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Emotionally devastating

I had left my first husband and then found out I was pregnant.  I had one child who was a year old and had moved in with my parents who had 3 other children at home. At the time, abortion was only legal in NY state, so my former husband sent the money for a plane ticket and the abortion. I was picked up at the airport by the abortion clinic and taken to motel. The next day, they picked us up and took us to the "clinic", spoke to us for a few minutes, signed papers and then I was given general sedation. When I was (moderately) awake, I was taken back out to the van and back to the airport. I was half way across the country before I really woke up.

When I told my mother (with whom I was living at the time) I was pregnant, she took me to speak with a Lutheran minister. He used the now classic line, "Don't worry, its only a blob of tissue". It wasn't until years later in nursing school that I saw a picture of a 12 wk old "fetus" and realized that this blob of tissue looked like a baby. I also visited the Student Clinic at the university I was attending at the time. I was encouraged by the nurse there not to "let this ruin my life". I can't remember what I was told at the abortion clinic but by that point I don't know what I would've done, given the medical facts and the situation I found myself in at the time.

[The abortion was] physically painless. Emotionally devastating. Spiritually cathartic.

It became, at some unconscious level, the reference point for my life. Since my current husband of 28 years is a Vietnam Vet, he can fortunately understand how an experience such as that can become a defining moment He also has some sense of the social stigma which adds insult to injury when a person is not allowed to acknowledge their experience in "polite company".

Dealing with the abortion in a healthy way has been an ongoing process over the last 25 years. Like many women, initially I was only aware of being relieved not to have a pregnancy to deal with. But several years later, I returned (with joy) to the Church of my youth and made a sacramental confession. Although the healing process still continues, the one-on-one with a priest anointed by a 2000 year old line of succession provided the bulwark I needed against despair. In the succeeding years I have participated in Bible studies, support groups, PAS workshops etc. which have all been very helpful in their own way but I am thankful to this day for the sacramental framework that was (and is) a life-preserver for me.

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