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I am 83 and was in college during the late 1950s

June 3, 2022 wordcamp 0Comment

I am 83 and was in college during the late 1950s

As they unlocked the doors for me to enter their quarters I resolved to never believe in the absolutism of the Catholic position on right to life. Whose rights? Whose lives?

I saw women, both friends and acquaintances, simply disappear from classes and dorms. Some left to get married before their pregnancies “showed”; some went to Canada for an abortion; some left to hide out until delivery and adoption.

I chose to have the baby, now a wonderful daughter. The operative word is choice. I had choices because of my family and their stable economic circumstances. There are millions of women of childbearing age who do not have such choices.

It is appalling and wrong for the government to eliminate those choices, and to force women to carry to term babies for which they are not prepared. It is, in fact, barbaric.

I watched a 13-year-old girl have a hysterectomy! It was 1960, and I was a resident in OB-GYN. Following a back-alley abortion, this poor kid developed an antibiotic-resistant pelvic abscess that, to save her life, demanded removal of her uterus, making her unable to bear children.

Before 1973, I saw the unbelievable self-inflicted damage women in all socioeconomic strata suffered to rid themselves of unwanted pregnancies. Can you imagine what damage acid injected into the vagina can do? Unsterilized wire hangers self-inserted or manipulated by untrained abortionists caused virulent infections and death. Roe v. Wade essentially put an end to that horror in the United States.

The majority of Americans want access to safe abortions. But persistent pressure by the well-financed Catholic Church along with some ultraconservative groups are, with the help of a Trump-loaded Supreme Court, likely on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade and sending women back to the Dark Ages.

But I knew a respected obstetrician who would perform an abortion (illegally); I had the means and family support to obtain an abortion in Canada; and I also knew that my family would support me financially and emotionally should I choose to have the baby

Women have always and will forever find ways of terminating unwanted pregnancies. A civilized society should make this as safe as possible.

What can we do? The answer is at the ballot box. All candidates for public office should be made to state their position on a woman’s right to choose. Candidates who support this right should receive our votes.

I got pregnant when I was 17, in 1968, the summer after I graduated from high school. I had what was called a “therapeutic abortion.” This was the only legal and safe way a woman could obtain an abortion in those days, and I was able to obtain it only because my mother stepped in and arranged it for me.

For the procedure to be done I had to see three different psychiatrists and specifically tell them all that I would kill myself if I had to have this baby. The abortion was performed at a large private hospital in Chicago.

For more than 40 years, my grandmother hid the secret of her abortion from everyone in our family

If I had been forced to have this baby that I didn’t want and wasn’t in any way best free married hookup apps us prepared to have, I would not have gone to college or graduate school. I would not have had my career. I would not be married. My life would have been ruined, and I would not be the woman I am today.

It was not until the mid-1970s, a few years before her death, that she shared what in her mind was the most shameful moment of her life.