9 Older Women Share Their Harrowing Back Alley Abortion Stories

1. Mary, 76 -years-old

I am 76 years old and had 4 illegal abortions in my twenties. I was and am intelligent and a fast learner. However, I was ignorant of how to protect myself from pregnancy, was convinced that a man had every right to call the shots in a sexual encounter( Who was I to tell him to stop? Hadnt I let him kiss me ?), and was extremely fertile( I became pregnant using a diaphragm ). That combining still exists even though abortion is legal and, if a young lady fits that description, she should contact Planned Parenthood and find out what the bargain is.

I was extremely lucky that I was able to situate a nurse skilled in giving abortions in NJ for three of my abortions( she never told me about contraception but did take me to a doctor for a D& C) and a woman in Harlem who was also skilled. One abortion was done when I was 5 months pregnant. Another was done at the behest of my then-husband who informed me he didnt want infants. I was so totally alleviated after each abortion and abstained from sexuality for months after each one. It took a friend of mine to clue me about Planned Parenthood where I was fitted for a diaphragm.

I have never had a moments remorse about any of these abortions. I had good reasons for each one. I still believe that raising children is an enormous responsibility that I am glad I postponed until I was ripen and with a man I loved who also loved me. It was hard enough to raise children under these circumstances. I cant imagine what I would have done if I had been forced to have 4 infants!

What I truly suffered from was my ignorance, passivity( the inability to say no) and my fertility. I think women still have that problem even though there is supposedly sex ed in school and abortion is legal. We are brought up to be obedient and to keep our sexuality repressed. It took me until I was 55 to truly enjoy intercourse with a male lover. I never thought of exploring my sexuality with a woman and only learned about oral sex with my boyfriend in my 60 s.

It is so important to feeling empowered in a sexual relationship and not be worried about ones performance and what will he think? I advise anyone who is in this barge to free yourself from the stance because who you are sexually is a large part of their own lives. Explore your sexuality with someone you totally trust who loves you.

2. Mabel, 75 -years-old

In 1966 I was 31, wedded with 2 infants( born 1964 and 1965) and 3 months pregnant with my third infant in as many years. I had an IUD in place. I was also nursing!

I knew I could not have another child so soon. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was working, doing family work, 13 hours a day, seven days a week. My spouse was not one who pitched in, changing diapers, doing laundry etc. We were an old fashioned couple brought up in the ethos of the fifties that focused on being in service to your spouse, whose needs trumped everyones.

My doctor was sympathetic and with his aid I located an abortionist in Nevada. He, however, was on vacation. The next step was Tijuana. I had the support of my husband and we went, leaving the other 2 children with a baby sitter. The abortionist was kind. I sobbed uncontrollably as soon as “were in” back on U.S. clay. It was one of the most difficult and best decisions of my life.

It is difficult for me now to imagine what I was willing to put on the line: my life. I was risking everything. If I died, my two children would have been without me. My spouse would have remarried. My parents would have blamed him. The entangled repercussions are painful to picture.

Indeed, the Right is stimulating up a disorder, another desperate attempt to void Roe vs Wade. I would never want my daughters-in-law to have to face the balance that my husband and I faced. And why should they? In all cultures, in all history and pre-history females have had to make the decision whether they could provide for yet another being. They stimulated it alone, they carried it out alone in the best interests of the survival of those who were living. For the Right to reserve the right to massacre others in war and at the same hour blithely accuse women of murder is beyond ludicrous.

3. Susan, 59 -years-old

It was 1970 and I was nineteen years old. It was a perfect Southern California night& I was hitchhiking with a male friend. The roadways were busy and soon a car stopped and my life was changed forever with that encounter. Raped, brutalized, beaten, and tortured by two men. I survived that ordeal only to be repeatedly victimized( and in the process dishonor into stillnes) by the systems in place that were there to supposedly help me. The police whom I first reported the crime, and gave him my underwear& other apparel to, I found out afterwards, didnt file a report. The doctor in the emergency room, where I was taken, accused me of lying. Afterwards when I learned I was pregnant, I started the process,( the only option at that time ), to procure a legal abortion by being proclaimed mentally ill by a psychiatrist. I had to submit to psychiatric testing and conference after conference with an unsympathetic man who stimulated it obvious that he had no respect or empathy for me or for what I had experienced.

The system moved slowly& the weeks of my pregnancy went by. I was panic stricken of being too far along in my pregnancy to be legally allowed to have an abortion. I was so emotionally wrecked I couldnt work so I quit my job, my car broke down alongside the road and I merely walked away from it. I had no support system. I felt that what had happened to me( and the system confirmed this) was so despicable that I couldnt share it with anyone. I implored the male friend who was there not ever to speak of it to anyonebut of course he did.

My life stopped entirely. I just stayed at home curled up in a chair, too fearful to sleep during the night and too ashamed to connect with any of my friends. They all knew but feigned they didntit was painfully uncomfortable so I stopped seeing anyone. Ultimately, I received an appointment at the local hospital. I went aloneanother horrible, isolating experience. The whispers, gazes and insensitivity of the nurses reporting duty was devastating. I have no recollection of meeting the doctor. I was completely and utterly alone through the whole ordeal and after it. But it get done.

I bled heavily for a month afterwards, I passed big pieces of tissue and was very scared. One night I passed out, I believe, from the loss of blood. The doctor who performed the abortion refused me a follow-up appointment. I was too ashamed to go to another doctor for help. Somehow I survived.

Over the years, I have remained committed to Pro-Choice objectives so that no other young lady would have to go through what I did to get an abortion. I have stood in solidarity with every woman, under any circumstances, to make that same option. I am immensely grateful that Planned Parenthood exists& continues to offer females a supportive, empathetic, safe place to have an abortion.

Do I have any unhappiness? No. Am I sorry? Absolutely not! That abortion allowed me a second chance ,( despite all the obstacles the system placed in my route) to get on with my life. I had three wonderful, blissful pregnancies which produced three incredible( now, young adult) infants that I adore. I have a fabulous( still madly in love) matrimony to the man of my dreamings. I have never appeared back on my decision to have an abortion as being anything but the right one. Be strong, my sisters, and have no dread or remorse in stimulating the right choice for you.

4. Nan, 78 -years-old

The year was 1949 I was just 17 years old and a college freshman. My mother had remarried in 1945 and I was resentful of my stepfather who was a prof at the local college. My parents were tired of the sulkiness and told me I would live in the college dormitory, which suited me very wellfreedom!

While there was liquor served at faculty parties in our home, I had never truly enjoyed drinking. I did drink beer at the college hangout, and oneor maybe tworendered me pretty silly and uninhibited. I had a friend who lived across the hall in the dorm and had a steady boyfriend. One night he came here with a friend of his and we unfurled a blanket on the dorm lawn by the pond and began drinking a bottle of wine. Eventually, we drove to Bowers Mansion, a place in the Carson Valley about 15 miles from Reno. I recollect Ann and her boyfriend took a blanket and strayed off, and left me in the car with the date. He challenged me to a game of taking off our clothes, and I supposed this was pretty funny. Eventually, of course, the sexual contact happened. It was painful, since it was my first time, and it seemed totally unreal and as if they were happening to someone else.

My period didnt come and I called my mother, scared of you. They contacted their family doctor/ friend, who dedicated them a name of someone to take me to. There was no anesthesia, much ache and bleeding and a visit to the family doctor for penicillin and who knows what else afterward. I have never regretted this I was wholly unprepared for a child and did not even know the man involved. My only feelings were of gratitude that I didnt “re going to have to” suffer the consequences of a foolish act on my part, and that my family stimulated the decision for me. I have thought of it through the years, and only been mad that I wasnt involved in deciding, but I was pretty panicked, so maybe it was better. I would not have decided any differently after all. Raised by my mother, I was not a sentimental newborn lover at that stage in my life.

5. Linda

My story began 37 years ago when abortions were not legal. I was in college, and had fulfilled the man who would afterwards become my husband.

To tell I observed myself pregnant voices so foolish to me now, but I was frighteningly nave back then. He felt that matrimony was the logical next step, but I knew that graduating from college was my priority and was scared of my parents reaction. Names of physicians came from everyone, but no one I knew had ever truly fulfilled them. After numerous phone calls where my request for an abortion was met with a hang up, I tried asking for an appointment instead and was successful.

We had to travel some distance, and the expense of $300 plus a hotel room, was far beyond our budget without assistance from friends.

The procedure was done without anesthesia, and there was no recovery period, however the doctor was very kind. In our youthful optimism, we barely realise how dangerous this could have turned out. I was one of the luck ones. I had a wonderful partner, I observed a real doctor, and had caring friends to assist. Many women in those days were not as fortunate. I learned that the man I loved was indeed a man who would support me in a difficult situation.

We afterwards wedded and had 3 infants who were planned for and eagerly anticipated by all our extended family.

We have never regretted our decision.

Today I look back on that experience as the beginning of a life dedicated to a women right to make safe and healthy selections for her future and their own families. I serve on the Board of Directors at a Planned Parenthood, bodyguard females past harassing protestors at a womens clinic, and supervise a volunteer money which provides financial help to women who cannot afford an abortion. I have never been sorry, Ive been motivated!

6. Lily, 64 -years-old

It was 1962 and I was 16 years old. Abortion was not legal. Id had a steady boyfriend since I was 14 and we didnt truly know a great deal about birth control. When I discovered I was pregnant my best friend told me that she had overheard a route to induce a miscarriage. It involved not eating or drinking for three days, then drinking a glass of castor petroleum, and taking an extremely hot bath, and douching with vinegar. Well, I tried all of it, with her assistance, but it didnt work. I went to my family doctor who had delivered me and my siblings, and he sadly explained that there was nothing he could do. So my boyfriend and I figured marriage “re going to have to” get married. That entailed I wouldnt going to see college and he would drop out of school to get a job.

Fortunately, my boyfriend told my older sister who had had three children by the time she was 20 and she said No route! She arranged for me to have an illegal abortion. It was performed by an older female whom I was told was a nurse. She was sweet and motherly. I was alleviated that she was not some greasy seeming male doctor. She inserted a catheter into my uterus, and a large tampon-like object to hold it in place. My sister was with me the whole hour and it took place in the backroom of neighborhood medical office. Within several days I began to hemorrhage. She called me to see if I was OK, and then said, I never want to see you again. It was only later that I found out that I could have had an embolism and died as a result of that procedure.

I went on to go to college, to split up with that boyfriend, and to result a very different life than I would have if I hadnt had that abortion. In the 1970 s I became an abortion activist and also worked for several years as an abortion counselor.

I sometimes think of what my life would have been like or what my child might have been like. But I have no unhappiness. I have one son, adopted. His birth mother considered having an abortion but changed her mind. That seems to close the circle somehow.

7. Serena, 59 -years-old

I was 19 in the spring of 1970. A freshman in college, the pill was brand new. I got pregnant the first time I had sexuality with my boyfriend. I had to go to an OB/ GYN office in Scottsdale for a pregnancy test. Most of the women in the waiting room were quite pregnant. After the test, when I called the clinic, the doctor said Congratulations! Youre pregnant. Would you like to make an appointment for prenatal care? There was no way I was going to have a newborn. I always felt in control and it was my life so my boyfriend and I started asking questions.

A friend of my boyfriend had gotten his girlfriend pregnant. They had received a guy a former medical student, supposedly. His girlfriend lived in an apartment by herself so they arranged for this guy to do her abortion. She said he indicated up at her doorway one night, took her into the bedroom, inserted a catheter into her uterus and then left. She had a miscarriage the next day in the toilet in her apartment. Voiced awful to me so we looked for other options.

A fellow student at Arizona State told me that a sociology prof would give you information about abortion. I went to his office and he gave me an address. He said to send them$ 5 and that they would send you information on where you could get an abortion. I sent the$ 5 and they sent me a list of information, about 5 or 6 pages long via a new mail service overnight delivery. I got it in got a couple of days from somewhere in New York state. The organization that sent it afterwards became NARAL and Ive been a member ever since.

I didnt tell my parents. I didnt want to frustrate them or be pressured to get married and have a newborn. I wanted to be in charge of my own life. I never considered that having a newborn at that time was in any way a reasonable option.

As I recollect, abortion was only legal in NY pretty far from Arizona. But it was available in Mexico only a few hours away from Tempe. I called the clinic in Mexico and with my rudimentary Spanish made an appointment for that going Saturday. A friend of my boyfriend was going to drive us down there, but he got drunk and was hurled in jail the night before. So my husband borrowed a car from his grandfather and drove me down there.

I had a D& C with general anesthetic in a clinic merely over the border from Yuma, AZ. When I awoke and went to the toilet it was a beautiful place, very clean. It looked like a resort motel. They gave me some antibiotics and cautioned us to buy some keepsakes before we strolled back over the border. At the time it was not legal for American females to have abortions in Mexico, but it was legal for Mexican females. We took other women with us through the border checkpoint because she had come by herself. We then strolled back to our car and drove home.

I started hemorrhaging about a week afterwards and went to my family doctor. Stupid of me because he was quite Catholic and, I found out much afterwards, very much against abortion. He analyzed me, told me Id lost almost my blood and sent the nurse out of the room. He then asked me if I were pregnant. I assured him I wasnt, giggling to myself. I had a transfusion and, I think, some medications to stop the bleeding. After that I was fine.

I aimed up marriage my boyfriend, though we divorced several years later. He and I remain friends to this day. When Roe v. Wade decriminalize abortion in the US I exulted. It makes me crazy that men, who control so much of our legal system are the ones who have the power to decide women reproductive rights. I was in a demo in Washington DC in 1988( I think) for abortion rights and hundreds of thousands of women demonstrating for their right to have a safe, legal abortion. The best telling I heard and insured on posters was Keep your laws off my body.

I have had a wonderful life and have never regretted having that abortion. The only regret is that I had to go to Mexico and could have died if the doctor had punctured my uterus or if Id had an infection. D& C is riskier than the procedures developed afterwards and I was forced to have one in Mexico. Women will always have abortions, whether it is legal or illegal. They always have. They always will. My decisions about my body and how I will live my life concern no one except myself. I have never had any children and dont regret that at all.

I now live in Denver, CO and volunteer at a clinic where protesters( mostly men) picket. We stroll with the women who come for abortions from their cars to the clinic. At least I wasnt subjected to the dread and intimidation that is the stock in trade of those loonies. I usually remind the women that 100% of those men will never get pregnant and truly have little understanding of childbirth or child rearing.

8. Camille, 73 -years-old

When I was 21 and married to my first spouse I became pregnant. I had always been adamant about not wanting infants. Despite this, my husband at the time encouraged me to carry the newborn to term. I had no intention of doing so and instead attempted out what was, at the time, an illegal abortion. By the time I actually observed someone to do the procedure, however, I was 4 months pregnant.

The procedure itself went very badly and I had to be hospitalized. At the hospital, the doctors somehow then managed to save the pregnancy which stimulated me exceedingly angry but that was the law at the time and the doctors were required to do that. Desperate, I managed to speak to one particular nurse who was sympathetic and was willing to conduct the abortion properly in the middle of the night.

9. Keese

In 1971, I was raped and viciously beaten by an invader in my apartment. I ended up in the nearest teaching hospitals emergency room. I had a fractured jaw, three broken rib, I was black and blue from forehead to knees, and I had severe internal lacerations. The first 18 hours were a blur. My biggest fret was that the crawling had impregnated me. I wasnt on birth control and he certainly didnt use a condom. The resident responsible for my care told me, You are experiencing vaginal bleeding. Were going to perform a D& C which should stop the bleeding. I had the D& C. I wasnt bleeding.

The rapist was caught soon after and sent to prison for 9 years for six serial rapes. From incarcerate his friends and family threatened all of his accusers. From prison he sued one of his accusers, who dedicated birth to the product of rape, for detention of that baby.

The rape occurred in 2 years before the Roe v. Wade decision. I dont know if I was pregnant and neither did that doctor but consider what would have happened to me HAD I been pregnant. I would have been denied an abortion.

That rape, like the Roe v. Wade case, happened in Dallas.

Im not sorry. Im not sorry at all. I never wanted to be a mother. I certainly would never have wanted the newborn of a man who hated females so much he would rape them.

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