Y'all Aren't Alone: My Abortion in the Lone Star State
I sat on the floor of my bathroom, anxiously awaiting the test results. My mother was on the phone, reassuring me that everything would be fine. I knew something was wrong, though. My period was about two weeks late, and my period always arrived like clockwork.
The worst game is the waiting game
As I waited, the impossibility of the situation flooded my mind. I'm only 22, I don't have a stable paycheck and I'm in the middle of graduate school. This cannot be happening to me. As the two lines appeared on the pregnancy test to indicate that I was, in fact, pregnant, the impossible became real.
My choice to get an abortion was not a difficult one. The only difficult aspect was the anti-choice stigma and the barriers to health care in my home state of Texas that often disproportionately impact low-income and Latinx people. In addition to those barriers, I didn't even know where to go for an abortion or what the process would be like. The only images I knew came from the highly dramatized, and often inaccurate, scenarios played out in movies and TV shows.
After researching the process and visiting the Whole Woman's Health website, I was able to schedule an appointment at a clinic more than an hour away from my apartment. At the time, I didn't have a car. Luckily, my parents were supportive and took me to my first appointment.
Sadly, not everyone is as lucky as I was. Some people do not or cannot share their experience with their loved ones or family members, for fear of retribution or judgment. Teenagers, in particular, can go through an extremely isolating experience. According to Advocates for Youth, “30 percent of teens who do not tell their parents about their abortions feared violence or being forced to leave home.”
I will be forever grateful for my family's support.
The big day(s)
The day of my first appointment, my mother walked with me, head held high, as two aggressive anti-choice protesters outside the clinic yelled at us about our “sinfulness.” Despite their abuse, however, I felt powerful and in control of my life in a way that I never had been before.
The waiting room was filled with patients,some with family, some with a partner or friends. The nurses and practitioners were welcoming and informative, and after confirming the pregnancy, they went over the details of the treatment.
I learned that patients who are fewer than 10 to 11 weeks pregnant, as I was, can have what is called a medical abortion. Also referred to as the abortion pill, medical abortion is a safe combination of pills that are used to terminate a pregnancy. This method is extremely effective, with an efficacy rate of 98 percent. After explaining all of this to me, they gave me the first pill, mifepristone, which I took in the office. The next pill, misoprostol, I took later at home.
Before taking the second pill, I tried to prepare myself for what I thought would be a traumatic experience. I expected excruciating pain. Tears. Unbearable guilt. All reactions I had seen in Hollywood versions of abortion.
My experience was nothing like that.
While, of course, everyone's circumstances are different, I experienced only mild cramping, which I lessened by walking around my apartment and using a heating pad, and bleeding that was slightly heavier than my typical period. The cramping and heavy bleeding lasted about half a day and then it was over.
My roommate took me to my checkup appointment, which confirmed the pregnancy was successfully terminated. At that appointment, I was once again harassed by anti-choice advocates. But it didn't matter. Because of my abortion, I was free from a life that I didn't plan on and to which I didn't consent.
Hope & health care
Years later, I have my graduate degree and I love my career. I have a healthy relationship with a supportive partner, and we are building our life together. All of these accomplishments were possible because of my abortion.
So many people can't afford treatment or access treatment because of anti-choice barriers and stigma. I am thankful every day for my support system, my abortion provider, Whole Woman's Health, and organizations such as the Lilith Fund that work tirelessly to ensure reproductive justice for all.
Seeking an abortion—especially in an overwhelmingly conservative state like Texas—can be daunting. But there's one fact you must remember: Y'all aren't alone.
*The author's name has been withheld at their request due to the sensitive nature of the topic. These views and opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Giddy or any members of its staff.
Abortion is a medical procedure that is currently illegal or restricted in some portions of the United States. For more information about the legality of abortion in your area, please consult a local healthcare provider.