Abortion Is Healthcare: 14 Women Share Their Powerful Stories

abortion stories
Graphics by: Kirra Wallace

It’s been nearly two months since the Supreme Court’s decision to abolish Roe v. Wade. But already, the impact and ramifications of removing the federal protection on abortion and moving it to the states are being felt across the country. While horrific stories of denied abortions and ectopic pregnancies turning into medical emergencies are just beginning, we’ve also seen glimmers of hope with stories of citizens mobilizing in states like voters in Kansas rejecting an amendment that would’ve added an abortion ban to their state’s constitution and in Michigan where advocates are breaking petition records to get abortion protections on the ballot in November.

Stories have power. They personalize and contextualize complex issues. They can open eyes, build empathy, and reserve judgment. So when one in four women has had an experience with abortion, it’s no surprise there are a lot of stories out there. Many of our brave readers have agreed to share their experiences with abortion with us and with you. The stories are deeply personal—and show how abortion is healthcare.

Thank you for trusting us at The Everygirl Media Group for sharing your stories with us.

 

Abortion saved my life after having an ectopic pregnancy.

In August of 2021, I had an ectopic pregnancy. The day it was confirmed via ultrasound at my OBGYN’s office, I was informed it had ruptured, and I needed emergency surgery that day. At the hospital, it was confirmed the rupture was breaking apart my Fallopian tube. I needed it removed immediately to survive. The surgery was to remove the ectopic, and it also required the removal of my Fallopian tube. Now, I’m at higher risk of another ectopic pregnancy occurring in the future. It is horrifying to think about what I will do and what my doctors will do if this happens to me again.

 

Without a D&C, I could have gotten an infection or worse after my fetus’ heart stopped beating.

I became pregnant with my first child at age 29. At week eight, the doctors noticed the fetus was not growing properly. Within two days, the heart stopped beating. I had to get a D&C to remove the dead fetus from my body. With these new laws, I would have had to wait until my body got rid of the fetus (if it did) on its own, potentially causing harm and infection. Women should have the choice and autonomy over their bodies. I am so thankful I had a choice to make in my own medical care.

 

abortion stories

 

I wasn’t ready for another baby and made the difficult decision to seek an abortion.

I was in my twenties and already had two children—7 years old and 18 months. My husband and I were poor and struggling to feed and clothe the two children we already had. Life wasn’t going great. I was depressed, our relationship was strained, and we were always stressed about money and how we were going to pay our rent. Then I found out I was pregnant again. There was absolutely no way I could bring another child into the world at that time. We did not have families or friends who could help us raise another child, and there was no way I could carry this pregnancy to term and go through an adoption process. For me personally, that would have been too traumatic for myself and my husband, so I made the incredibly difficult choice to seek an abortion.

I had to pay $360, and just coming up with the money to pay that was difficult. I think we had to do a payday loan and eat ramen just to get by. Going to the clinic was not easy. I was shamed by women and men holding signs, telling me I was going to hell for murdering a baby.

I’d like to also add that my husband underwent a vasectomy after our third child was born. He wanted to participate in his reproductive responsibility in our relationship.

 

Abortion was my only option during my fertility treatments.

I’ve had two abortions, and both were due to fertility treatments. My husband and I did IVF and successfully created embryos. I had an embryo transfer, and things were looking good! I went for my six-week ultrasound, and the doctor informed me that I had a blighted ovum (meaning there was a sac) but no baby inside. I had to have a medicated abortion to get rid of the blighted ovum.

I had another abortion when I had another embryo transfer. My blood test results revealed that I had an ectopic pregnancy, and the embryo had traveled up into my Fallopian tube. I was supposed to be getting on a flight for a work trip that day and was informed that if my Fallopian tube bursts mid-air, I could die if I couldn’t get medical attention.

 

abortion stories

 

My baby wouldn’t have survived, and without abortion, neither would I.

I was pregnant with my first child (at the age of 36) and developed severe preeclampsia at 20 weeks. Leading up to this, our first genetic test came back inconclusive and the doctor said it could have a trisomy. We did another genetic test, and it came back normal. At my anatomy scan at 18 weeks, the baby was measuring small—so much so that we had an amniocentesis done for additional genetic testing since the other came back normal. That was done at 19 weeks. Less than a week later, I ended up in the hospital and was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia. They said the only way for me to survive was to get the baby out. Since the baby was measuring small and I was only 20 weeks, there would be no way for the baby to survive, so they induced me. I signed the paperwork for the abortion procedure. Moments later, my water broke, and I chose to have a stillbirth so I could see my baby boy.

 

I’m choosing to have a baby at a time that is right for me.

I got pregnant around age 25 from a casual and regular hookup and during a time when I was depressed and didn’t really have a clear vision for my future. I went back and forth on whether I was going to keep the baby and be a single parent. I went to a prenatal appointment, but ultimately, I decided it wasn’t the right time and circumstance for me. I got the abortion pills from a local planned parenthood, and the abortion itself was very easy and almost painless—just a quiet night at home on the couch. The process of making the decision was the hardest part for me. The experience gave me a lot of clarity on whether I wanted kids in the future (yes), where I wanted to be in life (in my hometown in a different state, near family), and the circumstances of my potential future pregnancy (with a partner I love). Now, five years later, I am in a loving relationship and plan to start trying to get pregnant this year.

 

abortion stories

 

It took me several life-saving D&C’s to have two babies my husband and I have always wanted.

My husband and I always knew we wanted to have a family. On our second wedding anniversary, we found out we were pregnant for the first time. At our second ultrasound, the baby was measuring behind with a slow heartbeat. Week after week for a month we went back only to see minimal growth and the heartbeat slow. At 11 weeks, there was little to no heartbeat, and I was given misoprostol. I saw my baby exit my body onto my bathroom floor on Christmas Eve. I was emotionally and physically destroyed. Eight months later, I was in the ER in the middle of the night with extreme bleeding. It was my 27th birthday. I was losing yet another baby. A D&C was scheduled right away to remove “the retained products of conception” and to stop the bleeding. I went on to discover that my husband is the carrier of a genetic condition that causes miscarriage. I had an additional four miscarriages and three more D&Cs. I completed three rounds of IVF and five embryo transfers to have my two sons. Abortion is not just a choice, it saves lives and preserves fertility. Each of my babies was wanted and loved but “were incompatible with life.” I should not have to lose mine for a child that can’t survive.

 

I wasn’t able to have the baby I wanted due to my cancer diagnosis.

Early last fall, I was blindsided by a breast cancer diagnosis. I was 32 and had no family history of any cancer. One of the first questions my oncologist asked me was, “Have you thought about starting a family?” The regimen of chemotherapy I would be put on would strongly impact my ability to conceive children, so I had to make a choice at that moment. I was also told by my oncologist that I could no longer use hormonal birth control as a method of contraception, nor would it be advisable for me to get pregnant while on chemotherapy. If my husband and I wanted to have sex, we could use condoms, but short of a vasectomy and abstinence, there were no other options. Before each round of chemotherapy, I had to get routine blood work done, as well as take a pregnancy test. Right before my second round, the pregnancy test came back positive. I was pregnant and devastated. Devastated because I knew I couldn’t carry this baby to term and continue treatment, devastated because I knew without this treatment my fast-moving cancer would likely have time to metastasize before I could birth this child, and devastated because before my diagnosis, my husband and I had made the decision that we wanted to start a family after being married for several years and this baby would’ve otherwise been so welcomed and so loved.

 

Having a baby could’ve put me in a dangerous situation.

When I was 16 years old, I found out I was pregnant. I don’t have a crazy story—I just wasn’t ready to be a mom at such a young age. I was in a very unhealthy relationship with a manipulative person, and I made the very difficult decision to have an abortion. Aside from being young, I was concerned about being tied to my ex (an extremely dysfunctional person) for the rest of my life and how it would affect a child. I grew up in a very conservative household, and I was terrified that having a baby would tear apart my family. Of course, it would have been a struggle to finish high school, let alone go to college.

 

abortion stories

 

After being assaulted, Plan B failed.

During my senior year of college, we went out to celebrate my birthday, and we clearly celebrated too hard as I needed to be walked home by a male “friend.” That “friend” ended up staying over and having sex with me without my knowledge or consent. The next morning, he told me what happened, and I was sick to my stomach. How could I allow this to happen? I was ashamed and felt immense guilt. I chose to get the morning-after pill, but unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. I found out I was pregnant, and I thought my life was over. Luckily, I live in IL and was able to receive an abortion at my school. While it was an extremely difficult process and decision, I knew in my heart it was the right one for me and my life. I went on to be happily married and have beautiful children of my own.

 

We never wanted children and chose not to have a child.

My boyfriend (now husband) and I experienced a condom failure while I was transitioning off of hormonal birth control (due to ongoing physical issues, including excessive bleeding, IUD complications, elevated genetic breast cancer risk, my age, etc.), and I became pregnant. I was 37 years old, well-educated, in an incredibly stable and healthy relationship, professionally successful, financially stable, etc. We were the poster children for the type of couple who should procreate. Yet, I have never wanted children. There was no question in our minds that we would abort.

Physically, it was taxing and painful. I actually fainted due to blood loss over the 72 hours that followed the second pill, causing my body to physically pass the fetus. I then experienced delayed complications of excessive, unstoppable bleeding two weeks later that sent me to the ER for blood loss and fainting. Despite my complications, I would still choose abortion 100 percent of the time. I’ve never regretted it, nor felt remorse or sadness.

 

abortion stories

 

My only options were a D&E or miscarrying a very wanted pregnancy—I chose abortion.

A very wanted second pregnancy, devastatingly, was determined to not be viable. There was no heartbeat at the first ultrasound, but we had to endure three subsequent ultrasounds because measurements were a little off and providers were not sure if things could possibly change based on the growth of the embryo. The rising hope, anxiety, and crushing disappointment of each one were taxing, to say the least. My husband and I made the difficult choice for me to undergo a D&E procedure rather than wait for my body to miscarry the pregnancy on its own, which we thought would have a greater impact on my physical and mental health and also delay us from trying again (and given my advanced maternal age—time is a relevant factor in our family planning). I had already started showing since it was the beginning of my third month by the time we were given the clear to have the procedure. I still mourn the loss of the baby we will never know but am lucky enough to say we are a couple of short weeks away from welcoming another child into our family and are so grateful to have had choices that allowed us to have the family we’ve always dreamed of. Every person deserves to have autonomy over their own body—regardless of circumstance. Thank you for doing your part to end stigma and shed light on the importance of choice.

 

I underwent two abortions for two very different reasons.

When I was 26, I was in an extremely toxic relationship. He was an alcoholic, and when something triggered his anger while drinking, he became irate, to say the least. As usual, we got into a huge fight one evening, and I decided I needed to end this for good. I told him I was done. About a week later, I felt all the symptoms of a UTI and went to my doctor to grab some antibiotics. She tells me, “You have a very faint positive line on this pregnancy test.” I chose to abort. There was no way I would be able to live with being tied to him forever with a child. It was extremely hard, but I had to for my own life.

Fast forward to two years ago, I am now happily married. We tested positive, and I was over the moon! I went in for a sonogram checkup and was told it was Ectopic, and I needed to go to the ER ASAP to have surgery because there was no time for any other option. I waited all night in the ER bed and then went in to have my unborn child removed because my life was at risk. They ended up taking my fallopian tube out, and I am now honestly afraid to try again since I’m at high risk for another ectopic pregnancy.

 

My baby wouldn’t survive, and going through the pregnancy could have led to cancer.

My husband and I had been together for 10 years at the time, and we’d been trying to get pregnant for about a year. We were starting to explore fertility options when we found out we were finally pregnant! We were ecstatic! A few weeks later, I had bleeding and an ultrasound revealed no heartbeat at 10 weeks. We were beyond devastated. I remember feeling numb as we waited in the doctor’s office to talk to the doctor about the next steps. When the doctor came in, she shared that the pregnancy was not viable, and it was a molar pregnancy. I had never heard of molar pregnancy and upon learning all about it, the complications vary, but for many, end with chemotherapy. The short version of that meeting with the doctor is that I would need an abortion because my body would never recognize that this wasn’t a viable pregnancy on its own. And the longer we waited, the more at risk I was of having cancer and it spreading. We scheduled a D&C for two days later. It was one of the most heartbreaking times of my entire life, and I am beyond thankful for the amazing doctors and nurses who acted swiftly so as to not endanger my life anymore. Because of having access to abortion, my husband and I were able to welcome a healthy baby boy, now a 3-year-old, into our family!

 

This article was originally published on The Everygirl on August 18, 2022.