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Abortion hurts everyone
My name is Annie and when I was 17 I had an abortion.
I have lived in Maine my entire life.  I lived in the same small town in the same house for 18 years. I came from a very close, loving family and I had the perfect childhood.  My younger brother was my best friend and we spent our summers running barefoot through tall grass, catching frogs, and having sleepovers with our cousins. It is no secret, however, that I was not a perfect teenager. I was loud and obnoxious, and I found enjoyment in testing authority, especially that of my parents. I probably would have gotten into more trouble than I did, but over time I learned how to not get caught. I was the girl who drove a pick-up truck and wore steel toe boots to the senior prom. I wasn’t super model thin and I didn’t have the prettiest face in town, but I did turn a few heads.   That was mostly because I was willing to spend the afternoon fishing or four wheeling with the boys, rather than getting my nails done.
I met my high school sweetheart when I was in the 7th grade. We will call him Jace (that is not his real name.  I have changed it for confidentiality purposes.)  Jace grew up down the road from me, and when we were 12 he told me he had a crush on me. I didn’t give him the time of day. Several years later when we were 16, he tried again. This time, I fell for him. We spent almost every day together for a year and annoyed our friends and families with our relationship, giddy one minute and fighting over nothing the next. It wasn’t long after we started dating that we became sexually active.
    Just before Christmas in 2008, Jace and I were parked in his truck, when our contraceptive failed. This had never happened to us before, so I frantically called my sister and she reassured me that if I took the Plan B pills the next morning, I would be all set. The next day she drove me to the pharmacy to get the pills.  I took them as instructed, and that was that.
A few weeks later, I started feeling sick. I was nauseous all day long and I had completely lost my appetite. I didn’t think that a pregnancy was possible because I had taken those pills to prevent it. When I missed my period, I decided to call Planned Parenthood and discuss my situation with them. (I had been there before because someone at school told me that they gave out free condoms.)  I called during a study hall and the clinic worker told me that if I didn’t get my period within the next 7 days, I was to call back. That was the slowest week of my life. Day 8 rolled around and I called Planned Parenthood back to schedule a pregnancy test. The next afternoon, Jace drove me to the clinic in Portland.
The date was January 5th, 2009. I was a senior in high school, just two months shy of my 18th birthday. When we arrived at the clinic, I took the urine test and we waited.  Shortly after, a clinic worker entered the room in which I was waiting.   “Annie, can you tell me why you DON’T think you’re pregnant?”  I was caught off guard by this question, but my response was, “I have had pregnancy scares before this.  I think I just feel sick because I am nervous and having anxiety.”  She stared at me for a minute, and then responded, “Well, that’s too bad, because you ARE pregnant, 5 weeks pregnant.”  What happened after that moment still weighs heavy on my mind.  I remember Jace coming in the room and being told the news.  I remember the clinic worker telling me that she wanted to discuss my options.  “Abortion or adoption are your best options” she said, “But just remember that if you choose adoption, it is going to be very hard to give the baby up.”  I remember telling her, “I am a Christian, I do not believe in abortion”. Every time I think about that day, one specific thing comes to mind.  That clinic worker never once wanted to discuss parenting.
I had to face the music and tell my parents. There was no way I was going to be able to keep this from them.  I will say this--there is nothing scarier than being 17-years-old and telling your parents that you are pregnant.  My mother cried and my father was furious.  We talked for a while, and it was determined that I would have an abortion.  I knew in my heart that it was wrong, but I wanted so badly to do whatever would please my family and whatever would help them sleep at night. I felt that if I kept the baby, my parents would be ashamed of me for the rest of my life.  My mother believed that this was the best answer for me.  She loves me so much and she believed that keeping that baby meant I was throwing my life away.  In some ways I felt pressured, but at the end of the day, I was the one who had a decision to make; I was the one who got myself into this “mess.”  When we told Jace’s parents about the pregnancy, they begged me not to have an abortion. They even offered to adopt the baby if I promised not to terminate the pregnancy.  I remember telling them “This is my body, my life, my choice!” and I left their house slamming doors.
Every day for two weeks prior to the abortion, Jace would plead with me. “We can get married and I will get another job; we can be a family and make this work,” he would say to me over and over again. I was angry and I wanted someone to blame. I refused to speak with him about it, and he eventually gave up. My mind was made up and there was nothing he could do or say to change that.
On January 19th, 2009 my child was aborted.  At the time, I believed that my 7 week old fetus was nothing but a cluster of cells. My sister drove me to the clinic that day. I remember the waiting room was so crowded that we had to stand at first.  There were around 30 women waiting to have an abortion that morning.  I watched as the other women went into rooms with counselors, to discuss their decision and make sure that it was what they wanted to do.  (When the abortion was scheduled, the members of Planned Parenthood told me that counseling before an abortion was mandatory, to make sure that I was ok with the decision, and not being forced.)  “We also want to give you the chance to talk about your feelings,” one clinic worker said.  When my name was called, I walked towards the counselor’s room. However, a nurse led me away from the room and told me to follow her. When I asked her why I was not meeting with a counselor, she responded, “We are behind this morning and there is no time for you to meet with a counselor.”
The nurse escorted me to a room where she told me to undress from the waist down and wait for the ultrasound tech.  She left the room and I did as she said. I sat there half -naked because she did not give me a sheet to cover myself with. The ultrasound tech entered the room with a man who was about 30 years old. He was in street clothes, so I knew he did not work there. The ultrasound tech was furious. "Why on earth are you naked? I have a student with me." She rummaged around for a sheet and I covered myself with it. I did not remember being told that a student, let alone a man, was going to be present for my ultrasound.   The man stood behind the tech during the procedure, but he had a direct view of my private areas and I was mortified. (What 17 year old girl wouldn’t be upset that a grown man who was not a doctor was getting a full view of her private areas?) I looked away from them and stared at the ceiling. It was all I could do to keep from having a meltdown. I saw the man move closer to the picture of my ultrasound. His eyes widened. "Hmmm," the ultrasound tech said.  "In the paper work, did you check YES or NO for wanting to know if you were having twins?” I responded with no, and she said, "Well, never mind then". My heart sank into my stomach. From that statement, it was obvious that she knew something I didn’t.  And I didn’t want to know.
The abortion itself was painful, even with the drugs they had given me. I remember my sister holding my hand through the whole thing, and I was cracking jokes about things not related, trying to ignore what was really going on.  When it was over they gave me a glass of Ginger Ale and a heating pad. I sat in a comfy chair with a blanket. I had a terrible headache and cramps. All around me were women who had just had the same procedure. Some were crying and some were sleeping. After an hour had passed, I was released and we drove home.
I can’t say that I instantly felt regret for my abortion. At first I felt relief. I was free. I remember the members of Planned Parenthood telling me, “This will all be over soon, and then you can forget all about it and get on with your life.”  It was about  2 weeks after the abortion that it hit me.  What had I done?  I sat in my bedroom and cried for an entire day.   After that, things started going downhill.  I became so depressed that I stopped eating. I started drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and acting obnoxious.  My friends did not want to be around me anymore.  I was missing a lot of school and work because some days I didn’t want to get out of bed.  One week after my high school graduation, I reached my breaking point and I tried to commit suicide.  My mother admitted me into Spring Harbor Hospital where I spent 4 miserable days trying to convince the doctors that I was not crazy. On top of that, some people were harassing me about my decision. I was called “murderer” and “baby killer” by people who I thought were my friends. I spent months trying to justify my abortion. I even joined Pro-Choice chat rooms.  I thought it would make me feel better about my decision. Nobody wanted to talk to me about my pain.  I was expected to get over it and move on. So, I buried it.
In March 2011, 2 years after my abortion, I had reached another breaking point. One day I just had a complete melt down. That’s when I decided to seek spiritual help. I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in Richmond, Virginia. My family did not agree with my decision to attend this retreat, but I knew that I had to do it if I wanted to heal. I thank God every day for the women at Rachel’s Vineyard. That weekend truly changed my life. I was able to make peace with God about my abortion, and I didn’t have to do it alone. Finally, someone would listen.
In August 2012 I decided to go back to Planned Parenthood to retrieve the records from my abortion. There were some things that I wanted to know. I called Planned Parenthood and a few days later they released my records to me. I took them home to review. What I found:
In the Planned Parenthood notes dated January 5th, 2009  (the day of the pregnancy test) the     clinic worker wrote "patient is seeking abortion.” This is a lie, because she wrote this within minutes after telling me I was pregnant.   We had not even discussed options yet.  She also wrote that my parents knew I was seeking an abortion, which is not true.   At the time, they didn’t even know I was pregnant.
After carefully reviewing the records from my pre-abortion ultrasound, dated January 19th, 2009 I discovered that I was only pregnant with one child. Although I am glad that two lives were not lost, I am still furious with the ultrasound tech for putting the idea in my head that I was carrying twins.
January 2014 will mark 5 years since my abortion. I recently came into contact with the father of my aborted child, whom I had not seen or barely spoken to in years.  I agreed to see him, and he attacked me. He pinned me to the seat of his truck and told me that he had to get even with me for the abortion. I cried and screamed and fought him. He said that hurting me was the only way we could make things 'right' between us.  "Do you realize how badly you hurt me?" he kept yelling. When I begged him to stop, he said "You know what is funny about that, Annie, I begged YOU to stop, I begged YOU not to have an abortion, but you did it anyway, you let someone rip our child from your body."  After a half hour struggle, I was finally able to escape from him and run for help. The police were called and he is now facing assault charges.
Abortion hurts everyone. These reasons, and many others, are why I am silent no more.
Thank You
God Bless


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