My name is Patti Smith from San Diego. I had two abortions. One in 1977 the other in 1980.
I was promoted and transferred from the small town of Moses Lake, WA to the “big city,” of Seattle, away from the watchful eyes of my parents. I made some bad choices with my newfound freedom and it wasn’t long before I found myself pregnant. I decided on abortion because I was moving up the career ladder in the federal government and not making enough money to support a child … plus I didn’t want my parents to find out.
Three years later I found myself in the same position but this time I decided to keep the baby. Although still single, I had reached a salary that would allow me to support a baby and I was excited at the prospect of being a mother. I enthusiastically shared the pregnancy with my parents. Sadly, they weren’t pleased and convinced me to abort, fearing my being an unwed mother would affect future career advancement and stain our family’s reputation.
The first abortion was performed by my OB/GYN. He invited two male interns into the room to observe the abortion as a “teaching moment.” I didn’t protest. I was too intimidated and embarrassed to say no. The second one was at Planned Parenthood. That doctor was just as unsympathetic and matter-of fact. After both abortions I walked away feeling dirty, humiliated and empty.
I still hear the sound of the vacuum and feel the tugging that took the lives of my children. I used booze and sex to escape the emotional pain and convinced a doctor to give me a tubal ligation at the age of thirty, subconsciously punishing myself for the abortions … I didn’t deserve to be a mother.
I eventually hit bottom, thinking suicide was the only escape and ended up in a mental institution. When asked by the admitting psychiatrist why I wanted to die I told him I was already dead inside and just wanted to finish the job.
Even after years of sobriety and therapy I was still an emotional wreck. It was only after attending a healing retreat I came to understand all the self-destructive behavior was a result of the guilt and shame from the abortions. I took away the lives of my children. I eliminated them from my life as well as the lives of their fathers, brother, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
I will always carry the regret of aborting Sarah and Matthew. My way of honoring them is speaking out in hopes of preventing others from making the same devastating mistake I did.
That’s Why I’m Silent No More!