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
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.