My name is Debbie Schneider. I came here today to speak to you about my personal abortion experience. I had an abortion almost 41 years ago and I understand first hand the pain post abortive women experience. I speak out to tell you that what I was sold as a way to “solve” my problem was nothing like I actually experienced that day so many years ago. The perplexing question I keep asking myself is how I could have fallen for such a sales pitch when I was such a smart young woman with an inquiring mind for everything else in life. What made this situation so different? What was it the clinician said and why did I believe her?
I had my abortion when I was 18 and in my first quarter of college. I had a steady boyfriend of three years, we were very much in love and we planned to be married in a few years. It was 1971 and abortion had recently become legal in Washington State. I went into the clinic for a pregnancy test and was sold an appointment for an abortion at an abortionist’s office the following week.
I believed the sales pitch because I was scared. I wanted to stay in school and accomplish the plans I had made for myself. I didn’t want to disappoint or embarrass my parents. I felt very ashamed that I could have let something like this happen to me. I thought the abortion would just erase what had happened with no consequences for my choice. I bought into the “blob of cells” lie. It was never presented to me as a baby and was told that I could always have a baby later when we were ready. I bought into the sales pitch because I needed to. I needed to preserve my self esteem and pride. I needed the nightmare to just go away.
What happened to me that next week was something I buried deep inside me for the next 33 years. I was driven by my dad to the clinic and dropped off. I sat alone in silence in the waiting room. Lying on the gurney in the procedure room, I looked around and I could see jars with little pieces of tiny body parts in them. There was a big suction type machine with a large jar by me. I realized that I had been lied to about my 11 week old baby being “a blob of cells.” Those jars of body parts were from previous abortions. In those early days, the abortion industry didn’t think or care that women could be traumatized by something they paid for and wanted to do. After seeing these jars, I started crying and told them I didn’t want to go through with the abortion. I was held down by the nurse and told that it would be over soon. I was terrified as the doctor put his hands and instruments inside me. Tears rolled down my face, as he scraped my baby from me and sucked it out into the jar. As I lay there helpless, I felt like I had just experienced the worst form of sexual assault I could possibly imagine, with the private parts of my body grossly violated and my baby dead. I went out the back door and found my dad’s car, where we drove back home in silence. We never spoke about it again. I later told my boyfriend never to speak of it again and we didn’t for the next three decades of married life. They never told me that part of me would die that day and that the love I had with the father would forever be changed. Of course if I had known what lay ahead of me, if I had known even basic facts, I know I would never have gone through with it. My boyfriend and I consented to something we knew nothing about because we were not told the truth about anything. We bought into a carefully constructed lie.
The important things I want you to know is that choosing abortion comes with a real price. It doesn’t come with a warranty that guarantees that you will be happy with your decision and experience. The true cost is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pain that you experience when you are responsible for taking the life of your own child. I felt I had no recourse against the people who had lied to me. By giving my testimony, I am silent no more about the false claims of the abortion industry. Since abortion fails to deliver on its promises, abortion should be recalled.