15 Abortion Stories From Actual Women That Prove Safe And Easy Access Is Everything
"The misconception that abortions are easy to get is far from reality."
Reproductive rights are (sigh, yet again) up for debate in the US thanks to Texas's 6-week abortion ban. The ban not only makes abortion illegal after 6 weeks of pregnancy in the state of Texas, but it also doesn't make any exceptions in the case of rape or incest. Since first being instated, it's been blocked by a federal judge, reinstated by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and now rests in the hands of the Department of Justice, leaving reproductive rights for millions of Texas citizens hanging in the balance.
And a very sad reality is that access to safe and legal abortions varies greatly based on where you live, plus a ton of other factors. So, we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who have had abortions to share their experiences. Here are the responses that prove access to reproductive health goes beyond legality and also depends upon location, socioeconomic status, support, privilege, and so much more:
1. "I actually had an abortion in Texas a couple years ago. Living in central Texas, I really only had two options: Waco or Austin. At the time, I had to wait a couple of weeks in order to even be seen, and then I had to wait 48 hours until I could actually have one. To be honest, it was difficult because at the time, my partner's only income was with the Marine Corps reserve, and mine was two part-time jobs due to the fact that the area didn’t have enough job security."
"So, it made it extremely difficult in planning how I was going to even attend both appointments, given the fact there were days I worked both jobs and both clinics were roughly an hour away give or take traffic. To this day, I thank a really good friend for helping take me. The misconception that abortions are easy to get is far from reality, especially when you factor in locations/laws/job/overall real life. I nor my partner have any regrets about the abortion and are thankful we decided to do it."
2. "I got pregnant when I was 18. It was after a one-night stand and I had no way of contacting the guy after. I had just started going to college, was still living with my grandmother, and working a minimum wage job. I would not have been able to financially support a baby. I was still struggling to support myself, and was nowhere near ready to be a mom. I found out I was pregnant at about 6 weeks. Fortunately, I live in a state where abortion is legal and I was able to call Planned Parenthood and get an appointment the following week. I was 6 weeks and 6 days, so I was just barely able to take a total of two pills, 24 hours apart before the 7 week cutoff. It was painful, but worth it. It was never an easy decision, but there was no other option for me at the time, and thankfully I was able to have a safe abortion."
3. "I was 15 years old, and living in a foster home as a ward of the state. I found out I was pregnant at 9 weeks. I knew that I was nowhere near ready for a baby. Thankfully, I had an aunt who helped me pay for it. Because I was a ward of the state, I had to talk with a judge to get approval. I’m very lucky he approved it. It was odd to have a man I never met before make such a huge decision about MY life."
"The morning of my procedure, a woman who worked at my group home followed me around begging me to change my mind and 'save my baby,' warning me I’d be damned to hell. The women at the Planned Parenthood I visited were kind and calming. After my procedure, I remember being wheeled out in a wheelchair to my ride and vomiting near the pro-life protesters. I’m now 31 years old with two wonderful sons and no regrets. If put in the same situation, I’d make the same choice."
4. "I was 21 years old and about to graduate college. I didn’t have any money, and the father (a hookup) lived across the country. I couldn’t afford it, so he offered to pay. I already had a trip planned to where he was living about a week after I found out, so we met up and he gave me the money. I then scheduled the procedure, but had to wait a few weeks before they could get me in. I went in alone. I knew I was pregnant after four weeks, but the abortion happened at eight weeks and four days. I will never forget that, because they put an ultrasound wand up my vagina without telling me what it was, and announced it before I could say I didn’t want to know."
"I opted to be awake for the procedure because it was cheaper. I shouldn’t have, because it was so horrible I almost passed out. I remember the woman holding my hand had to tell them to stop because she was losing me. I took the train home by myself afterward. The recovery was like a bad period."
5. "I live in the UK, so my abortion was free and there were no roadblocks. I got pregnant just as I turned 18. I knew the father would never stick around, and my family offered no support. I told the doctor that's what I'd decided, and I went to the hospital to have it done under general aesthetic. I was a little sore afterwards, but well enough to walk home an hour later. I received no support from the NHS afterwards (though I could've asked for therapy) and none from my family, and muddled through entirely on my own. Though I knew — and still know — it was the right move, every year since around the month that my baby would've been born, I wonder 'what if.'"
6. "I was in Korea when I had the abortion. It had just become illegal at that point, so I had to do quite a search to find a clinic that would perform the operation. I had to pay cash — around $500 USD. I had an ultrasound with the doctor, and he confirmed that I was 7 weeks pregnant. He explained the process, then the nurse took me into the operating room and left me there to get changed into a gown. She came back in with the doctor and put a mask over me for general anesthesia. I felt a little high, then the nurse came to check on me, and I told her that the anesthesia must not have worked, because I was still awake. She said the procedure was done and that I could get dressed and go into the recovery room."
"That was 11 years ago. It doesn't affect me too much psychologically, and never did. But every year in July, I still think, 'My potential son (for some reason, I've always thought it would've been a boy) would be X years old if I'd had him."
7. "When I was 21, the condom broke on a one night stand. Two weeks later, I was homeless. Two more weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. I had no stable job or place to live, and was in no way capable of providing for an unexpected life after believing I was safe with my sexual choices. The abortion clinic I went to was kind and respectful, but the experience was surreal. I remember looking up during the procedure to one, singular ceiling tile, designed with a waterfall scene and sweet animals, to focus on while I went through it."
"Afterwards, I was sat in a room with other girls who had just gone through the same thing. Ellen Degeneres was on TV while we all sat in silence. The girl beside me could have only been 14 years old. We shared a look, and I held out my hand to her as an invitation of comfort. We sat connected in our experience, and I sent all my love and healing to her in that moment. I'm grateful for the service I was able to receive, as a right that all who can procreate should have."
8. "I left my abusive boyfriend and drove across the US to move back in with my parents. I found out I was pregnant about a week later. My parents said I had to get an abortion, or I couldn't stay with them anymore. I went to Planned Parenthood a few days later. I had to have an ultrasound and counseling first. I was 8 weeks pregnant. I was very upset, and they kept pressuring me to think about my decision more. They told me to come back the next day. They made me get another ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat. Finally, I was able to have the abortion pills. It was emotionally very difficult, but I was happy to have the option available to me."
9. "I live in Wyoming, so in order to access an abortion, I had to go to a neighboring state."
10. "I was in college and didn't fully appreciate all the hoops I had to jump through. I went to Planned Parenthood, where I had to sit through counseling. Then, I was referred to their clinic across town. I had to go again, confirm I was pregnant, have a transvaginal ultrasound, and listen to my options again. Then, I had to go home and come back three days later for the procedure itself. They had an optional light sedative, so I took it. Afterwards, I sat in a recliner for a bit until they confirmed I had no adverse effects, and I was sent home with a little sheet of aftercare instructions for physical symptoms."
"No one ever mentioned that the drop-off in your hormones can cause depression, so I thought it was just guilt when I felt terrible after. Luckily, I had a good friend who encouraged me to get help and found a doctor who helped me get on medication to deal with the hormonal imbalances and depression. We expend so much energy just fighting against the whittling away of this essential medical treatment, that there's nothing left to normalize providing a full range of treatment after. It was a difficult choice, but I have never regretted the decision because it was the right one for me. It's highly personal, and the fact that so many people can't respect that and stay out of it is a travesty."
11. "It was technically easy, but I almost didn't make it in time. I found out I was pregnant past the 6 week mark, closer to 8 weeks. I was impregnated by my boyfriend at the time, who was 10 years older than me. I was 18. He was on drugs and the relationship was extremely abusive and he was violent towards me. There was no doubt in my mind that getting an abortion was the best choice. I didn't feel safe bringing a baby into that world, and I did not want to be tied to him for the rest of my life. Once I found out from a Planned Parenthood pregnancy test that I was indeed pregnant, it was a race to get the appointment for the termination scheduled in time. I almost didn't make it, and I live in California, where we're very protected."
"I have never been so scared as I when I was worried I'd miss the window. I have no regrets. I absolutely did what was best for me. It makes me sad to think any woman would have that choice taken away."
12. "It was a bit challenging to gain access to an abortion. I found out I was pregnant at about six weeks. I'd just graduated high school from a conservative Christian small town area. Any deviation from the norm or what was deemed inappropriate was extremely frowned upon. I couldn't ask my parents for help or support, since I knew if they found out I would've been disowned and ostracized from the community. Luckily, my boyfriend (now husband) and his family were able to help. His family was supportive of whatever option I decided to choose. I chose to get an abortion. I had to lie to my parents as to why I'd be gone all day. We traveled roughly 87 miles — 1.5 hours away — to the nearest clinic. My boyfriend was extremely against the idea of an abortion, but still took me to the clinic. I got the surgical option to minimize the chance of my parents finding out, since I still lived at home. "
"I went through the procedure alone. After that, we went back to his house for me to recuperate, before I went back to my parents' house. After that, I took the post-meds in secret, I kept them in a un-labeled plastic bag that I stowed inside my mattress. I never told them, my siblings, or anyone I knew other than my boyfriend and his family. If I didn't have my boyfriend and his family's support, I would've taken a more unsafe way of ending it. I would've done anything to end the pregnancy."