Sheila

Chicago, Illinois

I’ve had 2 abortions –one at 18 while on the pill, and another at 40, after having 3 kids. I had a pulmonary embolism at 40 and the drs attributed it to the pill, so I was immediately taken off of it and put on a low dose copper IUD at the time. To be honest, the only time I ever feel shame about having had 2 is when I go to a new ob/gyn and I have to answer the “how many pregnancies” question in the new patient paperwork.

I always feel like I’m going to be judged and I wish there was space on the form so I could explain the “why”, except then I realize a) I’m pretty impervious to judgment, so judge away if you must, and b) I shouldn’t have to explain a single thing. No one thinks I owe an explanation for why I have 4 tattoos, or why I have a dental implant, so why would I feel I should have to explain the “why” behind my two abortions to anyone?


Amy

Greenville, South Carolina

“You are loved”.  Whoever you are who has come across this place, you will only find understanding and compassion here.  

Birth control methods are much more complicated than conceiving is.  I have had 2+ abortions, specifically I’ve had 3. I had them in the very early 1970’s when I was in my early 20’s. 

The first time I had no idea what birth control was. The second time it was because I was in between a breakup and getting back together with a the same boyfriend and I was probably negligent in using any one of the contraception methods that I had been trying during that time.  The relationship was a good one, but we were much too immature for a more serious grown up relationship, let alone to raise a child. 

My third pregnancy occurred while I was married to another person at the time, although we were in the process of divorcing because of how unsuited we were for each other.  I had married him two years earlier when I thought I was pregnant and wanted to avoid a third abortion.  That was in 1979.

In all three of these instances the choice to have an abortion was a private and personal one, one in which I was supported by my partner, as well.  In all three instances my only excuse for those unplanned pregnancies was naïveté and inefficient use of birth control methods.

Over the years I have always thought of having an abortion as being the personal and private procedure that I experienced with Planned Parenthood.  Increasingly, though, the choice has been hijacked by cruel, insensitive and misinformed people who refuse to feel any compassion at all for the individual responsibilities that women alone, regardless of age, culture, economics or social status, face in their reproductive lives.  

No judgment or value should ever be imposed upon a choice not to bring a child into the world for whatever reason.  It is rather a compassionate responsibility to acknowledge the extent of care that you would not be able to give to a child.

If you are searching for peace and acceptance for your choice in having either one or 2+ abortions (or even if the decision was made for you), I hope that you find the comfort that you need in the words that are compassionately shared here.


Diane

Birmingham, Alabama

I am not only a woman who has had two abortions, I am an abortion provider. I, too, felt guilt with my 2nd pregnancy — as if it’s ok to have one abortion but not another.  We're only entitled to one mistake.

I began in this field as a counselor, so when I'd have a returning patient I felt I had not covered birth control adequately. Only when it was pointed out to me that a woman’s reproductive years encompass about 40 years — and that even the best birth control is 98-99% effective — you do the math. A woman consistently practicing contraception is going to statistically have more than one unintended pregnancy.

Allow me to share this story embedded in my memory.  It's a clinic day and there's a patient in the waiting room on the telephone with her partner. She’s loudly telling him: Get the rest of the money at once. Yes, yes, he knows the address — she’s been there three times before and it’s the best place in town.

My staff and all the people in the full waiting room are appalled at her conversation. She behaves the same way through the entire process and everyone is disgusted at her casual and unladylike demeanor.  As I write this I am amazed at how immature I sound. In our defense this is the South and this was 30 some years ago.

Anyway it comes to a head when I learn that her previous abortions totaled 18. I decided in my ultimate wisdom I should discuss pregnancy prevention with her. This is the day that changed who and what I am.

She informed me in no uncertain terms — Who in the f*ck did I think i was???? She said that if she looked at a man she got pregnant — twice on an IUD, while using the pill, on a diaphragm, and she even had had a tubal!

It was none of my business how many she had had. She put me in my place and taught me a lesson I badly needed.