Courageous Woman: My Choice for Life
early sixties had reached my neck of the woods.
Sex without guilt. If it feels good do it. Free love. These were the slogans I was becoming accustomed to. Throwing caution to the wind, I fell headlong into this new relationship and was thrilled, excited and happy. Terry and I had fun together and I took advantage of my parents as babysitters while I went out as often as I could. I thought we were in love and he was the one for me.
In November, 1973, I found myself pregnant again. Though I was only nineteen and still a teenager, I was not the innocent, helpless child I had been at fifteen. This time, I hid my pregnancy from my parents, confident that Terry and I would marry soon and all would be well. I was wrong.
Terry balked, making it clear that he did not want to marry me. He even accused me of "trapping" him by getting pregnant on purpose. I had been careless and ignorant with birth control, but I had not done what he accused me of.
Even though he had been raised a Catholic, Terry wanted me to get an abortion.
Feeling hurt and betrayed, and even desperate, I decided it was the only way I could prove to him that I had not done this on purpose.
After the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling earlier that year, abortions were now legal and easy to get. No big deal. Planned Parenthood clinics were abundant and easily accessible. Abortion had become the instant quick fix nationwide.
I was impressionable, lacking in hard-core common sense and ignorant when it came to the knowledge and insight that comes with age. Had I been then, the person I am now, I would have told Terry to get lost.
Instead, heartbroken and crushed, I unwittingly let him drive me to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Houston.
The building was large, white and scary.
Overwhelmed with fear, I ascended the steps and entered the building.
Terry escorted me inside where I signed in and then he left me in the waiting room which was full of girls, most of them very young like me. Some were alone and some even had their mothers with them.
I remember a set of identical twins, two blonde girls, sitting across from me, and wondered if they were both getting abortions or if one was simply there for moral support.
To this day, I cannot remember seeing any boys or men in that room.
My name was called and I was led into a small office and seated in a hard chair facing a woman sitting behind a desk. She shuffled some papers and without looking up and in a very businesslike manner asked me a few basic questions and wrote on the papers. She gave me some simple instructions on how to take care of myself after the procedure including activities to avoid and problems I should look out for. But as for the procedure itself, she said not a word.
Looking back now, I realize I didn't have a clue about what an abortion actually entailed. All I knew was that I would no longer be pregnant.
I had no idea how the "fetus" would be removed or what would happen to it.
When the paperwork was completed, a nurse came for me. She was actually a little more friendly and the first person to smile at me that day. She led me down a hall into what I guess was the operating room, and handing me a sheet to cover myself, instructed me to remove my clothing from the waist down. I did so and with the sheet wrapped around me, climbed up onto the examining table, where she helped me into position with my knees wide apart and my feet in stirrups. When she left, I lay there open and exposed, completely enveloped in fear and dread with no idea what lay ahead.
When the doctor came in, followed by the nurse, he never even looked at me. In a hurried and no nonsense manner he went straight to the end of the examining table, slipped on surgical gloves, and began an exam. In less than a minute, he jerked his head up, looked toward the nurse and exclaimed with little emotion, "We can't do this. She's too far along."
All I can remember then was a physical whoosh, a rush of relief as my whole being instantly relaxed and without thinking blurted out, "Thank goodness!"
Then for the first time since entering the room, that doctor looked at me.
I tensed up again as I saw the anger in his eyes. He frowned and said sternly, "Now you'll just have to go somewhere else!" Without waiting for a response, he abruptly turned and left the room.
I don't remember getting off that table or even getting dressed. All I remember is feeling ecstatic with relief and a tremendous urge to literally jump for joy.
I left that room and searched for the exit. Passing once more through the waiting room, I looked around at all the pretty, sad faces and felt so overwhelmingly sorry for them. I remember thinking how fortunate I was to not be one of them.
Then I met Terry at the top ...
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: marriage, family, natural family planning, abortion, pro-life, Planned Parenthood, teen-age pregnancy
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