I fell in love in 1967 and found myself pregnant. I was in a new relationship and had been a virgin. I was in college and knew that I did not want to continue the pregnancy. There was a tiny ad in the back of the New York Times that indirectly pointed to how to get an abortion which was illegal in those pre Roe days. My boyfriend and I had to meet with a minister in Brooklyn. He “vetted” us and told me I would have the procedure in Washington D.C.,and that it would cost $500. He gave me a code sentence that I would tell the man at the ground floor reception desk of the big medical office building in D.C.
I don’t remember being terribly afraid but I told my boyfriend that he had to meet my parents and grandmother before the procedure in case I died. So we took a plane to my home in Chicago where they met for the first time. I did not tell my parents that I was pregnant and having an abortion. I come from a very conservative family and I couldn’t bear upsetting them so much. So instead, I lied about the purpose of my visit. My father drove my boyfriend back to the airport because he supposedly was flying back to New York. Then he dropped me off at the bus station because I supposedly was going back to school in Wisconsin. Instead, at the bus station I took a cab to meet my boyfriend at the airport and we flew to D.C.
The appointment was at 2 pm so we had the morning free. My boyfriend asked me what I wanted to do.
I wanted us to go to the Smithsonian Museum and then get a hot fudge sundae.
I arrived at the medical office building, gave the secret code to the guard who directed me to a clean, professional looking office. After the procedure the doctor came over to me, kissed me on the forehead, put a package of birth control pills in my hand and very gently said: “I do not want to see you again.”
My boyfriend and I flew back to New York where I recuperated for a week. I remember bleeding a lot. Then I flew back to school. I never told my parents but I did tell my daughters when they got older.
I consider myself lucky. I found a competent doctor who strongly believed that a woman has the right to choose. I have never regretted my decision. I do regret that I have not been more of an activist for reproductive rights for women. It astounds and infuriates me that our country is going back to abortions being illegal.