First of all, I am, and always have been pro-choice. There are so many unwanted and neglected children in this world, I firmly believe in a woman’s right to choose. This is my story with abortion.

I never want to be one of those women who have children simply because they think they should, because they’re expected to from family or society, or because someone pressured them into it. I know enough about myself to know I don’t have the resources or patience to care for a child for 18 years, and I refuse to become another welfare mother.

I believe everyone has the right to their own opinion. If you don’t agree with me, then fine. But please, don’t leave nasty comments or tell me I’m going to hell for what I do and think. I know abortion is a very touchy subject for most people, but I also know there are lots of women out there who have been through what I have, or are currently going through it. My aim is to help those women, because someone needs to.

I’m not going to give you a sob story. This is factual in nature. My boyfriend and I sat down and discussed everything, and agreed 100% we do not want children (for numerous reasons). He fully supported me and was there through the whole thing, and is still there for me to this day. We had an accident, we were being responsible, but things happen.

I live in Ohio, which is predominately a pro-life state. I actually had to travel about 50 miles to even have access to an abortion provider, because everyone I called in my local area refused to help me. All they wanted to do was throw statistics and guilt down my throat for even considering abortion, even though Ohio has one of the highest welfare rates in the country.

After making phone calls and searching the internet for days, I finally stumbled across the NAF (National Abortion Federation). I didn’t expect much since they are a national hotline, and I had to call several times to get through to a representative, but I was pleasantly surprised. The rep was very kind, sympathetic, and didn’t try to sway me towards abortion even though I had already made up my mind. The reason why the NAF is great is because they’re the best resource available for someone considering abortion. They’ll give you info about your options if you want it, but don’t shove it down your throat like everyone else I called before them. They gave me names and contact info for abortion providers, and even helped me pay for about half of my procedure. I highly recommend them to any woman in need.

In Ohio, women are required to go to the clinic multiple times (it’s their way of trying to convince you not to abort). The first visit, I was there for 4 hours. I had to fill out paperwork, have an ultrasound, blood tests, standard check-up stuff. They need to tell how far along you are in your pregnancy in order to determine the appropriate procedure and costs. Basically, the longer you wait, the more it’s going to cost you. I also had to sit through a group therapy session about the mental and emotional conflicts with an abortion. They say many women feel depressed and regret their choice afterwards, but I didn’t. I firmly believe my choice was right for me. Once I had gone through their barrage of testing and talking about my feelings, they finally scheduled me to come back 2 days later for my procedure. I was 7 weeks 3 days pregnant, which meant I had to have a surgical procedure. (There is a medical abortion available if you are 6 weeks or less pregnant, commonly known as RU-486 pill, which you take orally and go home).

The wait between my first appointment and the procedure was the worst. I wanted to get it over with. They gave me a choice of sedation options: 1) Local anesthetic only, where you’re awake but they numb you 2) Light sedation, where they give you a pain killer that basically makes you loopy so you don’t pay attention or 3) Full sedation, where you’re completely asleep. I opted for light sedation, and I fell asleep anyway, which was the most sound sleep I’ve had in a really long time.

The night before the appointment I couldn’t eat or drink anything after midnight. My appointment was for 10am the next morning. I’m also a smoker, and I couldn’t have my ritual morning cigarette when I woke up, so that was kind of rough, but it was to keep me from getting sick from the anesthesia, which I did anyway. Go figure.

Once I got to the clinic that morning, I had to wait about a half hour. They took me back, put me in one of the standard hospital gowns, and put me on a table. I got an IV so they could give me the Demerol (pain killer/anesthesia drug), and put the lovely little heart monitor clip on my finger. (Oh, and by the way, I had to take my nail polish off as well, so don’t do what I did and paint your nails a few days before.) After a few minutes the surgeon came in, introduced himself and all that, and the nurse gave me the Demerol.

It was kind of soothing in a way, because while I was laying flat on the table, I looked at the ceiling and they had a poster of butterflies pinned up. I swear they started flapping their beautiful wings at me before I passed out.

The next thing I know a nurse is waking me up in the recovery room. I was pretty drowsy still, but it wore off about a half hour later. I had a pad between my legs and they gave me another one to change and get dressed to go home. They sent me with instructions, a bottle of antibiotics, and made sure they spoke to my boyfriend before we left so he knew what to do if there was a problem, and what to expect of me for the next day or so.

We were in the car (on our 50 mile journey home) for about 15 minutes before I had to have my boyfriend pull over so I could vomit on the highway. Not my most proud moment, that’s for sure, but it was only once, and then I slept the rest of the way home.

I had to take the antibiotics for 10 days, and bled for all 10 of them. The first 3 or 4 days were pretty heavy bleeding, with some cramps, but nothing more than a regular heavy period. After 2 weeks I had to go back to the clinic for my follow-up, to make sure the abortion completed fully. They gave me 3 months of birth control pills as well, and told me to follow up with my local doctor for a regular prescription. I chose to go to planned parenthood, since I don’t have insurance.

I know some women have horror stories about abortion clinics and how the staff was rude or incompetent, but I didn’t have that type of experience. Granted, it was a bit of a pain to go through all the pre-operative counseling and whatnot, but that’s simply because the state of Ohio has such strict rules about abortion. Every state is different, so do some research, and call NAF – they’ll advise you.

All in all, it’s not something I’m proud of, but I stand by my decision. I know it was right for me, and I hope this helps any women out there who are considering abortion or are about to go through it. It is your right to choose. But make sure you do it for the right reasons. You have to be 100% sure about your decision, because there WILL be people along the way trying to convince you not to. There were protesters outside the clinic all 3 times I was there, and they had no qualms about insulting me. But that’s ok, because I stood firm with my right to choose, and I know I made the right decision, and I don’t regret it. I didn’t then, I don’t now, and I never will.