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1 in 3: These Are Our Stories

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Written Stories


I always thought I'd have a child at 27. That's the age my mother had me, the age my grandmother was when she had my mother. But when I became pregnant at 27, it wasn't the way I had seen it. My husband at the time had begun an affair a few months prior, which at this point I was still unaware of. What I did know what that he was unhappy, I was unhappy. I had been using a nuva ring, but I had been late to put the new one in. In so many years I never considered I'd end up pregnant without having planned it. I was (am) OCD. I plan everything. I was terrified to tell my husband of the pregnancy, more so because I was scared he'd want me to continue the pregnancy than anything else. But I needn't be worried about that. After some awkward talk-around the issue I finally spat it out-I wasn't ready for this. We weren't ready for this. He agreed. In fact, he wanted to leave for Florida for a month to "figure things out." He made his arrangements, I made my arrangements and appointments. On the morning I took the series of pills at home, he left for Florida. Left me to do it on my own. I had no regrets. And I made the right choice. It is no surprise to me that our marriage ended. That day, I took control back over my life from a child posing as a man. A man who didn't work while I worked 40+ hours a week while disabled. A man who left for Florida that day to meet up with his girlfriend. I am so grateful I had that choice to make.


I grew up catholic in the Chicago suburbs. There was a lot of emphasis placed on the 10 commandments and morality. I remember when I was young and thinking that having an abortion was absolute: you killed, and therefore you are forever a bad person. … read more >


13 years ago I became pregnant while on the pill. My boyfriend at the time accused me of getting pregnant on purpose because we had been going through a rough patch and he even had the nerve to ask me if the baby was definitely his. … read more >


I had an abortion at barely 16 years old. It wasn't my first idea, but I wasn't in a relationship and had been abusing drugs regularly. … read more >


I was 25 when I found out I was pregnant. I had been married for six months to my husband. We weren't financially stable. We didn't even have a home, yet, only a one bedroom apartment. … read more >


I'm 67 years and never regretted having my four abortions. They all had a reason, that being I didn't want my partner's to be a father to my child. All abortions were from 3 different partners. First was performed in Switzerland while it was still illegal in the states. Second was in a NY hospital when it was already legal and the third and fourth were also in NY through Planned Parenthood. My parents knew about all of them, my mother told me she had several herself in Europe before I was born. She gave me her full support and even accompanied me to the hospital in NY. My life didn't change, I had no nightmares and am a healthy human being. I think women can think for themselves and if they decide to have an abortion a woman should be the one who decides and not the government or some religeous leader. If men were the ones getting pregnant we would not have this conversation. So women, girls do what feels right to you and no one else!


In 1971, a year before Roe v Wade, I was a 22 year old, married nursing student in Denton, Texas. I contracted tuberculosis and was placed on a regimen of multiple medications in an effort to control the disease. While on a new, experimental medication, I learned I was pregnant. … read more >


In 2006, my husband and I were pregnant with our first child. ALL of our early screenings and tests were going fine with no signs of complications. It was at the 20 week level II ultrasound that instead of finding out the sex of my baby, my life changed forever. … read more >


Hello, my name is Barbara. I am 64 years old. About 35 years ago our son was born. The Copper 7 IUD I had been using when he was conceived was removed at his birth. … read more >


I found out I was pregnant in September of 2014--the second week of my first semester in grad school. I was on birth control pills, and had been for years; somehow, some way, it failed. … read more >


I became pregnant when I was 22 - shortly after I lost my health insurance and could no longer afford to fill my prescription for BC. I was a junior in college, and I was terrified. … read more >


I vividly remember my experience having an abortion, even though it took place nearly twenty years ago. My boyfriend and I were on the rocks and hadn't spoken in days when I discovered I was pregnant. We had been arguing constantly; it felt like we were on the verge of a permanent rupture. I was broke and without health insurance. After two weeks of wrenching discussions we decided to terminate the pregnancy. I wanted to keep it, but with the frank understanding that the odds were we wouldn't be raising this child has a couple. He adamantly refused to support that decision unless we got married. But the idea of doubling down on our anger-fueled relationship frightened me. What kind of home would we be raising a child in? What kind of relationship would I be consigning myself to? Termination began to seem like the only path forward. We withdrew cash from the ATM together and then sat by the curb and wept before I headed into the clinic, alone. I was in a fragile state as I headed for the doors of an office tower in Midtown when a woman ran up to me and screamed, just inches from my face, "You're killing your baby!" This was around the time that Operation Rescue was in full swing, forcing volunteers to escort women seeking abortions past phalanxes of protesters who yelled that they were murderers and would go to hell. There were no escorts here. Just me and her. I had always wanted a child. I knew I was killing that possibility. Did she think I didn't know that? I screamed back, without thinking. A hail of curses. And I went inside, barely able to wobble on my legs.


After facing a 9-year grueling, exhausting, expensive repeating cycle of hope and devastation due to unexplained infertility, I found myself pregnant, the old-fashioned way. What an exciting surprise! My son, who was 3 at the time would finally have a much-loved sibling. My dream of a family was finally coming true. My dream turned into my absolute worst nightmare. After irregular blood tests revealed dramatically abnormal levels, which either meant twins, or multiples, or that the test was wrong and needed to be repeated, I was sent in for a Level II ultrasound the next day. He was diagnosed with Complete AVSD, and other congenital abnormalities and they recommended we do an Amnio to confirm a Down Syndrome diagnosis. Then they got really quiet, and suggested I do my own research, and gave me nothing else. I blithely thought to myself, so my son will be mentally retarded? So what? We will love him and give him a great life. He will be my 'forever' son, as I realized he would probably stay dependent on me and my husband for the rest of our lives. I had experienced caregiving first-hand, caring for my mother with a life-long illness, doing everything for her, as her condition declined into blindness and organ shutdowns toward the end of her life. I knew I could do it. When I called my mother-in-law to share the news, it hit me. HARD. What about the life of my firstborn? His childhood will become shared, yes, by a new baby, but moreso with multiple hospital visits and surgeries--required by the congential abnormalities. What of my marriage? Many marriages don't make it when the realities of caring for a child with special needs has to take precedent. When I began doing my 'research'--I learned astonishing things about Down Syndrome. It is way more than intellectual impairment. I can be a cluster of chronic illnesses, some quite serious: Leukemia, early-onset Alzheimer's, joint and muscle issues that can cause weakness and paralysis. Chronic constipation, requiring other surgeries, abnormalities that require feeding tubes, because trying to eat normally results in throwing up, every time. The worst was learning about the surgeries required to fix his Complete AVSD. No one could tell us if we would be the lucky ones, and he would have 'one-and-done' or whether his would have complications, and he would require intubation, life-support and he would live a short-life, never coming home from the NICU. The idea of not being able to HOLD my baby, and explain that all of the pain and interventions was to help him, not torture him in continuous pain, alone in his bed, was more than I could bear. I could not consent to the life he was facing, on his behalf. The statistics of children who had died before reaching age 1 with all of his conditions made me feel as though all our effort would have been better spent in a gentle hospice-type comfort-care scenario, instead of superhero modern medicine. I also could not consent to the life my firstborn would have, caring for a chronically-ill sibling, possibly taking over his affairs when he was just starting his adult life, trying to establish his career and family. Even if our special needs child was in a care facility, our firstborn would have responsibility. I know first hand how hard that was for me, because of my mother's condition and my role early in life as her caregiver. As much as it ripped out my heart to terminate my dear dear sweet baby's life, a decision that will kill me forever, for me, it was the compassionate and ethical decision. I could not consent to going forward, on behalf of both of my sons, who would live with that decision. One, bearing the burden, of a life of chronic illness, the other, a helpless witness, who's life will forever be intertwined. The decision was made for me, when, after investigating an adoptive scenario, I learned how much the pregnancy itself was endangering my life. Those abnormal proteins correlated very strongly with life-threatening placental conditions that would more than likely develop as the pregnancy progressed. Leaving my son motherless, and my husband a grieving widow and single dad was not an option I was willing to entertain. I felt strongly my obligations to people already living and breathing trumped the rights of a very ill fetus. I know intimately the continuous grief that accompanies intellectual impairments and chronic illnesses from caring for my mother. That grief ripples through families and generations. I could not continue the cycle in good conscience. And for that, I will forever be stigmatized by people, some of whom have no personal experience, who feel birth at any cost should be the law of the land. I have lost friends, I have had people call me a murderer, and because of the blessings of on-line support groups, I have been endlessly trolled by women who made the choices to continue their pregnancies when their children received identical diagnosis. I have been horrified by the likes of Rick & Karen Santorum and the other pro-birth activists who seek to deprive women and families of these sacred, PERSONAL, family, medical, spiritual decisions. I can not imagine my horror being any worse. Every family deserves to make the best decision for their family.


It's probably hyperbolic to say that my abortion saved my life when I have every reason to believe I would have had a healthy pregnancy. But I would not have had *my* life. I got pregnant during my senior year of college and knew instantly that I did not want to be a mother. … read more >


I would like to share a more normal story about the ability and right to have an abortion. It is one that for most women would be harder to tell. To be on the record, I have had more than one abortion. Not because I was careless or because I used abortion as a method of birth control but because products fail and as well as humans. … read more >


I had a baby before I was 18. I was unmarried and just could not face having an abortion, even though my close friend had one less than a year before I found out I was pregnant. When my baby was 9 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. … read more >


In 2000, I was a 32 year old, single mother of 12 year old and found out I was pregnant. I was scared and had little financial security. My parents were strict, fundamental, evangelical christians so there was NO support from them and I had placed a baby for adoption the year prior. … read more >


As one who was always pro-choice, I always viewed abortion as a necessary evil. It was not something I would want to do, but would have to do if faced with a pregnancy I didn't want (at least that's how my line of thinking went when I was younger and not ready to be a mother). I remember accompanying my best friend in college to a clinic when she was pregnant, the result of a casual relationship and an oops moment. Being her only support through the ordeal, it made my resolve that much stronger that anyone should have the right to a safe and legal abortion. Cut to 17 years later, when I was married and wanting to start a family. My first pregnancy, a time of guarded optimism, was also a time of sadness, when my husband and I learned that the baby we were carrying had a chromosonal abnormality that was not readily compatible with a healthy life. We always said we would be in favor of releasing any baby from pain, but when the actual did happen to us, it took us for a loop. I hated to be the one to make the decision (as opposed to just having a miscarriage) but we knew, after speaking with our doctor and also a genetics counselor, and doing a lot of reading on the internet, that it was the choice we had to make, what others in our situation have called "a heartbreaking choice." In time, we did go on to have a healthy baby girl. However, the memories of what we went through will never leave us, and if we had to do it again, we would. Seeing abortion rights being challenged everywhere only makes me angry that women are being second-guessed and not treated with any respect for making responsible life decisions.


On January 27, I spoke at an event commemorating the 41st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I spoke about the tragedy of losing our son, who was due to be born today, March 15, and why sharing stories is critical in our fight for reproductive rights. I’m posting this today in our son’s memory and in the hope that you will be brave and share your story, so that the people in your life can find greater understanding of what’s at stake when we talk about reproductive rights. … read more >


When I was 18, I was a freshman in college. I had been dating someone casually for over a year, who, was not interested in an exclusive, committed relationship with me. He used marijuana and LSD regularly, and was not especially motivated to pursue his future. He was enjoying life. … read more >


Constrained by a legal system and a bad lawyer, I got pregnant in 2002 accidentally with my current husband, prior to being officially divorced from my last one. In Texas, that meant that my ex could fight for custody of my yet to be born 5 week old fetus. … read more >


Anyone who knows me will not be too surprised to learn that I had an abortion -- I worked at the National Abortion Rights Action League for nine years and almost all of that time was as the Executive Director. I self-induced an abortion when I was in college. … read more >


Every so often I think about it. I've had 2 abortions: my first in 1994 when I was 14 years old & the second when I was 17 years old. … read more >


I had an abortion when I was 18, about 7 years ago. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew immediately that I was not ready to be a mother, and my ex-boyfriend was not ready to be a father. … read more >


In 1970, at the age of 21, the most traumatic event of my life was learning that I was pregnant. I was living alone in Nashville to be close to a boyfriend whom I seldom saw. … read more >


18 years old, middle of my senior year, I found out that I was pregnant. My boyfriend and I had used a condom and it broke. I immediately went and took the plan B. Unfortunately, it failed. I had no job, no money, living with my sick grandma, and my military boyfriend was 4,000 miles away. … read more >


I thought the guy was nice at first, but to cut to the chase, after moving in for a few months with him he had become so increasingly jealous and possessive that I was at the point where I was pretty much a prisoner in my own home in a domestic violence situation. … read more >


I don't have unusual or circumstances that would 'excuse' an abortion. I was 20. I was in a stable relationship. (In fact we eventually married and had children together.) … read more >


I was 31 years old and I had just found out that my husband and father of my only child was a criminal and a fraud. When I saw the positive pregnancy test, my first reaction was fear. … read more >


I was 19 years old and my partner was 22. I was a week late on my period and my breasts were very swollen and sore, so I had my friend who works at a medical clinic bring home a test for me. I was almost positive before taking the test that I was pregnant so when the results came back positive I was not in as much shock. … read more >


I think my story is a fairly common story. I was 17 years old and thought I was invincible. I do readily admit that getting pregnant was mine and my partner's fault. I thought I was safe because I had "calculated" when I was ovulating. … read more >


I'm one in three. I got married at 25 and had two planned children by the age of 31. At 33, I had a surprise pregnancy. We chose to abort because we knew that a third child would dilute the attention that our two kids needed and damage an already stressed marriage. … read more >


Like many, I always said, "I support a Woman's Right to Choose, but I would NEVER have an abortion myself." Until I got pregnant in my early 20s. … read more >


I got pregnant my freshman year of college. I was the smart, religious kid, and I definitely knew better... Or so I thought. What I did know for sure was that there was no way I was going to keep a baby. … read more >


In high school I was in an abusive relationship. It didn't start out that way of course, things were great for a while. But a few months in the mental abuse started, then later it progressed to physical abuse. … read more >


Thank you for giving me a place to tell this story. 25 years ago, when my oldest daughter was 8 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. I was slowly recovering from what had been a medically difficult pregnancy and dangerous postpartum depression. … read more >


I am 60 years old and have had 4 abortions. Each experience was different and for different reasons, which were deeply personal. Yes, it was sad and emotional but I'm happy I was able to have them. … read more >


I was 21 years old, living in New York City on my own, and dating a guy named Nathan how was a few years older than I was. Nathan was a very sick alcoholic but I never had any exposure to alcoholism growing up so I honestly believed I could save him and help him get sober. … read more >


The woman who held my hand while the procedure was happening was the first person to be nice to me since I'd found out I was pregnant. I wasn't supposed to be pregnant. … read more >


When I was in my mid-30s, I got pregnant unexpectedly. I was unmarried and wasn’t in a long-term relationship. I was working full-time but wasn’t earning a great deal of money. Basically, my life still felt pretty unsettled. And I wasn’t at all attracted to the idea of being a single mother. … read more >


I had been married only a few months, but between my precarious mental health due to being a survivor of incest (I thought about suicide almost daily) and my husband's childhood of physical abuse our relationship was intermittently violent. … read more >


I had an abortion when I was 20 years old. I was in my sophomore year of college and my boyfriend had just broken up with me. This was a time of deep depression and a lot of turmoil in my life. I was in no state to be pregnant-let alone bring a child into the world. … read more >


I was 23 and in a new relationship with a man that I already thought I would marry, but we had been together only two months when we had a condom failure, and a few weeks later I took a positive pregnancy test. I called my mom right away, sobbing. … read more >


I've been a single mother of two (no support) since 1997. In 2005, I finally made it to college working full-time days and schooling at night. … read more >


I was in an abusive marriage with one child already. I can never speak of this as married women are not supposed to get abortions. … read more >


I had one abortion when I was 21. I am now 68. I am a rape survivor. … read more >


I grew up in suburban Texas, where "sex education" consisted of little more than a Mean Girls-esque "if you have sex, you will get pregnant, and die". We were told in Health class that condoms "didn't work at all", so it's no great surprise that many of girls I went to school with became pregnant at a very young age. Myself included. … read more >


i had one kid already, he was maybe 14 months old. i was living with my mother in law, and i refer to it as "when i lived in hell". she hated me, and i hated her right back. it was a horrible time to be pregnant. … read more >


I am a 25 year old British Pakistani Muslim living in the outskirts of London with my parent and 5 siblings. My mother and older sisters cover up, in the name of Hijab, for Islam. I used to and don't anymore. … read more >


Six weeks before my daughter's first birthday, I learned that I was again pregnant. She had been a surprise, that happened as I was preparing to leave my then boyfriend. We were packing the car to go work in Alaska for the summer, and I had already decided that this would be the last time, and that I would possibly leave him there with his brother. On the drive there, I got the positive test result that changed my life. … read more >


When I was a junior in high school, my boyfriend, at the time, and I were having protected sex when the condom broke. When he first realized this I hadn't been hit with any emotions yet. … read more >


I have been pregnant a total of eight times. I have three children at home, ages 17, 15 and 6. I am raising them in a loving, supportive and financially stable home. Now. I had my first abortion when I was 15. … read more >


I was 24 and just starting my first serious relationship. My boyfriend was the best thing that had ever happened to me in my personal life. I was shy and seemed to come off as angry or upset when in fact I was just nervous of social interaction. He saw through my apparent front and won me over with the attention that I was craving. It wasn't long before the relationship turned sexual. I, never having such a consistent partner, had never been on birth control and relied on condoms. … read more >


Conversations about abortion were always something that I avoided. I didn't want to have the conversation. People can be harsh and hateful when it came to talking about it. I finally got to the point where I could talk openly about it after having an abortion myself. … read more >


I got pregnant at twenty seven. I was in a stereotypical affair with my married best friend, and after years of being as careful as we could be with my inconvenient allergic reactions to almost every form of medication I'd been prescribed for birth control, we opted to simply use condoms and the rhythm method as described by the mayo clinic. It worked for several years, but one not so special night, a condom broke and even though we replaced it before proceeding, the damage had been done. … read more >


I had just mustered up the strength to leave a really bad relationship via restraining order and found out I was pregnant. I had been with my ex for six years, but it wasn't until after we got married that he became verbally and physically abusive. I hid my struggles from everyone I knew and managed to work multiple jobs and take classes for a master's degree, but inside I was a mess. … read more >


I was a teenager when I met my first boyfriend. He was new in town, and was hoping on a fresh start from moving between family members since a child. I was unaware at the time, but he didn't have any role models nor parents. Addictions were found at every home he lived in, and it was almost bound to happen to him as well. But before it did, I fell deeply in love with him. Every morning before school, I'd go over to his house to wake him up, and every night he'd safely take me home. We experienced so many firsts together! He was there with me through it all. A year with him had quickly flown by. We had gotten each other promise rings to be married. I really loved him dearly! … read more >


After 5 years of taking birth control pills, I had an IUD inserted when I was about 25 years old. I was very pleased with this choice and had no issues with it until I became pregnant a year later. At a Planned Parenthood clinic where I went to terminate the unwanted pregnancy, I was told that 3 women in 100 get pregnant with the IUD in place. This was in 1975. At the time I was living with my boyfriend (who is now my husband of 34 years) and we were both career driven not ready to add a child to the mix. It was an emotionally difficult decision, but I was glad we made the right choice. After we married 4 years later, we were blessed with two healthy, wonderful children. Having a family when we chose to made all the difference in our future lives, and to this day I am grateful there was a Planned Parenthood clinic to help us through a difficult decision.


I was 17 in the autumn of 1993. I lived in the quintessential “Small Town USA,” and even though my parents knew I was (or had been) sexually active, they were very much against oral contraceptives. I had been dating my boyfriend for several months and, even though we used condoms every time we had sex, I got pregnant. There was never any doubt in my mind that I would have an abortion – I was a Freshman in college, unemployed, still living with my parents, and knew that my entire family would be publicly shamed if I were to be pregnant and unmarried. I knew I didn’t want a baby then, maybe even ever, and certainly not under the current circumstances. … read more >


I grew up in a home with a violent, alcoholic father who began to molest me when I was three and frequently, violently raped my mother within my hearing. Over the years, I was raped by a male babysitter and endured various degrees of sexual assault from a variety of other men because I never learned to protect myself. In some ways I was lucky. I didn't become an addict or a street kid. But I didn't know how to value myself and I didn't know how to read men. … read more >


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