By 2014 I’d been working overseas for about five or six years, and I was ready for a break. When my employment contract ended, I decided to come back to the US to spend time with family, do some traveling, regroup, and undergo surgery to take care of some medical issues I had at the time.
I was able to keep my insurance and started paying Cobra. That meant I had to pay over $700 or so in payments per month to keep my insurance. Some may think that’s insane, but I did so because it would cover the medical procedure I’d undergone. But between that, my mortgage, and having to eat, my savings were being spent quickly, and I was on a tight budget.
After going through my medical procedure, my doctor told me that I had to get on birth control, as getting pregnant for the first couple of years could pose a danger to myself and/or the fetus.
I also could not just take pills for birth control, so I had to get an IUD or something similar, an expense upwards of $1000. I contacted my OBGYN so that I could get a prescription for birth control, but I was told the birth control wasn’t covered by insurance.
Because my former employer was a religious-based organization, I knew they didn’t usually cover contraception, but I also knew they made exceptions for medical reasons. I could not see how this would not qualify. But, alas, they rejected my request to cover the birth control. I appealed the decision two times and was in the process of appealing a third time when I discovered I’d gotten pregnant.
I was really angry. I could not believe that a company could have this much control over my body and could decide when, how, and at what point I should or should not have a family. The Affordable Care Act was already a reality, but the mandate to provide birth control had not yet been approved (it was approved about four months after my ordeal).
My then partner and I were very adamant that we were not ready to be parents. We were both unemployed, and I had just gone through a serious medical procedure and was not medically or physically cleared to be pregnant. I was not mentally or emotionally prepared to be a mother at that time either.
I contacted a local Planned Parenthood where I went and got a test that confirmed my pregnancy. I asked them if I could make an appointment for an abortion, and they gave me the phone number for a PP clinic that could perform the procedure.
The clinic was about 40 minutes from my house, and they told me that they did not have any appointments for two-or-three weeks, so I would have to wait that long before I could see someone.
I could not wait that long. My partner was not American, and he was here visiting me. We had a semi-long-distance relationship where he would come here for three months, and then I would go and see him for three months. He couldn’t just stay in the country indefinitely. Planned Parenthood gave me a list of places that offered abortion services, and that’s how I found the Preterm clinic.
Even though Preterm is closer to me than Planned Parenthood, it was still at least 30-or-so minutes from my home and on the other side of town. Luckily, my then partner and I, even while unemployed, were privileged enough to have the resources to get to the clinic and pay for the abortion services.
Getting into the clinic was a bit chaotic with people standing outside, holding signs, and screaming at us not to go in. My then partner was not used to this (he’s European, and the process is much easier there), so aside from going through this, I had to also explain things to him along the way. He was shocked at how nasty and unfriendly the people standing outside were and wondered why the police allowed them to be there and harass people.
We finally went into the clinic (after going through security and a metal detector) and, unlike outside, everyone there was friendly and sympathetic. When they performed the ultrasound, they could not find the fetus. I was so early on in my pregnancy that they could not detect it. They told me I’d have to wait another week and come back to the clinic to get checked again. This was really annoying. See, in Ohio you have to go through a two-day process to get an abortion. I had to go to the first appointment to get an ultrasound, talk to a social worker, and fill out a ton of paperwork. Then, only after all of that, I had to wait at least 24 hours for the next appointment before I could have a procedure done.
My then partner had to cancel his return flight and stay longer so he could be with me for support. We were lucky enough to be able to afford this. We were also privileged enough that we could pay for the procedure out of pocket, even if my insurance would not cover it.
I went back to the clinic a week later, and they did the ultrasound and found the fetus. I was then able to see the social worker and then schedule the procedure. I scheduled a D&C and was able to come in for the procedure two-or-three days later (the first available appointment).
My then partner and I went back, and I was able to get the procedure without any issues. Because I was unemployed I was also eligible for an IUD, which they inserted as soon as I had my abortion. I was so grateful for this because after paying for everything else it would have been very difficult to afford the IUD.
I remember everyone in the clinic was very nice. I remember there was a painting on the ceiling of the room (something with a sun). I remember the doctor commenting on how much she liked my shoes. I remember the procedure felt like a really awful cramp, but it was over very quickly. I remember the recovery room, with the heating pads and the cookies and juice and people coming by and asking how I was feeling. There were other girls there. One was crying.
I felt relieved. I’d already cried because I’d felt so powerless, but the procedure was a way to get that power back. Power over my life and body.
It has been about four years since then. I am in a new relationship. My ex is in a new relationship on the other side of the world. We keep in touch sometimes. I am glad we didn’t have a baby.
I am glad I’ve been able to continue my career and life as I’d planned it. I have no regrets.