“After two months of regularly taking my birth control, I realized that I was pregnant. After crying, taking two more tests, crying more to my sisters, and wondering if my mother needed a new baby to fill her empty nest, I called my boyfriend. We decided that, while we would like to have children together eventually, we were not emotionally or financially ready to have a child. He took me to the clinic (twice so I could think hard about my decision after receiving unwelcome counseling and an even more unwelcome ultrasound) and brought me home afterward…. I thought about my life and the man I love and the children we will one day raise together, and I felt reassured that my choice was correct because, ultimately, it is, and should always be, my choice.”
CHRISTIE (Fredericksburg, Virginia)
“In 2003, I was joyfully expecting my second child. It was a very wanted and very much planned pregnancy. The pregnancy progressed smoothly until we went in for our routine 20 week ultrasound. We were excited to finally find out what the baby’s gender was. It was a girl, but something was very wrong with her… We were told we had TWO options. We could carry the baby for another FOUR months, and watch her suffocate shortly after birth due to underdeveloped lungs, OR we could terminate the pregnancy. We spoke with other parents who had babies with the same condition, and did a lot of soul-searching. Finally, my husband and I decided that the most merciful thing we could do for our baby was to let her go early. I knew that for everyone involved, it was the right thing to do.
I was fortunate in that my husband’s medical insurance policy covered 80% of the expenses related to my termination. If it hadn’t, we would have been stuck with a $15,000 hospital bill. It would have bankrupted our single-income family. No one ever thinks this will happen to them. But when it happens to you, the fact that it’s rare provides no comfort… For residents whose income qualifies them for coverage through Medicaid, there is no way they would be able to pay out-of-pocket for the cost of care in order to carry out a decision that they feel is the most right and moral one for their family.”
JILL ABBEY (Richmond Medical Center For Women)
“As an administrator of four women’s health centers across the Commonwealth, I have witnessed first-hand the barriers that Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period law places on women. Politicians decided that providers must perform an ultrasound at least 24 hours before the actual abortion procedure. This law means our patients are forced to return to our facility twice, on separate days, for no medical reason. That all requires additional travel expenses, child care costs, and time off from work. This law is about one thing and one thing only – making it harder to get an abortion and shaming a woman who chooses to access it.”
ANONYMOUS (Northern Virginia)
“My oldest daughter, a young adult, discovered she was unexpectedly pregnant. We went over all the alternatives and choices and decided that an elective termination would be best…Sure enough the whole “consultation” aspect, which is to be at least 24 hours prior to the procedure, was scheduled on a Monday and the procedure on a Friday. My daughter was traveling 300 miles and couldn’t wait five days to have the procedure done.”