I was 17 and a senior in high school when I discovered I was pregnant...

"I was 17 and a senior in high school when I discovered I was pregnant. I had had ONE sexual encounter with a boy 2 years older. It was almost a miracle that I got pregnant because there REALLY was no full penetration. Before he penetrated me, I pushed him away, and fortunately he didn't force himself on me. When I later told him I was pregnant, he didn't believe he could have fathered the pregnancy, because he said "but I didn't even cum!" And that was the truth. Although few will believe me, I can absolutely attest to the fact that I DID GET PREGNANT without full penetration or ejaculation.

I had no choice but to tell my parents. (This was in 1966.) Although angry and dismayed, my father arranged for a secret abortion. To protect me, he told some associates that he had gotten a woman pregnant and needed to find a safe abortion. Through word of mouth he found a doctor who came to my house and started the abortion process. By that I mean, the doctor injected a strong saline solution into my uterus. He told me it would kill the fetus and start contractions that would lead to abortion of the fetus. I was scared to death, but agreed to the process. About 4 hours later, contractions began, I went through labor, and "delivered" a fetus in my childhood bedroom.

A few days later I was still bleeding heavily, and fainted one night while on the toilet. I had lost so much blood - the placenta hadn't been fully expelled - that I just lost consciousness. My mother was with me and fortunately had the phone number of the doctor who told her to get me to a hospital ASAP and tell them I'd had a miscarriage.

I was admitted to the hospital and was given a bed in the maternity wing! The woman in the bed next to me had just given birth to a healthy baby, and there I was, an "illegal" abortion survivor, sharing a room with her. I WAS 17 YEARS OLD! The hospital (in theory) was unaware of the abortion, but why would anyone think it was ok to put a new happy mother together with a miscarriage patient? I was given a D&C and went home 2 days later. (Today I'd be shown the door in a matter of hours.)

Because I had parental support and because I was mentally and emotionally sound, I got through it all. My parents told me they would never bring it up again (wouldn't hold it over my head), and they didn't. I think about the experience as little as possible today. I've told very few people - after all these years I still can't get over the feeling of shame.

I did tell my husband and many years later, my daughter. I wanted her to know that you CAN GET PREGNANT by just 'fooling around.' Without telling the first hand experience, it wouldn't be believable to her. I hope my story helps to underscore the need to keep safe abortion care accessible to all women (and girls)." —Anonymous

#youngperson #preRoe #prochoice

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