me to keep mine. Then they showed me a video of a D&E (dilation and evacuation). They assumed I was on food stamps. At that time, I didn’t know how to articulate why that was offensive. I was a 28-year-old paralegal—not the stereotype. They sent me home with a rattle and onesie. This was in 2002, not some bygone era. They sent me to another place to get a free ultrasound. The technician said, “If you have an abortion now, you’ll rupture your uterus and won’t be able to have children in the future.” I had no idea what was true. I didn’t want to regret not being able to have children. I went ahead and had my son. Those people weren’t there after I lost my job and couldn’t afford my COBRA, utilities, rent, food. Since then, I’ve had three abortions. I didnt understand my body. I had no information. After the third time, I ran into a reproductive-justice advocate who finally taught me how to understand my fertility.
South Dakota, 2004
The day I got accepted to college, I had a positive pregnancy test. I went to a community health center and said I wanted to talk to a nurse about my options. They told me to leave. The closest three clinics were all 300 miles away. I borrowed my mother’s car. My boyfriend, now my husband, came with me. I honestly don’t remember how we came up with the $700. We left at 5 p.m., after work, and drove to Colorado. It was the dead of winter, cold. Weather can be touchy through the Rockies. We stayed in a hotel in Cheyenne, another $60, but we couldn’t sleep. I felt very on edge. I wished someone I knew besides my boyfriend was nearby. When we got to the clinic, an escort met us at the car and asked if we wanted a bulletproof vest. Inside the clinic, the doctor took my hand and apologized that I had to travel so far. Ten minutes later, it was done.