This story is part of an article titled, You Know Her: Six Pullman women tell their abortion stories, published in the Daily Evergreen.
At age 47, Denise Allen has had two abortions. The first time she got pregnant she was 27 years old living in Colfax.
“I was doing a lot of dumb sh-t,” Allen said.
She was partying, using drugs and taking her birth control pills irregularly, she said.
Allen was between four and six weeks pregnant when she found out. She had to go through counseling and other steps before she could get the procedure.
She doesn’t remember the abortion pill being an option 20 years ago. She went to Spokane for a vacuum aspiration procedure, which uses suction to remove the contents of the uterus through the dilated cervix. The procedure cost her $350.
She said the discomfort of the procedure was 10 times that of an annual pelvic exam. But she didn’t feel guilty.
“I never felt sadness or regret because of the abortions ever,” Allen said. “[My son] is the only child I ever wanted and I got him.”
Years later, when her son was 6 years old, Allen’s partner had a vasectomy. She said she didn’t realize that for some time after a vasectomy it is still possible to get pregnant.
She was too old to have another baby and not financially prepared, she said.
She went to the Pullman Planned Parenthood and had the option to use abortion pills. She said the process was easier this time, without as many hurdles. She took the first pill in Spokane, where clinicians advised her to take the second pill at home and not to be alone. She stayed with her step mother during the abortion.
Women should not feel ashamed for aborting, she said.
“They should feel comfortable with the fact that they know themselves and what they can handle,” Allen said.