By Sarah Terzo
A British woman who had a late-term abortion describes what happened:
15 years ago, when I was 17, I had to have a late-term abortion at 21 weeks… I had been taking the pill throughout my relationship with my boyfriend, and when I missed a period, I went straight to my doctor to have a pregnancy test. It came back negative…
Weirdly, I was still missing periods. I returned to my doctor, who said that I had nothing to worry about – it was probably due to the hormonal changes of stopping my oral contraception… [Her boyfriend had gone away to school so she stopped using the pill]
I did another pregnancy test, which came back positive. I was 18 weeks along…
[I]t just seemed impossible for me to have a child… the decision was made as soon as I heard that I was pregnant.
I arranged the abortion myself, and my GP was very helpful. I think she felt quite guilty. It took about two weeks to set up the appointment, and I told my parents the night before I went into the hospital. They were shocked, but supportive too.
I went in on a Tuesday and the doctors administered a pessary to induce dilation and labor. But nothing happened. They waited and tried again, but still nothing… They administered three pessaries and none worked.
It was Thursday by this point and they decided to send some sort of psychologist in to see me. “Couldn’t you just go through with the pregnancy?” She asked. “I mean, you’re already halfway through.”
The doctors and nurses were all pretty unpleasant to me… I was stuck in a room just off the maternity ward, too, so all I could hear was families with their new babies.
After three days, they told me that they could only try the chemicals once more, and if that didn’t work, I would have to have a cesarean. I was horrified.
Eventually though, on Saturday, it worked. I still hadn’t been told though, that essentially, I would have to give birth. My breasts swelled up, I started producing milk, my water broke, and I had contractions. It was terrifying.
Eventually, the fetus came out and I just started screaming and couldn’t stop. It was visiting time in the maternity ward and so the doctor told me to shut up. They had me fall asleep and then took me away to remove the placenta. When I woke up, I was on my own in a bed full of blood…
I felt physically empty in a way that I have never felt since. Despite the trauma of the experience, I have still always known it was the right thing for me to have done, and I have never regretted it.
Martha Jensen, Abortion: Information and One’s Own Journey (2020)
This woman may be unable to cope with her abortion unless she convinces herself it was the right thing to do. Nevertheless, her experience was traumatic, and she was not informed about what would happen to her and her baby.
Editors note. This appeared at Clinic Quotes and is reposted with permission.