It was 1971, before Roe. The closest clinic was over 500 miles away in Manhattan. My boyfriend was in his final year at Ohio University. i was taking a break from academics. We had no money and were in trouble. Fortunately we had help from a counselor, a clergyman, in student services. He arranged the procedure. He recognized the dire straits we were in and was prepared to help. There was no decision to be made. No choice but to go to New York. We drove our rickety VW for 12 hours in the dead of winter, stayed with friends that night, and went to the clinic in the morning. The nurses were professional, compassionate, and made me feel safe. I felt nothing but relief afterwards, and was grateful to the people on both ends who were there to help. I never told my family.
That summer we got married. I would like to say that we had a happy life and a family. But that didn’t happen. Two years later we divorced. He was abusive and suffered from alcoholism. I went back to college, got a teaching degree, and went on to graduate school. None of it would have been possible if I had given birth. I would have been trapped in a dangerous situation with a child and no means to support us. I’ve never regretted the abortion or remaining childless by choice. Bearing children is a personal decision. Every pregnancy is different. Government should never force women to give birth. It is a violation of human rights.