June | Middle Tennessee
The main reason for my sharing my story is twofold. My grandmother died in an illegal abortion in 1933 that profoundly affected my mother, her siblings and family for a few generations.
In 1976 when abortion was legal, I too found myself fighting for my rights to reproductive freedom.
During my first six years of marriage, my cycle was unpredictable at best. I would bleed heavy clots for months and have months of no periods.
Upon expecting a diagnosis of pregnancy and at the initial visit, my gynecologist confirmed that I was pregnant. The problem was my uterus was the size of what a seventh month of pregnancy uterus should be and the fetus was the size of a four to six week.
My gynecologist thought my general health was at risk as the fetus probably died or if alive and survived would most likely be a vegetable requiring sophisticated medical care in an institution. My gynecologist told me to take time to decide, but the sooner the better.
This was before the days of ultrasound. After consulting with my husband and minister (who tried to remain neutral but is really pro life) I called my gynecologist as directed to schedule the therapeutic abortion. His nurse stated their office does not perform abortions and referred me to a cold, heartless doctor who ran his practice as a factory for abortions. He didn’t even keep the remains as directed to help the specialist understand why I had multiple miscarries.
I was admitted to a prestigious Pittsburgh hospital for a two night stay. This hospital was almost my second home as I had numerous D&Cs here and laparoscopies. I was surprised when the anesthesiologist was placing the mask over my nose, he whispered, ” You don’t have to do this, you can change your mind.” That was not helpful. Plus, it seemed to me that my post op experience was that the women who had abortions were the last to receive nursing care as compared to my other stays at the same hospital. We were the forgotten ones on the floor.
The great ending to the story is my personal gynecologist left the practice where the nurse told me they don’t perform abortions. He said that I was his patient and should have been the one to perform the procedure. I felt validated and supported in my choice. I thought that perhaps this would make it easier for other people in his practice facing the same decision.
My advice would be to question authority and believe in yourself for making the most personal decision of your life. My husband, daughter and I have no regrets. My wish is that medical professionals listen to the patient, treat without prejudice, explain post op, and if you don’t want to be associated with abortions, then work somewhere else. It’s a personal choice!
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