"I never considered writing about my abortion experience. Maybe because it was traumatizing, maybe because it was personal, but maybe also because it was none of anybody's damn business. However, with the recent discussion around Roe vs. Wade, I thought my story might help to answer the millions of ignorant questions, including but not limited to, ‘Why do libs care so much about abortion?’
My period was less than 48 hours overdue, but I told my friend I had to swing by CVS. Of course the cashier was a customer of mine from work, but the only thing she said to me was, ‘Good luck.’ I've recalled this interaction a hundred times because I truly don't know if she was wishing that I was pregnant, that I wasn't, or just that I got the outcome I was hoping for.
I desperately wanted it to be negative. At this time, I’m about 2 years out of college, working a bank job that I hate, and struggling to find a way out. While I've always wanted to be a mom one day, I was in no way prepared for a child. People always say that though, you know? ‘I was so lost and then I had a kid and found my purpose!’
Honestly, my life could have used some direction at this point but physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, I was not prepared to be a mom. I was roughly 35 pounds overweight. I was struggling to find the right medication to combat my depression and anxiety. I hadn't been in a relationship, much less a healthy one, in years. I made a decent salary but was essentially living paycheck to paycheck because I didn’t budget. I was struggling to take care of myself, much less the child growing inside me.
The test was not negative. I called my doctor in the morning and she got me in later that week. I told her I was pregnant, and she said she'd need to do a blood test, but then could refer me to the ‘best OB/GYN in the area.’ I could feel the color leave my face. I said, ‘Thank you, but I'm actually here to discuss my termination options.’ Her face fell. She patted me on the back and said, ‘I'm sorry dear, but I really can't help you if you're taking that route.’
She offered to write me a referral to the walk-in clinic in Harrisburg, roughly two hours away. The last thing she shared with me was that the oral birth control I was currently on had been recalled. The pills had been placed in the packaging incorrectly, ironically making me more susceptible to become pregnant! So, for all of you saying, ‘SHOULDA BEEN SMARTER,’ fuck you.
At this point, I accepted that I’d need to tell my boss, as I worked 9-5 at the bank and it would be impossible to get out of work for the state-mandated counseling and the procedure, plus some potential recovery time. I was really close with my boss at the time and she promised to support me ‘no matter what decision I made.’ I had told her my decision already… but she left me with the reminder that ‘children are the most precious gifts.’ I made the trek to Harrisburg, pushed through the protesters with their picket signs, and sat through what is apparently considered ‘counseling.’
To be honest, I couldn’t really understand half of what the doctor was saying because of his thick accent. I just nodded for the entirety and made my follow up appointment for the procedure. I called to ask a question the day before my appointment and was surprised when no one answered the phone. I call the day of the appointment (they do have weird hours) and the phone line is disconnected. I’m sitting at work about to leave for my appointment and I am fucking panicking. I Google search the clinic to make sure I have the phone number correct. The top result is a news article, informing me the clinic was shut down by the Department of Health the day prior due to several health violations.
I start this whole nightmare over again, this time 2.5 hours in the opposite direction, crossing state borders, to visit a Planned Parenthood. By the time my counseling is completed, and I’ve stared at the damn screen acknowledging the fetus inside of me for a second time, I am nine weeks pregnant. I’ve taken a ‘last-minute vacation’ at work, and am on my way to Planned Parenthood to receive the medication abortion.
Walking out of Planned Parenthood that day with that pill in my pretty pink bag, I felt a wave of relief wash over me, but with that came a looming truth. I had to bend over backwards, drive a total of 14 hours, and pay about $1,000 out of pocket to terminate this pregnancy. How the fuck would I have done this as a teenager? Or without a vehicle? Or without the cash? My stomach turns every time I hear someone, especially a person with political power, say that women who receive abortions need to be punished." —Emily Truett