One More Taboo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

In the Sex and the City episode "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," Carrie Bradshaw tackled one of the subjects most familiar and least handled in popular culture — Abortion. In it, Carrie admits that she got an abortion herself after a drunk one night stand over a decade ago. This, for the show that regularly did competely unprintable things with say, wheatgrass, doesn't seem to be taboo, right? Except, abortion is one of those things that women rarely talk about after they've had them — whatever the reason. It doesn't matter if you're pro-choice or pro-life or in-between — many women don't talk about past abortions — even with their dearest friends or family. So today, we're going to do it — and we're asking you to tell your stories — whatever they are. If you had an abortion, tell us about it, and how you felt at the time. And why, if this is your experience, you do or do not talk about it now.

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i had an aillegal abortion in 1968....before roe v. wade. i have spoken about this since to convince others that making abortion illegal will result in the horrors of what i saw with my friends and my one. i was never to have a child after that.never told my parents and it was years before i told my siblings

Sent by SUZANNE PRICE | 2:08 PM | 1-22-2008

Just the last few years have I felt safe talking about the abortion I chose at age 16. I don't know if this is due to my current age (44) or a change in the culture. I've always known I would be called a murderer by some, but I've also known for me it was the correct choice. My mother and step-father knew I was pregnant and allowed me to make the decision. My boyfriend left the decision to me, but his family wanted me to go to a home for "wayward" girls to spare the family embarassment, then give up the baby for adoption. I knew myself well enough to know I couldn't part with a baby. An abortion was right for me and allowed me to break the cycle of addiction and abuse that was part of my childhood. I didn't tell my birth father until many years later...and he was supportive and loving. There was no shame or embarrasment involved! The last few years, I've begun sharing my story (in more detail) and feel it helps connect me with other women, who have had the same experience.

Sent by Debilyn | 2:09 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an illegal abortion in 1963... I was 16 and my parents took me to Mexico.
Even today I do not talk about it. In fact, my best friend of 20 years doesn't even know...I have often wondered why.
I even hesitate to give my name

Sent by KM | 2:11 PM | 1-22-2008

We had to have counseling BEFORE the abortion right after Roe/Wade. We had to see a therapist to make sure we were sure we wanted to do it. (We is my husband and myself).

Sent by Kitty Nicholason | 2:12 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion and did not tell anyone. I handled it myself. I already had a son. Relationship wih my husband was very rocky and I felt at the time I could not raise two on my own. I know I made the right decision but I have always felt that I wished I could have kept my child. I am still pro-choice and believe in having that option. I still have not told anyone that I had an abortion. I feel closer to my son and now have grandchildren and I know that I have been blessed and am happy after so many years.

Sent by Sharon | 2:12 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion four months ago. I'm a 24-year-old law student.

My partner and several of my close friends were by my side as I went through the difficult process of getting an abortion in Ohio.

I told my father, my college-aged brothers and most of my friends afterwards. I feel so blessed to have the support and love of so many. I feel a great responsibility to talk about my abortion experience, to end the stigma of sharing this common experience, and to assure other men and women that it is not scary, it is not immoral, and for some of us, it is not a difficult, fraught decision.

I have not told my mother. She is Catholic and I know she wouldn't forgive me for my choice. It breaks my heart to know that I can never tell her that I had an abortion.

Sent by Kelly | 2:13 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion as a teenager, but told no one except my boyfriend at that time. I was ashamed and surprised - the stereotype was that this is something that happens to "stupid girls" but I wasn't stupid. I did well in school. There was a disconnect.

I've had four planned pregnancies since that all ended in miscarriage, one of which happened while I was at work - as an abortion counselor. I started a blog to work through my thoughts and feelings on the subject of reproductive choice and challenge. (babiesornot.blogspot.com)

There are t-shirts available online that read "I've had one" and similar. It is good to break this taboo.

As an abortion counselor I did learn that women who are not native to this country don't necessarily suffer great guilt over this choice...

(though it is easy to find online, please don't read my name on the air - thanks)

Sent by amy | 2:13 PM | 1-22-2008

i've had 2 abortions one was in '96- i was 19 and the other was in jan. 2000. up until this year the abortions did not effect me what-so-ever but this week i've been thinking a lot about the children i might have had. especially because i was so in love with one of those boyfriends. both males were very supportive but one of my best girlfriends actually flaked out on providing me the ride to the clinic the morning of the procedure.
there seemed to be no one i wanted to talk to about these situations but a lot of my girlfriends have been there and have gone through several abortions.
i really admire those who can speak about it easily because after all, it has made your life more liveable (hopefully) than bringing an unwanted human being into this world.

Sent by joann | 2:15 PM | 1-22-2008

Thank you so much for talking about this today. I had an abortion in 1976 (age 16) and back then - probably now too - we just didn't talk about it with friends or family. This topic needs to become less taboo. Thank you to the woman who started Exhale and others - including you- who are helping women share their stories.

Sent by Linda Goldenhar | 2:16 PM | 1-22-2008

When I think of the abortions I had, one at age 19, one at age 27, the first thought/emotion is RELIEF. Relief that I was able to avoid bringing a child into the world when I was absolutely unprepared , especially psychologically.I have NO regrets at all, other than that I got pregnant in the first place. Both happened at about 7 weeks & I had no health problems afterward. When I was 19 it was pre-Roe v. Wade & I had to travel to Juarez, Mex. My biggest fear was that we'd be in a car accident & my parents would find out what I was up to. I'm now 59, have 2 great kids, and I never did tell my parents. I did tell my daughter and I credit that for her feeling safe in telling me when she got pregnant, also at 19, and keeping me informed about her decision to terminate the pregnancy.

Sent by Andrea | 2:16 PM | 1-22-2008

When I was 15, I got pregnant through my abusive (now ex-)step-father. Because he feared being caught, I wasn't able to go to an abortion clinic. He gave me an abortion with a coat hanger. I'm lucky to be alive!

I KNOW how horrible and dangerous "homemade" abortions are, and that is why I know that abortion needs to be kept safe and legal.

A new study has found that abortions are done in the same rates whether they are legal or illegal. Young desperate woman should be able to exercise their HUMAN RIGHTS and get a legal, safe, elective abortion.

Sent by AJ Adair | 2:17 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion and before I went through with it. I talked to my husband and we both decided that it was the best thing to do. We did it because we did not feel we were ready to handle that responsibility as well financially ready to have a child. We feel that if people are going to have children they should be financially responsible.
I don't feel bad or guilty about doing it and if I was presented with the opportunity to change my choice I would still choose to have had the abortion.
I don't talk about it because it was not, nor is anyone's business and I believe that it is the women's/family choice to have an abortion and nobody has the right to judge or make an opinion about the decision except themselves and their God.

Sent by Anonymous | 2:17 PM | 1-22-2008

I have met several women who had abortions and every one of them said that they were not at all upset by any aspect of it. In fact they were surprised that it amounted to nothing more than the same amount of tissue that they get when they blow their nose. They came away with the distinct impression that we are all making way too of a big deal out of nothing. If your personal beliefs are that there is a soul in that little sample of tissue, then don't have an abortion. But most women who have abortions do not believe that a soul would inhabit a non-viable glob of tissue. So it is not killing anyone.

Sent by Marina | 2:18 PM | 1-22-2008

I am a woman who had an abortion and am not afraid to talk about it, and have done so publicly on a few occasions. However, I do worry about the negative impact it has upon my family and therefore only do so under certain circumstances.

I know that nearly half of all U.S. women have abortions but very few ever talk about their experiences. Abortion is the ultimate taboo and I think that only by taking away the power of this taboo and allowing women and men the space to freely and without judgment to talk about their decisions regarding their family size and timing, will bring the entire debate to its knees. We will take the power away from those who stigmatize, and empower those who choose what is best for them.

Sent by Linnea | 2:18 PM | 1-22-2008

I know that you asked for comments from women, but as a young man in the late 1980's my girlfriend and I decided that she would get an abortion. We talked to a counselor and both of our parents before making the decision. Before discussing abortion with our parents, we wanted to keep the child. After talking with our parents, they convinced us that my girlfriend at the time should get an abortion. I regret that decision. She got an abortion around 20 weeks. At the worst case, I wish that she had given it up for adoption. I have lived with guilt for the last 26 years. I now have 3 sons, and I do plan on discussing the issue with them when they are old enough to prevent the hardship for both them and any young lady they may be involved with.

Sent by Curtis | 2:18 PM | 1-22-2008

I had more than one abortion through the late 1970's through Planned Parenthood. I was never counseled until the last one whereas I then used a copper 7. I have never told anyone that I had more than one. At one point in my life I could not remember how many. I have never outright told my husband of 26 years but some friends , mom and sister are aware.
I have made peace with myself. Before I had kids 23 & 19 to date I thought I could not get pregnant, possibly as a punishment. But then we thought of adoption.
Well I think often I forgive myself and the man who stood beside me.

Sent by harriet Mann | 2:19 PM | 1-22-2008

There is a new book out that I think is pertinent to this conversation called CHOICE edited by Karen E. Bender and Nina De Gramont. It is a book of essays by women of a wide variety of opinions and experiences, all broaching the subject of choice.

Here's more info: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/pfp.asp?ean=9781596920620&z=y

Sent by Miriam | 2:19 PM | 1-22-2008

I am 66 and I've had an abortion. At the age of 38, I was divorced and struggling to support myself and two teenage children with no help from my ex spouse, who was in another country. I found myself pregnant from my first boyfriend. We were not in love and I was not about to become a 39-year-old unwed mother and jeopardizes the welfare and education of my two children. I had the abortion and have never regretted it, but I have also never talked about it, because I was wary of how others might react when they heard it. I'm lying about my name and address now.

Sent by Patty in Pennsylvania | 2:19 PM | 1-22-2008

I was 42 years old when I had my abortion. Once and only once I didn't insert my diaphragm before sex. I didn't worry about it because I didn't think that I was very fertile being over 40. Well, I got pregnant that night. I was in no position to raise a child by myself, my boyfriend turned out to be unsupportive. I don't tell people about my abortion because I was older and should have know better. Young girls get knocked up like that, not middle-aged women. I feel like I should have made a better choice for a partner. Teenage boys leave their pregnant girlfriends not middle-aged men. I'm just ashamed of what led me to make that choice.

Sent by Emile | 2:20 PM | 1-22-2008

I'm confused about the speaker, she is talking about the 'grievance' process...grievance to me implies death, which then implies life...which would make this wrong...advocates Pro-choice make the claim that it's not life, so why grieve. It's obvious not enough counseling is involved due to the rush to take action - due to 1st trimester requirements, but that's exactly what makes education in high schools or sooner so important, because once you are in the situation you have no time to think or feel- how is that humane for the mother or the fetus??

Sent by Tess Acosta-Williams | 2:20 PM | 1-22-2008

It's not just embarrassing for the women. I'm a man who got my girlfriend pregnant about 20 years ago, and never told ANYONE about it. I know it's not of the same magnitude for a man, but that doesn't mean it should be ignored.
The thing about is that there is no upside to being honest about it. It would be like admitting that you're an agnostic or atheist. It won't get you any benefit but can have a huge downside. people who want to can view you as an evil person. And there's nothing you can say or do to change their mind.

Sent by withheld | 2:20 PM | 1-22-2008

In talking about my abortion, I have found that many women I know had also had abortions, women I wouldn't have ever expected. It made me feel like I wasn't alone. I would like to know the statistics on how many women in America have abortions. I am sure it is high.

Sent by Sarah | 2:21 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion 30 years ago when I was 27. I told a few friends, but never told my parents. I don't feel any guilt about it. If anyone asks me if I ever had an abortion, I would not hesitate to say "yes," but I don't feel the need to advertise it. It's a personal matter.

Sent by sharon | 2:21 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion eight years ago. It was one that I did under the strong advice of people around me whose opinions meant a great deal. Aside from the conversation that precipitated the procedure, there were no other conversations.

I believe all women should have the option, but I found myself with a great deal of sorrow over the procedure. I have told subsequent partners because I needed them to know that I would not do the same again.

Like other women, I felt like it was too 'heavy' a topic to discuss openly. Nevertheless, I am always relieved when I encounter a friend who has had an abortion and is willing to talk even just a little about it. Somehow though, we always only talk a little. Scars are sensitive places I think.

Sent by Julie | 2:21 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion in 1985. I was a divorced mom with a five year old. I knew my relationship with my boyfriend was going no where. I could barely support myself and my child. I was 800 miles from my family. I was ashamed that I had gotten myself into this situation. To this day none of my family knows hat I had to do. I am white, came from a middle class, midwestern family. I would have loved my daughter to have had sibling but without a support network I could not see bringing a fatherless child into this world. To all those who don't support abortion I say sex education, support and above all FREE birth control, to both momen and MEN.

Sent by Sue | 2:22 PM | 1-22-2008

Sorry, to avoid chronological confusion, the abortion was in the late 1970's

Sent by Curtis | 2:23 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion about 18 years ago when I was 20. It was not something I was proud of, but it was the right decision for me at the time and I'm glad I had the opportunity for a safe and legal abortion. I didn't talk to people about it, because it didn't seem to me that it was anyone's business. I did talk to the father, who is now my husband and the father of our two children. We have not told our children, but they aren't an age where they need to know.

Sent by Jen | 2:23 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion at age 22. I needed no counseling and have no regrets whatsoever. What angers me is the presumption that any man should have an opinion about it.

Sent by Julia | 2:26 PM | 1-22-2008

This topic seems to draw a great deal of strong emotion into the spotlight. I find it very telling that after an abortion women and ladies need a "place to talk about the decision they made". It does seem the stark truth of this moment is that a mother is grieving the loss of her child. I am pro-choice. However I feel as if the sort of chest-beating some of the people on your program are doing, is nothing but a facade. Lets be honest about what hurts and not try to melt down this moment for people who have gone through it. Justification and patronizing words do no good to anyone

Sent by Andy | 2:26 PM | 1-22-2008

i've had multiple abortions -- in my 20's and one in my 30's. i didn't even tell my obstetricians when i had children later on. then in my 30's many of my friends were suffering through horrible ordeals in trying to conceive, so i felt if i told them i had given up the one thing they longed for, that would define me in their eyes forever. this continues into my older years, with friends unable to conceive, so i doubt i will ever talk about it, and i would never consider telling my children. it's one of the few things remaining about which everyone believes they can righteously judge you.

Sent by anonymous | 2:26 PM | 1-22-2008

I want to thank you for your show topic today. I myself had an abortion 4 weeks ago Saturday and it has left me confused. I've been seeking out women's stories because I feel alone and ashamed. The clinic that I had the abortion at treated me coldly and refused to let my boyfriend be part of the pre-counseling. I also feel that I was coerced into having the abortion due to my boyfriend not wanting it. Had the clinic involved him in the counseling I feel like I might be able to come to terms with the abortion, or he come to terms with keeping the child. We fought about the pregnancy for weeks and I just gave into him because I was afraid of being left to raise a child on my own. However, I am so ashamed and full of guilt over doing something that I regret. I have told two friends about the abortion an no others.

Sent by Jane | 2:26 PM | 1-22-2008

I had my abortion in my twenties and the guilt I still suffer today is acute. I am not as guilty about the abortion, but about letting myself get into that situation as I was supposedly a responsible adult.

I did ask my partner at the time to not tell anyone, but he felt it was his experience as well and every right to tell whomever he needed to. This felt like and still feels like a violation. Needless to say this was a final in the coffin of our relationship.

My mother knows and supported me, but I will not talk with her about it after 15 years. I felt like my close religious friends would never understand the decision I made.

Sent by not yet | 2:27 PM | 1-22-2008

I'm a man whose girlfriend had 2 abortions when we were both 20 years old or so. I'm now 52 and totally relate to the woman who called and spoke of her guilt. I sometimes think about what might have been had we not made those selfish decisions years ago. I also have never had children.

Sent by Walt | 2:27 PM | 1-22-2008

I just wanted to comment on the aspect of time and an abortion. I had an abortion when I was 20 and there was not a question in my mind it was the best thing to do because I didn't have the maturity to raise a child. I just had my first child at 34 and it has made me feel BETTER about my abortion. I know now that had I brought a child into this world when I was really emotionally unable to raise the child, it would not be the best thing for the child, even the world. Now as a mature individual I feel competent to be a parent, able to love fully, and truly elated to bring this little human to the world.

Sent by Sara Michaels | 2:27 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion on July 4th 1976. As a married woman I found myself facing a pregnancy with serious quality of life birth defects for the baby. My abortion was the first legally performed by this hospital and no after care services were available. Only a few close family and friends were told of the abortion.

The very first time I told a 'stranger' about my experience was many years later. In the mid 90's, I was in the audience for a speech by George H. Bush. He was delivering the standard pro life antiabortion line. I became so angry that I turned to the woman next to me and told her the whole sad story of my pregnancy and abortion. The woman, a voting republican, immediately offered her support and understanding and expressed her dislike for a single minded approach toward anyone who has had an abortion. Since then, I have told my story to others when ever is has served a purpose to enlighten or educate family, friends or strangers.

Sent by Shirleen Deppeler | 2:28 PM | 1-22-2008

I had two abortions one when I was 24 and another while in the military. Both were separate circumstances. I told absolutely no one including my husband until very recently. (I am now in my 40's) I was happy to find he did not judge me as I have feared others would. I have dealt with it personally now in my 40's and finally resolved that it was the best choice at the time. I can now hold my head up, at least within myself, and know that it was okay. However, I do realize that others, including many friends, cannot judge the circumstances in an objective way and that I must be careful who to share these intimate experiences with. I now live with no shame.

Sent by grace | 2:28 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion in the 80's. I don't, and didn't feel guilty. I know several other woman who have had abortions and depression about what was lost is not a feeling that any of these women have expressed. I am thankful that the choice was available to me. I don't tell anyone except other woman who are of a similar background as myself. I realize that are some parts of society that would find it unforgivable.

Sent by Mary | 2:29 PM | 1-22-2008

In the old days, when women were attended by midwives, there were remedies to help women get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. Women knew what to do for each other. Most of these abortions were done before the baby "quickened". Then educated men pushed away the midwife in the name of science. Do people think that only in this last half of the twentieth and the beginnings of the twenty first century that women carried all births to term? That women weren't "caught" and needed the midwife's help? That women didn't have too many mouths to feed? or enough children in diapers at one time?

Sent by Lyn Leaman | 2:29 PM | 1-22-2008

I've had 4 abortions since the age of 16. All for very different reasons. I now have 4 children. I guess it sounds stupid but I sort of ease my guilt by thinking that the children I have now are the same children I would have had, had I not aborted them. Kind of like I blocked the souls from coming here for a time? Like I said, it sounds stupid but it helps ease my feelings of guilt and enables me to forgive myself, a little.

Sent by Lynn | 2:29 PM | 1-22-2008

My Sister-in-law had an abortion 25 years ago. She was so ashamed to tell her parents. She waited until she was 16 weeks. Her mother was able to find a doctor to preform the abortion. I am pro-life, but I could never understand why she waited so long!

Sent by lynn | 2:31 PM | 1-22-2008

I'm not quite right in the head. Looking at me you would never know it. I'm very successful. One beautiful baby boy came to live with us. I toughed out a lot a stuff and than blammo I got pregnant again. I didn't ponder, worry, or freak-out because I knew Mike and Planned Parenthood were going to help me from making a terrible mistake. You really do have to know yourself at some point. I told only one person, a dear friend who caught me crying the next day. As soon as I confided in her she did the same and then we laughed and played with the best kid ever. The one I knew I could handle.

Sent by Gail Stander | 2:31 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion when I was 17. Unfortunate that I had to make that choice, but glad it was there. Last year a friend of mine got pregnant and choose to have an abortion. This was a much more difficult decision for her. We are now in our mid-thirties and she wants to have children someday.

I went to the clinic with her and we met the wonderful woman, Joan, who did the preliminary energy. We laughed with Joan and joked about the absurd politics of arguing against these rights for women.

I will never forget what Joan said that day. "Listen girls, I've been doing this for 25 years. Any woman under 40 who says she hasn't had an abortion is lying." It may not be statistically accurate, but the implication that women of all ages and shapes, of all backgrounds and moral proclamations have been through this experiences. Thanks for talking about it.

Sent by Sarah Hudgins | 2:32 PM | 1-22-2008

Good topic. Maybe nobody talks about it, because it's nobody's business but the woman making the decision. Often we confuse life and potential life. My heart goes out to the woman who is so ashamed. I remember as a teenager in the 70's reading OUr Bodies Ourselves, there was a picture of a woman who dies alone in a motel room from a illegal abortion. I can't imagine the horror of dying alone like that. Sometimes I would like to see this picture at a PRO life rally.

Sent by Anne Nagel | 2:32 PM | 1-22-2008

I'm listening to the program now. I just heard Neal's response to the woman who is having difficulty dealing with her shame over an abortion 32 years ago. Neil said 'There's no reason to be ashamed... no reason at all.' I immediately felt that this was an appalling injection of his personal opinion into the conversation. His belief is clearly that she needs to 'move on' and that that's the way she'll eventually come to feel better. It seems more likely to me that she will eventually come to terms with what she has done but that, given her outlook, the process will involve some kind of process of confession and forgiveness. She will most likely never come to believe that what she did was not wrong or worthy of shame. I found Neal's comments shockingly condescending.

Sent by JPLodine | 2:32 PM | 1-22-2008

As a potential father I shared an abortion experience when I was 16 years old. I'm 50 now and all through my life I've had a growing visualization of this child growing with me, conversing, sharing life. I now have three young children that have made my life so profoundly fantastic that I find myself visiting that long lost child more often these days...and in a very different way. It was the right decision at the time, but I could never have anticipated that this far down the line I'd have such a vivid, yet unborn, presence still so partnered into my life.

Sent by ML | 2:32 PM | 1-22-2008

Even after actively using birth control, I had two abortions in my mid 20s (1978, 1982). At the time, I talked only with my husband and two close friends. Through the years I have mentioned abortion as an option to women uncertain about continuing with a pregnancy. If the women is interested I suggest clinics.

I don't feel guilty or shame about my abortions, I just don't want people to judge me and I am not interested in hearing other's opinions. It was not their decision.

What is more concerning to me is the availability of clinics performing abortions in rural states and the power that religious groups are having over the right of others to have abortions.

Sent by Donna | 2:32 PM | 1-22-2008

I have a different take on this issue. I had an abortion over 30 years ago and some of my friends know about it. I have no regrets or guilt over the abortion and never had - it was the right thing to do. But I don't talk about it too much because people expect me to feel guilty or have regrets.

This is something I have talked about with my friends who had abortions. We believe that women who have abortions are expected to feel guilty or regretful and if we don't there is something wrong with us.

Sent by Debbie | 2:33 PM | 1-22-2008

A woman called saying that after decades she's still ashamed about having an abortion and has kept herself from having children. I believe she was told on the show that she shouldn't be ashamed. Shouldn't she have the power and the option to feel ashamed if that is her choice? If every woman's experience is valid, is there a reason why that path is not?

Sent by Laura | 2:33 PM | 1-22-2008

My mother had an abortion about fifty years ago after six children, the youngest of whom was mentally handicapped.The pregnancy was due to a failure in contraception and my parents felt that they were unable to cope with another child. The decision was not difficult but finding a doctor to do it was. The point of this story is to say to those who oppose abortion that there are as many reasons to have an abortion as there are women who have them and it is seldom due to just immature, irresponsible behavior. It is far more complicated.

Sent by Mary | 2:33 PM | 1-22-2008

Is there physical/hormonal reason for post-abortion depression?

Sent by James in Portland, Oregon | 2:33 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion 20 years ago and feel no shame. I think one reason that some women are hesitant to talk about their feelings surrounding their abortions is fear that any emotions expressed will be used to advocate a pro life stance.

Sent by jill | 2:33 PM | 1-22-2008

I am so glad you're doing this show. I think abortion has been successfully stigmatized by the anti-abortion movement, and this attitude has permeated our culture, witness the recent movies "Knocked Up" and "Juno". No serious discussion was given to the obvious choice. I have had two abortions back in the 70's, and I didn't feel bad or guilty, just relieved, and I still feel that way. I should also say that before abortion was legal I gave a child up for adoption, which I would not recommend to anyone. If I had not had those abortions I would not have the children I have now, which is the mothering and the life I was able to choose. I am also a Catholic, but obviously I don't agree with the church's stance. I felt no shame about it and still don't; I told my friends at the time, and my kids and husband know about it. Interestingly my 3 girls have many more reservations about abortion than I do. One thing to remember is that about 50% of all pregnancies are aborted spontaneously by the body for various reasons - I feel the same way about elective abortion - it just wasn't the right time for some reason.

Sent by Paula | 2:34 PM | 1-22-2008

I am so grateful for this topic today. I had an abortion in 1999, and while I still sometimes grieve my loss, I do not regret, and am not ashamed of, my decision.

Sent by Jennifer in PA | 2:34 PM | 1-22-2008

thanks for doing this show. i don't know how exactly how to formulate my thoughts, or what exactly i'm thinking or feeling, but it good to hear others share their experience.

i had an abortion 20yrs ago in college
i have healed and have forgiven myself, yet my abortion felt almost like a drive-through experience. lots of women in line, making small talk while waiting. it was blurry because of the valium. I felt quick, genuine support while there, but then i was out and it was done.
it's been sitting quiet inside. i don't know how much i've looked it in the eye. i don't feel guilt but I do feel SOMETHING about it, something that has yet to be articulated. it may never be.

Sent by nancy | 2:35 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion in 1970, shortly after I had gotten divorced. At the time I was trying to support 2 kids and knew I couldn't manage with another one. I spoke to no one other than the father, who fortunately gave me the necessary money, and the group that helped me arrange the procedure. I only had to take one day off work, so didn't have to risk losing my job. I felt extremely fortunate to have been able to have the abortion and not endanger the life I was trying to build for the kids I already had. Only within the last year I finally talked about it with my daughters. To this day I feel no guilt at all, only relief.

Sent by mh | 2:35 PM | 1-22-2008

One of your speakers just commented that a caller was unusual in that she found nothing morally wrong with having an abortion; therefore she feels no guilt. Count me as another person who had an abortion, when I was 19, and I have never regretted that decision once. Those of us in this situation don't talk about it, because of the discomfort it brings others, not because of any discomfort or guilt on our part.

Sent by Laurie | 2:35 PM | 1-22-2008

Thank-you for doing this!

I had three abortions in the 70's as a result of turning to sex as my parents sunk into mental illness and alcoholism. I am very grateful that choice was possible and have come to believe that the whole way that sex and fertility are designed suggests that choice is God-given. Abortion is only one of the choices that people make that result in the people who are born.

Sent by Mary from Colorado | 2:35 PM | 1-22-2008

At the age of 29 (1977) I found myself unemployed and pregnant. I could not believe this was happening to me. At the time I carefully weighed all of my choices, balancing the emotional and practical sides of the issue. The father was married and he was not available to help. My parents lived far away and had serious financial problems, etc. I looked long and hard for a way to actually have the baby. I could see no way that made any sense to me or to the baby. I elected abortion. I want the pro-lifers out there to understand that these decisions are not made lightly. Rather, they are agonizing. Yet, I did not believe I had a choice. The procedure itself was easy. The clinic assigned a social worker to me and she stayed with me throughout the ordeal and for 30 minutes afterwards. I cried for days. On December 8th of every year I stop and remember the child I never had. And I still cry. Yet, looking back, I am grateful that I had a choice and that I made the one that was right for me at that time.

Sent by Lizbeth | 2:36 PM | 1-22-2008

I think people who are pro-life believe that pro-choice people don't believe in the life of the fetus. That's not true. Regardless of which side of the fence you're on, it is (or will be) a person. It's not an easy choice to make and I don't think anyone who has to make that choice does it in a flippant way or without some feelings of guilt.

Sent by Julie | 2:36 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion 25 years ago. The father is the man I eventually married and had three babies with. We had only known each other for 3 months when we got pregnant. Today we look back and know we made the right decision for our family, even understanding there is a person we would have loved who we'll never meet.

I had no doubt that I was making the right choice at the time but nothing could have prepared me for the grief I felt after that procedure. I suffered for months with deep sadness that I felt I had to keep to myself. Finally, a woman I met by accident, a stranger I confided in who was a mother of young children, told me she dealt with grief over an abortion by privately recognizing that baby as her first child. This helped enormously, to honor the life of this baby that wasn't born to us. And I moved on. Years later, my next pregnancy miscarried so I also lost my second baby. This loss was also exquisitely private--not a topic for polite society.

My mother also had an abortion in her early twenties, but hers was illegal and came at significant risk. I treasure my right to choose, I treasure my daughters right to choose, and I treasure our right to grieve as well.

On my keepsake shelf is a small knitted chicken with pockets for wings, there are 5 little chicks tucked into the pockets to represent the five babies I carried all tucked in together. Abortion is not a dishonor to life, it is a necessity that requires courage and self-knowledge.

I have never been ashamed and I have never hidden this from my children. I will vote and work to preserve my daughters' right to choose their own reproductive destiny.
in community,
Tiny

Sent by dina | 2:36 PM | 1-22-2008

It is interesting to note the comments from Teri Reisser reflects the "post feminist' backlash that has grown since the heady days of the 1970's and the Women's Movement. Ms. Reisser's initial statement, calling women "gals" and referring to abortion as the loss of a child, (" there are no photographs of a high school graduation as in the death of an older child) as opposed to the loss of cells growing in a woman's body - not yet a child at all - what nonsense. Yet this climate of conservative religious oppression has contributed to keeping women guilty about making decisions that help them make good decisions about being in charge of their lives.

Sent by Kate Shea | 2:36 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion when I was 18. My mother covered it up because it was "BAD". Like the caller before I still feed guilt. I had a nervous breakdown when I was about 27 with three children now and one was a baby. Luckily my husband is so considerate and has stood by me and I did get help. I was in therapy for about a year and one-half. Now I still have subtle guilty feelings, but I have gotten past it. I feel like your guests that people really do need help getting past this. I feel like I have been given a second chance with the three kids I have and I am very grateful for them and for the help I received. Don't wait or keep this inside. Talk it out . . . Thanks

Sent by Dawn | 2:36 PM | 1-22-2008

I had two abortions at the age of 34. I was married to a violent partner, already had two small children, and knew that to not make that choice would have have consequences detrimental to the well-being of those two children. I have spoken to both of my children about the choice (they are now 19 and 21).

Adoption was not a choice, because having another child would have complicated an already complex situation. My ex-husband threatened me after he found out about the abortions and beat me.

I have spoken to my close friends about and feel no guilt. Choosing to have another child under those circumstances would have endangered the lives of my other two children. Those who oppose abortions would judge me regarding having not used birth control or considered abortion, but fail to realize the complexities of human relationships.

Sent by Sandy | 2:36 PM | 1-22-2008

First a comment regarding women's rights. I strongly feel this is a personal and moral issue not to be politicized or decided by our government. Also, I was in a two year relationship that suffered, and perhaps ended due to an abortion my partner had in early college days where she was abandoned by her boy friend. As she approached late 30's, our relationship deteriorated because of this guilt and insecurity of being a mother and commitment to me, father of a daughter from another relationship. I hope she's listening, and would reach out to your panel, because it broke my heart.

Sent by Wayne | 2:37 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion on March 14, 1974. I was 15. It was an awful experience for me, but it brought my mother and me closer because she was so supportive when I was in severe pain several days later, and she never brought it up again. Emotionally, I did not recover from it until my first daughter was born in 1982.

Now that I am the mother of three adult children, I am proud to tell you that I told my children that I had had an abortion. They know that I believe abortion is murder, but they also know that I believe abortion should never be outlawed because not everyone believes as I do. I wanted my children to understand why I was so honest and open with them about sex. My mother was a brilliant biologist, but she never discussed sex with me beyond the biology of it. My children and I have discussed all aspects of being sexually active, of being sexual beings. My children went out into the world armed with a complete picture of their responsibilities and alternatives, and I believe that information has enhanced their ability to make crucial decisions. I am not yet a grandmother, though my children are 25, 24, and 21.

Regards,
I am not ashamed about that part of my life, though most of my family remains unaware of it.

Sent by Lauren M. Jones | 2:37 PM | 1-22-2008

I had the experiences of releasing an infant for adoption at 20 and then an abortion at 21. Now, over 25 years later, I am overwhelmed with regrets and fears about the adoption, and no real lasting guilt about the abortion. It was a contraception failure, it was a mistake, I was on it early, it was over. But I dwell on what might have happened to my son, and it just kills me to think he might not be OK.

There is no comparison.

Sent by withheld | 2:37 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an illegal abortion in Mexico just a few months before Row v Wade was passed. I had a great doctor at the time, I was a student at a University. This doctor who told me I was indeed pregnant, asked what I planned to do about it. I told him I was on my way to Tijuana the next day and he said to me "do not regret what you do if it is the choice you feel is right for you. Plus, I want to see you the day you get back." I have told few people including my parents. I felt the choice was the only choice that was right for me at the time. I feel saddest for women who are not able to embrace the fact that having a child is their choice above all. This one of the most important choices a woman can make.

Sent by Misha | 2:38 PM | 1-22-2008

I know why there is a silence from most women about their abortion. It is because they know deep down they just killed a person. The scientific method states that for a theory to be true the results of an experiment must be consistent and repeatable. over 7 billion human egg and sperm combinations have resulted in a person. The only difference is the idea of desire. Do I want this child if so then its a person if not then it is a blob of cells we can kill.
I would like very much for women to become heroes and endure an unexpected pregnancy and give the child/person up for adoption. homeless people do not get to adopt! The screening process is intense. Many people have endured inprisionment and torture, for ex. John Mc cain , and have sone so for years then gone on to well lets say run for president of the united states. Why then is it so hard for women in that situation to bring the child/person to term and save a life. drag your buddy out of the line of fire and win the cmoh! At the same time bring huge joy and happiness to some couple trying and waiting to adopt a child. And in this day and age with so many way NOT to get pregnant in the first place is another huge reason to be responsible for our actions and do the right thing.

Sent by david kloss | 2:38 PM | 1-22-2008

I never think about the abortion I had when I was 19. Having my wisdom teeth pulled at age 25 was far more traumatic, but you aren't discussing telling people about your wisdom teeth operation. Of far more concern to me was the man I went to school with when learned massage therapy. He was both a reserve Air Force officer and a nurse. As a nurse, he claimed he would pull the woman who had the abortion procedure aside in order to show her the jar of tissue they collected. He claimed he would tell her that tissue was her baby, and she had done a terrible thing. I think today's conversation is helping alert women to everything they may face. We may not as individuals feel any need to bring this up in normal conversation, but this topic is important to discuss openly in a forum like yours.

Sent by Jennifer in Cleveland | 2:38 PM | 1-22-2008

Amy had made a comment that woman , not native to US, do not feel guilt, or look at abortion differently. I am not sure that is true, however I am likely good example of that statement. I had a couple of abortions in 80ties and have never felt guilty because of it. Abortion in my view is absolutely personal decision, and depending on your personality, upbringing, religious background.... you will or not feel guilt.
I guess I am one of the lucky one. And I feel very fortunate, that I am living in times, and I hope that will last for future generations, that my choice is somewhat still legal.

Sent by Eva | 2:38 PM | 1-22-2008

Why is it that your guests were solely pro-choice? Don't you think both sides should have an an opportunity to share how they are helping those women who have had abortions?

Sent by April Near | 2:39 PM | 1-22-2008

I had am abortion in 1965, when I was 18 years old. I felt it was the right decision at the time, and still do, but it was certainly difficult. I had to seek out an illegal abortion, and had no medical or psychological help afterwards. In fact, the police called me within a couple of weeks because they had arrested the doctor who had performed the abortion. They were trying to trick me into ?? what?? testifying against him? It was a large amount of money I had to borrow and it took a year to pay it back. I have still not felt bad about the decision, but I have sure felt alone.

I feel much worse about all the children who are born into homes that not want them and cannot provide for them, a far worse crime in my opinion.

Sent by Judy H. | 2:39 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion when I was 23. I and my boyfriend at the time made a stupid mistake with our contraceptives. We knew, deep down, that we weren't going to get married, even though we loved each other. We were young, neither of us were in a good place, job-wise, he was in community college and I was under-employed. We looked at a bleak future of low-paying jobs for us, no decent prospects for the kid, and together we decided that abortion was our best choice. He went with me to the clinic and drove me home afterward. The relationship ended several months later. We periodically stay in touch -- when you stand with someone at such a crossroads, how could you not? We're each happily married now. He has two kids, while I and my husband are childfree by choice. My husband knows about the abortion, as do most of my close friends. One sibling knows but the other doesn't. My parents don't know and I don't plan to tell them.

I, and several thousand other women, blogged about abortion today as part of NARAL's "Blog for Choice" day. Even so, my parents don't know my blogger handle. :/

I recently touched base with my ex when I discovered the so-called post-abortive men's movement (see here for more info: http://tinyurl.com/2ln6fw ). I wanted to know, now that he has two children of his own, if he felt the same way those men did. Thankfully he did not. While we both acknowledge occasional twinges of "What if?" we also both recognize that our lives are much better now, and neither of us regrets the choice we made that summer.

Thank you for this program today.

Sent by Angry Grrl | 2:39 PM | 1-22-2008

I've had several. I wish people would talk about it. We need to sort this out...the fear, regret, hurt, loss, shame etc.

Sent by Aborted | 2:39 PM | 1-22-2008

Thank you for doing this show. I've never had to face this decision personally and it helps so much to hear other people's real stories. We can only gain from hearing and learning.
I only wish that my teenage daughter were home from school to hear the stories. I think I'll sit her down tonight to read some of this.

Sent by Laura Hoeppner | 2:39 PM | 1-22-2008

This is the first time I have sent in a comment. I just couldn't let this opportunity pass without sharing my story. I had an abortion approximately 30 years ago. At the time I was already a single mother with a 2 year old daughter. I remember when I had the abortion I had no second thoughts and felt I was being so responsible. I was 8 weeks along. They told me at the clinic that "all there was there was pregnancy tissue". Anyway, my life went on and I honestly did not feel much remorse, as I said, I though I had done the most responsible thing by having the abortion. I just put it behind me. Every once in a while I would think about it but just sort of fleeting thoughts. Years later I remember distinctly being in a B. Dalton Book Store and looking at pictures of the gestation of a baby. My stomach lurched and I remember having an pretty awful feeling but I managed to bury it. Every once in awhile these feeling would surface but I would manage to push them away. I would say about 16 years passed and my sister became pregnant and was considering having an abortion. I had never discussed my abortion with family and due to the subject being discussed between my Mom, sister and myself, I guess it was time for me to deal with it all. I can only describe the depression I fell into as one of the scariest and blackest times of my life. I became filled with guilt and felt completely hopeless. I couldn't believe that after 16 years, that decision could affect me the way it did. I realize now that it was just something that I had to go through. I just had to deal with it. I can now think about the abortion and I feel really bad about it, but I have forgiven myself. Although, when I still hear the word, it just makes me feel so sad.

Sent by Judy Peterson | 2:40 PM | 1-22-2008

I am 53 years old. I became pregnant at the age of 18. Abortion was not a choice for me. Not because of religion, but simply because I loved babies SO much. I dropped out of my freshman year of college, left home and had my baby under the Welfare system and gave my first born son up for adoption without ever laying eyes on him. I do not feel that abortion is right or wrong. But no one ever talks about all the issues about taking the route I did. It took me 20 years to get back to college. I still wonder where my son is and what he is like, and now, whether I have grandchildren. I'm not sure anymore that abortion wouldn't have been a better option for me. The point is, no matter what you decide, it's a heartbreaking situation.

Sent by Mary Kay Doyle | 2:40 PM | 1-22-2008

I am a single man in my mid-50's.

When I became sexually aware in my late teens (I was not to become "active" for several more years) I made up my mind that I was not going to be the father of an unwanted baby. I've led a charmed life as far as unwanted pregnancy goes. My girlfriends and I never experienced a contraceptive failure.

When Reagan got elected, and the Human Life Amendment was on the table, I considered getting myself a vasectomy. But my girlfriend at the time had had a tubal ligation, so there was no need. The idea swum around in the back of my mind for years and surfaced briefly every time a legal challenge to abortion came up in the news.

When the Supreme Court recently upheld the so-called "partial-birth abortion" law, that finally pushed me over the edge. I made the appointment. I had the procedure.

Now it's cast in concrete; I shall never be the father of an unwanted baby. I shall also never have a child by my own seed. Although I feel that what I did was for the best, I still have reservations about what I did, about the fact that now no one will ever call me 'daddy'.

By the same token, I have to wonder, if abortion is outlawed again, how many people of *ideal* childbearing age, will have themselves sterilized in order to keep their lives (and those of their unplanned children) from being ruined by an accidental pregnancy?

Sent by I prefer to remain anonymous | 2:40 PM | 1-22-2008

I am from the south and had an abortion during my first year of medical school. I did not hesitate and I have never had any guilt about it. However, living in the Bible Belt it is completely taboo for me to discuss this. I don't talk about my abortion, not because it would upset me, but because it would upset others.

Sent by jones | 2:40 PM | 1-22-2008

I've had 3 abortions in my life. One as an under grad, one just before I went to grad school, and the last 13 years ago when I was 33. I've never regretted my choices and am glad to have had the choice. I think those that do have an issue with abortion are those who are under the delusion of their religion. It's a personal choice. When men have a uterus and ovaries then, and only then, should they have a say in the decision. I wonder if all anti-choice crowd would be willing to step up and adopt the unwanted fetuses that they'd like to keep from being aborted??

Sent by carol | 2:41 PM | 1-22-2008

I am proud of the women who have spoken up about their abortion experiences. I am finding it surprisingly intimidating. I had an abortion in 1988, when I was 20. I was very lucky to have supportive parents who helped me go to my own doctor for an early, safe and legal procedure. I did go through an internal mourning process (even though I was very content with my decision) and still remain aware of that change in my life and the potential paths my life might have taken. It was not easy, but it was the right choice. I don't feel guilty, but I feel respect for the importance of the decision. I never did talk to anyone specifically bout this, but I wrote in my journal and had productive conversations with myself as I went through the process of understanding and accepting it. I don't share this story with casual acquaintances, but extremely close friends and some family know. I do not put it on most medical histories. In short, I feel satisfied with my decision but not willing to expose it to others' judgment. This show has been an interesting opportunity to examine the question of why I keep it quiet. Thanks as always to NPR for thought-provoking shows.

Sent by Laura | 2:41 PM | 1-22-2008

I had one at the age of 22. It was a very difficult decision. In some ways, I felt like that I made the decision in a fog. I was in a new relationship and felt supported by him, but also felt like it was my problem and not his. To this day, I still feel very guilty about it and have told very few people about it. At the age of 30 and as someone who studies young children and used to be an elementary school teacher, I just feel the decision is something I will struggle with all my life. I hope to have children one day and also hope to get married. Thinking about having to share this secret with someone I want to marry terrifies me. I am glad to hear these stories and appreciate the choice your station made in airing this topic. Thank you.

Sent by Katy | 2:41 PM | 1-22-2008

I was a married adult, age 29 when I made the decision to have an abortion. It was legally performed by a doctor in a legally-operating clinic. Children were not something that I felt responsible for or ready for. I had been actively practicing birth control, so how a pregnancy happened at all is still unknown. I have no regrets. I told no one about it; even today, I don't talk to people about any of my medical issues, even my skin eczema, it's just not anyone's business. I was and still am appreciative that freedom to choose is still an option, though the freedom has recently been narrowed. If you don't like abortion, then don't have one!! There are SO MANY children being raised by grandparents or other relatives. Not everyone is an appropriate parent. My husband and I take better care of our dogs (and they are better behaved) than many children. However, I don't think using the procedure as birth control is right. What worries me is how reproductive rights continue to be eroded. Will birth control be the NEXT illegal option??? Without the right to choose, our society will revert to the days when many women died or suffered irreparable damage from back-alley procedures. Women will have to carry to term every pregnancy that they have. What kind of life could such an unwanted child have? We MUST continue the right to choose and I will continue to be pro-choice.

Sent by Katharine Z | 2:42 PM | 1-22-2008

I'm in the process of deciding whether or not to have an abortion right now. My pregnancy was not planned, but I was happy about it nevertheless. Then I learned that I might find myself in the situation of so many other women -- a single mother. Despite his promises to the contrary, my boyfriend decided he is not ready to become a father. Now I'm uncertain as to whether I can go it alone. I am just as unprepared as he, my worries compounded by not currently having health insurance or even employment.
This would be my second abortion if I did choose to go that route. The first was under very different circumstances and I don't regret it. I feel like I would have a more difficult time getting over the loss of this child. I am thankful to continue to have the option, however.

Sent by Elizabeth | 2:42 PM | 1-22-2008

I'm 55 now and had a (newly legal) abortion when I was 23. I don't talk about it because it is a private issue. After the abortion I felt a tremendous relief to not be pregnant at what I thought was the wrong time of life. Now I teach my 2 daughters to avoid pregnancy with proper birth control because an unwanted pregnancy is, as they say, unwanted.

Sent by SW Livingston | 2:42 PM | 1-22-2008

exhale is a great service - and long over due
curious about your outreach to the men in the equation
i had an abortion with the man who is now the father of our three children we both find it very sad to talk about the child we could have had - and both recognize that we think about it a lot

Sent by mary cerulli | 2:43 PM | 1-22-2008

I had two abortions, one in 1975 and another 3 years later. Both were during my marriage to my husband, now of almost 35 years. I have discussed the abortions with friends, and a couple of my sisters-in-law. I feel compelled to discuss them because both times we chose to end the pregnancies I was married, with no other children, and both times I became pregnant with an IUD in place.

I do not feel anyone has the right to judge why a woman would choose to end a pregnancy. I also feel it is essential that we continue to offer the option of termination to all women, and that we should not try to guilt them into bearing children they cannot support, either emotionally or financially.

We did have a child later, once I was done with college and had worked for some years. He is now an adult, pro-choice himself, and I have told him of my history.

I have helped several friends through abortions, and afterwards none of them experienced much guilt, the predominant emotion they expressed was relief.

Sent by Nancy Duemling | 2:43 PM | 1-22-2008

By the way, perhaps another taboo subject is those of us who wish we'd never had our children. I love my children - we have a wonderful life. But there are times when I know deep down that I should have done something else with my life. Talk about feeling guilt! Can't win!

Sent by Mom | 2:43 PM | 1-22-2008

My grandmother had to have a back-alley abortion in the 40s. The surgery went wrong, although she never wanted to talk about, and she was unable to become pregnant after that. My mother and uncle are adopted. If the abortion stigma hadn't pressured her to go behind closed doors and if abortions were legal in a safe environment back then, she might not have suffered.

Sent by Jenny Kedward | 2:43 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion just after my 19th birthday. My boyfriend had broken up with me just before I found out I was pregnant, I was far away from home at college, and it immediately seemed like the right choice for me. I turned to two college friends for support, but not one of my roommates since she was devout Catholic and I couldn't bear to tell her. I also told my parents, which I regretted at the time because it led to all sorts of mistrust issues and I felt I had to prove myself for years to come, even if that guilt was somewhat self-imposed. I found my aunt to be more of a neutral supporter to talk to - more of a friend and adviser (she was a nurse). Had I been aware of a support line I could have called that would have been very helpful at the time.

Though mostly at peace with my decision 15 years ago, I find myself wondering what "she" (the baby) would have been like as a young woman today and whether that may have been my only chance at motherhood.

Thanks for the invitation to share my story.

Sent by Cathy | 2:43 PM | 1-22-2008

The Catholic Church provides one of the clearest critiques of abortion, and also plainest route to healing after an abortion -- the Sacrament of Confession.

Sent by Brian Potts | 2:44 PM | 1-22-2008

I was adopted, catholic, a single parent to a beautiful child and a active right to life advocate. At 34 years old I had a choice to make, abort or give life. I told the abortion counselor this needed to be done but that I had to think I had no choice or my guilt would rule my life. I felt nothing when I did it. Nothing at all. I waited for the overwhelming sense of guilt, the regret or some sort of punishment from somewhere. I didn't tell my family and only one friend did I call. The only reason I did that was because I was taking a pill at the office and then the next day needed someone there in case things went badly. I couldn't die, I had a daughter to care for so I called a friend. One I knew couldn't/wouldn't tell anyone nor would she ever bring it up to me unless I did. It worked, she didn't and has not to this day. My only fear is that I still feel nothing, and nothing is by far more unfamiliar to me than guilt or persecution. I wonder often if that is the curse for me. If my lack of feeling surrounding it is my punishment that will follow me into eternity. I am not a "nothing" girl, not even close.

Sent by Pattie | 2:44 PM | 1-22-2008

I was reading about a place called RACHEL'S VINEYARD.

It is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing. rachelsvineyard.org

Sent by MW | 2:45 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion over a year ago. I think we need to talk about it. In talking about how prevalant it is we can break this negative taboo. Im so sick of people judging women when they have no idea what their individual circumstances were/are. Self-righteous conservatives think they know what is right for someone else, this is SO ridiculous! Lets break the barrier and open the door to talk about this. In the last 2 months I told my new (of 9 months) boyfriend and my siblings and my mother. I want those around me to know they can talk to me about it if they want to or if they are ever in this situation and need someone to talk to.

Sent by Layla Fahad | 2:45 PM | 1-22-2008

If teenagers or even pre-teens get sexual education as part of curriculum, how many abortions and post-abortion stresses would we avoid!

Sent by Elena | 2:47 PM | 1-22-2008

I had 2 abortions many years ago, one when I was 19 and other when I was 27. I am now 50 and have a 10 year old daughter. I realize how much time and energy it takes to raise a child and it re-affirms that I made the right decisions back then not to have a child when I was so young. Please tell your listeners that only they can assess the situation they are in and whether or not they have the resources, energy and mind-set to raise a child in their situation.

Sent by Katherine | 2:47 PM | 1-22-2008

I had two abortions almost 20 yrs ago. My boyfriend (the father) was very supportive and he grieved with me. Being a Catholic, I grappled most with the anguish of "How can God forgive me when I knowingly and very premeditatedly kill someone? And not just someone, but an innocent baby whom I loved?" I was 18 and was hoping to have a future. During the procedure(s), I cried to God, and incredibly, He answered me, "You are not alone." God is all about forgiveness, and we should be forgiveness for each other. Please don't be afraid to talk to people in your family who are Catholic, and if they forget, remind them that forgiveness heals, which is why God sent us his Son in the first place. I miss my children I never had; that is the only sadness that remains. After my mistakes, and the pain and shame of them, I vowed to never abort again.

Sent by AMWS | 2:48 PM | 1-22-2008

My last boyfriend (recently broken up) has a long term relationship before meeting me. That previous relationship ended after 9 years - three months prior to finally ending it, they had had an abortion. While we were together for roughly 10 months, I only learned of his past history after about months of us being together. I felt like his telling me of what was a part of his past was his way of explaining the rough patch we were experiencing ourselves. I feel he never got a chance to deal with what happened to them and him, instead he double his intensity of wanting a family, a wife, and children sooner rather than later - he is 31 years old. And that is mostly the reason we broke up - he was putting intense pressure on me to decide now what my future family plans are. That's not a decision I could make, and therefore we eventually broke up. We never discussed the abortion beyond his trying to explain his actions, I wish he could of talked more about it, if not for our relationship, for himself. Instead, I feel like he will inevitably end up turning potential partners off in the future by demanding to know right away if they are planning on a family and children with him. Hi reasoning has always bee, "I don't want to repeat past mistakes"

Sent by pamela | 2:48 PM | 1-22-2008

I stupidly got pregnant when I was 14 years old. I didn't find out about it until my third month. I made an appointment for an abortion with support of my mother, which for her being a devote Catholic was very hard. I would have gone through with it if I wasn't so far along. I had my daughter and gave her up for an open adoption. She'll be 10 in May. I see her about once or twice a year. I feel completely comfortable with my decision not to have an abortion but I am so grateful to have the choice in doing so.

Sent by Jenny Kedward | 2:49 PM | 1-22-2008

It's been ten years since I had an abortion at age 19. I don't think I completely forgave myself until the birth of my son, 4 years later. It was a difficult decision to make because I really wasn't sure if I was taking a life or not. Now that I am in the medical field I know that what I aborted was not a child, but I do believe that we all have a soul. This made it hard. I do believe that I did the right thing for myself and the embryo. I was not ready to be responsible for a child, but knew that I also wouldn't be able to go the adoption route. I only told the father, his best friend, and recently my best friend. Because we had first planned to keep the baby, we did tell family about the pregnancy. This was the hardest part. I had to lie to them because I did not want to break their hearts and because it was very personal to me. I am happily married to the same man and we have two wonderful children. I wish you all the ability to forgive yourselves. You wouldn't be who you are today without that choice.

Sent by Sue | 2:49 PM | 1-22-2008

I have had two abortions - one in 1976 (I was 16 at the time) and another in 1979 (birth control failure).

I have never once regretted the decisions - having children when I was still only a child myself was absolutely the wrong thing to do. I was and am still convinced that it would have destroyed my life and in return, I would have been a horrible mother to those children. I also don't believe that women should be forced to bear children they do not want so that childless women can adopt. That's a personal choice that should never be forced upon any woman.

I now have a 5 year old that I adore - and because I wanted until it was the right time, we are a solid happy family. No regrets.

Sent by CDahl | 2:49 PM | 1-22-2008

One thing we need to think about is the potential GRANDPARENTS. My 19 year old son got his 17 year old girlfriend pregnant. My husband and I don't believe in abortion - but we knew it was ultimately their decision. We told them that we would do anything to help them raise the children (twins) even raise them ourselves or at least until they finished college and got situated in their careers - live with us, etc. They made the decision to have the abortion and the grief that my husband and I feel is overwhelming - we lost 2 grandchildren. With that said it is now our desire to keep the lines of communication open with my son and his girlfriend - because if they do go thru guilt in the coming years we want to be there to support the decision that they made. Although we did not agree with their decision now that it has been made we want to give our support whenever they need it. The last thing they would need to hear if they came to us with regret is us telling them they made the wrong decision. I had had an abortion when I was 17 years old and went thru many years of guilt - I have to come to terms with my decision - but the shame remains - I told my husband we were not going to tell anyone or even mention it between ourselves and we haven't hardly mentioned it thru the years. People that support abortion say that it is the women's choice - but in reality it is not only her that was affected but us - the grandparents. I grieve for the grandchildren I never got to know - I sometimes think that they may be the only ones I might of had. Also- as far as my abortion I think about how he or she would have been my first born and I robbed my children (3) of a sibling. My heart goes out to all women who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy - whatever choice they make. Now I would choose Life.

Sent by Evelyn | 2:50 PM | 1-22-2008

Just thankful to read that I'm not alone in witnessing how this administration and what is called the "religious right" has stigmatized this to the point where there is such judgment and stigma assigned to this choice. So much so that I cannot verbalize my thoughts on this without concern about alienating myself from community, etc.

Sent by sro | 2:53 PM | 1-22-2008

I'm yet another woman whose only emotion after abortion was immense relief. I already had 2 children and a shaky marriage--another child would have been a disaster for all concerned. This was before legal abortions--my kind gynecologist gave me a D & C painlessly, in the hospital. Now the culture seems to have forgotten what things were like for most women before abortion was legal and safe. This year we've had 2 movies glorifying the rejection of abortion. It's a shame that shrill and sometimes violent abortion opponents make women feel guilty about ending an unintended pregnancy or even bully them into bearing children they don't want or can't care for.

Sent by Sally | 2:54 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion when I was 18. At the time, I was grateful because adoption was out of the question. The one girl in my high school who went through with a pregnancy and placed her baby for adoption ruined her reputation and some 30 years later is still remembered as "the girl who had the baby." Those of us who had abortions are remembered as cheerleaders and track stars. Infertility followed my abortion so when the time came that I wanted to become a mother, adoption was the only option open to me. I don't regret my choice -- I'm the mother I am to two sons I adore because of all the choices I've made in my life, including abortion. Still, I wouldn't be a mother now if the teenagers who gave birth to my sons made the same choice I did. I can't shake a nagging ambivalence about that. What I wish is that adoption had been a respected and supported choice for me at the time. I only hope we've become more humane about it now so that women facing unplanned pregnancies really do have options they can live with.

Sent by Laura | 2:54 PM | 1-22-2008

One of your guests implied that the majority of women who get abortions have negative emotional consequences. I cannot understand why she was not challenged. Are there any facts to support that? When I became sexually active shortly after Roe v Wade I felt that the responsible thing to do was to decide ahead of time what I would do should birth control fail. I had two abortions and have discussed them with my daughters in the light of sexual responsibility. I think this subject has become much more freighted with emotion in the past decade because the deteriorating economic conditions for the vast majority of us have pushed the resurgence of religion and the idea that not only are we are not masters of our own fates, but that we shouldn't be.

Sent by Julie | 2:58 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an Abortion 4 years ago. At the time I was in a new relationship and this cemented us together. I was perfectly fine and at peace with our choice. However, he was not. After the abortion he turned mean and spiteful. He became manipulative and abusive. And I remained in this relationship for 3 years before I was able to stand up.

Because no one else knew about the abortion he would hold it over my head as a sort of blackmail. The Stigma applied to those of us who have had an abortion kept me silent and living in fear.

Once I told my closest friends I was able disarm him of his biggest weapon against me.

If you have had an abortion and are living in fear please speak up. It saved my life.

Sent by Ann | 2:58 PM | 1-22-2008

The abortion show, great show as nearly always Neal. However, the last caller, an elderly lady, wanted the guests to assure her that her abortion during her youth was alright. However, time was up for the show, and she received no reply, except that she would be the caller. Even if the clock says time is up, can't you do the human thing and allow a few moments for healing? I realize you must have missed what she said in her last sentence, for you are a good listener, but I am afraid this time one might have gotten away. This show was very powerful towards people's healing. Perhaps the possible magnitude of the program was not fully realized before the 'on air' sign went on. Thanks for listening. I remain most humbly, William Broughton

Sent by william broughton | 2:59 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion 36 years ago, when I was 22. I got pregnant when I was in I had an abortion 36 years ago. I got pregnant when I was in a committed relationship and was using an IUD. I am married to the same man and have two wonderful daughters. I do not believe the relationship would have survived or that our daughters would exist, if I had not had an abortion at that time. It was not legal at that time in the Bay Area without a psychological exam. I still think about how old that child would be, even though I do not believe that the fetus was a child. I do believe that if the fetus is not viable or if the pregnancy is dangerous for the mother that abortion should be legal.I do think I made the right decision in my situation. My mother knew and was very supportive. I have not told many people, but have talked with our two daughters. One of them is now in an OB-GYN residency and is strongly in favor of safe abortion availability. I wish that I could talk about it without threatening my relationship with the person I might be talking with.

at but was not sure it would last relationship and was using an IUD. I am married to the same man and have two wonderful daughters. I do not believe the relationship would have survived or that our daughters would exist if I had not had an abortion at that time. It was not legal at that time in the Bay Area without a psychological exam. I still think about how old that child would be, but do not think I mad the wrong decision. I have not told many people, but have talked with our two daughters. One of them is now in an OB-GYN residency and is strongly in favor of safe abortion availability.

Sent by Ann | 2:59 PM | 1-22-2008

I got steamed when, after the Jewish born women said couldn't relate to guilt with an abortion, the commentator for the topic said she thought that her response must be a small minority. I am sure that she hears sob stories on her hot line; after all, that is what hot lines are for. People who don't have any problem, and I would suspect that they are the majority or they wouldn't have done so in the first place, don't call her. Furthermore, Laura's comments are exactly why this should be a personal choice and not even part of the public debate. The public has no place placing limits on the right of women all of the country to exercise their own personal and religious choice. Attempts to place these limits not only violate the Roe v. Wade decision but also violate the 1st amendment of the constitution which states that no law should be enacted which limits or furthers any particular religious view. Roe v. Wade, in my opinion, missed the boat in making the right argument. It should have firmly set itself on the first amendment rather than creating a nefarious and not so clear right that is not clearly stated in the constitution or its amendments. What is pertinent in Laura's upbringing is that she was Jewish. The Talmud states (as clearly as 2 Jews with three opinions can state), that a pregnancy represents POTENTIAL life but is not an ACTUAL life. Judaism values life. Therefore, the life of the mother, who is actually alive, is far more important and dominant than the potential life she carries. The potential life she cares does not become actual life until the majority of the body -- usually defined as the crown of the head -- comes into the outside world. Until that moment, up until the very end, if the mother's life is threatened because of the potential life she carries, the potential life can be ripped from the womb limb by limb if doing so will save the mother. Most rabbis carry this threat to the life of th mother into the psychological realm. Therefore, up until the moment of birth, there is no Jewish conflict with an abortion at any point in the pregnancy if the reasons for the abortion meet the criteria of saving the life of the mother in any way. Because I am a Jew myself, it makes me furious at all the attempts to abrogate the Constitution's first amendment by passing laws which profess the view of just one religion -- the Christian right. When I came into today's show and heard the woman who, after 32 years, felt she did not deserve other children because she had killed her baby, I was imagining that she meant that she had actually had a child who was killed in her care. How shocked I was to find out that she meant she had merely had an abortion. I couldn't understand! That is not a baby! That is only a potential baby. Not all potentials -- in fact most don't -- come to fruition. I feel sorry for her guilt especially after all these years and think it is a shame that there she has tied her soul to a religious regime that perpetuates it. But I cannot relate to it. She did nothing wrong and did not murder or kill anything. She should get counseling but just because there are people like her doesn't mean that her views and the religious views of the ones she aligns with should become legislation that I, a Jew whose religion says something entirely different, should be required to abide by. I know that if I should ever be lucky enough to get married and pregnant but that pregnancy goes awry, even in the fifth month or seventh month or more, I should have no qualms having an abortion so that I can try again -- despite what this twisted Supreme Court of Catholics says. I take the first!

Sent by Beth M. Horowitz | 3:01 PM | 1-22-2008

I've had several abortions & never regretted the decisions. I regretted getting pregnant as I felt it was a failure on my part to be responsible. I'm now 47, single, & happily child-free. I never speak of the abortions to anyone. In fact, the only people who know are a couple of girlfriends & the men involved. I don't feel compelled to talk about it now, but would if someone else shared first & needed my support.

Sent by KF in MD | 3:02 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an end-of-the-first-trimester abortion in 2000, when I was 41 years old. I had 2 children, aged 7 & 10. I got pregnant by accident & was told that the baby I was carrying had a chromosome problem that meant I had a 90% chance of having a miscarriage (not necessarily in the 2nd trimester). If the baby went full term, it could not survive past a month. I had previously had a late 2nd term miscarriage that put my life at risk because of the unexpected bleeding.

I saw no reason to wander around like a time bomb, waiting to explode in blood, so I chose to have an abortion. Per Michigan's "Informed Consent" law, I had to take an extra day off work so that I could see pictures of smiling babies & hear a speech, given by my doctor, but prepared by the legislature. The doctor had to read the text, including things like "women like you can have a happy, healthy baby," & then my doctor had to put the text aside & say "but that's not the case for you, as we've discussed."

I was furious throughout the talk (& still). I feel nothing but contempt for the Michigan legislature & Governor Engler for making me go through that farce. The assumption in the talk was that I was a silly little girl who had given this thing no thought & had to have the geniuses in the legislature tell me what to do. The legislature assumed I was unmarried, childless, & a teen or only in my 20s. I especially resented them insisting that my doctor say things that weren't true. He had been with me through the miscarriage & I had a great deal of respect for him. I hated to see him forced to say what we both knew was wrong.

The most bizarre moment was the point in the script where it said "There are people who are willing to adopt your child." I expected the doctor to stop then & say AGAIN "of course, this doesn't apply to your case." When he didn't stop, I asked "surely no one would adopt a baby who was going to die in a month?" I was told that actually there are some people who do this. "Would they come to the hospital and hold him? Would they look after him until he died?" The doctor said he wasn't sure, but he thought that generally, it was just a legal arrangement. THOSE are the people who need to come out of the closet. What kind of "pro-life" position is that? Is there no one else who is dying or who has needs that might benefit from the care or money or legal expertise of such people?

I have told my older children about this (I ended up having a healthy child later), both my parents, & one of my brothers (the other converted to Catholicism). I will tell my daughter when she's older. My husband couldn't have been more supportive. However, I don't tell everyone because obviously no one wants someone claiming you're a selfish murderer. (& also, people just don't want to know every little thing about me, I assume.) I don't know why I should have to apologize for thinking of my life & my children's lives & my husband's life. Would the Michigan legislature look after my kids if I died rather than had an abortion? They can't even balance the budget, which is the one thing they're supposed to do.

One thing I have heard some people say is that losing a baby before it's born is like losing a full born child. It's not. I really mourned the baby lost in the miscarriage, but I would go through that pain & more every month to keep any of my children alive. & as for the child I aborted? I did feel some sorrow (not regrets), but it was nothing compared to the miscarriage. Perhaps people who feel that a lost embryo is like a lost child are people who have never had children & have no point of comparison.

Sent by Carol from Michigan | 3:03 PM | 1-22-2008

There is a controversial theory in the book "Freakanomics" that notes the correlation between the legalization of abortion in the early 1970s and the drop in crime rates in the 1990s. I think one of the leading reasons why I and so many other young women choose abortion is to stop the cycle of poverty and dysfunction that often comes along with not having the resources or support to care for a child. In a country where social welfare and health care is not a priority on the national agenda, I think abortion is often a choice women make out of desperation.

Sent by Anne | 3:05 PM | 1-22-2008

At 17 I had an abortion. It was September 11, 2001. I watched the towers go down on tv in the waiting room. The procedure itself was the most painful and traumatic experience I ever had. The clinic never asked for ID or any questions for that matter. I was grateful for that at the time, but then that actually made me angry later on. Perhaps if they would have presented some options, I would have changed my mind. I have gone from feeling guilty to feeling it was the right decision... and right back to feeling guilty again. I think some women lie to themselves and say it was the right thing to do in order to ease their own guilt. How else do you deal with the cognitive dissonance? I know, I lied to myself for years until I believed it. Now, at age 23, I admit I feel like the woman who called; I don't think I will ever forgive myself even though I know God will. I always think about how different things would be now if I would have kept it. I have told my current boyfriend because I believe in full disclosure when it comes to someone I plan to spend the rest of my life with. I am still pro-choice, but personally, I would rather die before I have another abortion.

Sent by Patricia | 3:07 PM | 1-22-2008

I listen to your program today about the women that had abortions. My heart melted, because some of them was not even sorry or ashamed at what they had done. Regardless of how other people try to make you feel that you did nothing wrong, its a "lie" ABORTION IS MURDER, whether you what to admit it or not. GOD WILL FORGIVE. If you ask him, and believe it or not you need his forgiveness. I will pray for those people I heard on the program because GOD knows each and everyone of you. SAD DAY.

Sent by Josephine McNeal | 3:10 PM | 1-22-2008

Patricia,
you need to seek professional help. If you were to get pregnant again and did not have the means to support yourself or the child... you honestly would rather die? Now THAT is being selfish.

Sent by aj | 3:14 PM | 1-22-2008

I am now 43 years old. I have had 2 abortions under completely different circumstances, and even though I look at those as sad times, the choices I made were best for me and I am very thankful that I had the choice; I would not have the life I have now (in my mind, the better life for me and my children) without the choice. The first abortion was when I was 19 and dating someone that would not make the kind of father I would want for a child of mine. The abortion was performed safely at a hospital; a woman on the gurney next to me was maybe 40 years old and told me that she had already had her family and her current pregnancy was unplanned and she did not want to have another child at her age. Later, I married and had two children, then a miscarriage, and then my third child. After my third child I seemed to become overwhelmed with life as I entered peri-menopause, and that is when I became pregnant for the last time. My husband and I chose together to have the abortion. I know that I would not have been as good a mother in the case of the final pregnancy; in each of my pregnancies I had gestational diabetes that became increasingly difficult to keep in check. Also, I was beginning to feel depressed, which years later became full-blown major depression (runs in the family) that needed medication. I am an excellent mother to the 3 children that I have, and it would break my heart to have been a poor mother to a 4th. I believe that freedom of choice must be maintained for the good of society.
Here is an example of a sad story of a young woman, my neighbor's daughter, who did not have an abortion and chose to have the baby. After the baby was born, the father, who had wanted the baby, dropped out of the picture. Turns out he had a little drug problem. The mother was unbalanced (ironically had been adopted, herself) and became unable to care for the baby; her family wanted to have her committed, but she was deemed not a danger to herself or anyone else... just unbalanced. The end of the story, at the moment, is that the grandmother of the now 2-year-old child has taken over the care. I see how much this has taken away from her own life; she has become too thin, stressed, she also feels obligated to take care of her aging parents... a wonderful woman, but too much is on her shoulders. She asks my eldest to babysit as often as possible and pays her an enormous amount, which seems to be an indicator of her desperation for time for herself. What kind of unbalanced baggage will this child have? Only time will tell. I firmly believe that better for all would have been an abortion. I don't know why they did not go that route. They are Catholic.

Sent by Kim S | 3:15 PM | 1-22-2008

I'm a man, agnostic, pro-choice and I reject anyone's moral judgment on abortion. Pregnancies were ended, I'm sure, before any of today's major religions existed.

My mom's failed tubal ligation gave me a brother, so I am glad that my mom chose not to abort. The odd thing for me is that I had a girlfriend around 1980, I recall that she had an abortion without my involvement in the choice. So I may have blocked out that I was the responsible male. I am content that we both ended up in happy, stable relationships (on opposite coasts, so we don't talk)...

Sent by JamesO | 3:16 PM | 1-22-2008

Josephine McNeal,

how dare you upset this moment of HEALING for those of us who need it.

GOD KNOWS that you have done this terrible thing. I pray for your soul.

Sent by aj | 3:16 PM | 1-22-2008

I have had an abortion.
We don't talk about it because, in most cases, it is the fix of a big mistake.
Just watch the movie Vera Drake to know how awful it was for both the victims and the doers of the deed in an era when the possibility of fixing a terrible life-defining mistake was illegal.
Getting into the situation is so easy. Getting out of it must not be made any more difficult logistically and legally than it already is emotionally and spiritually. I have no regrets or emotional guilt for what I did more than 30 years ago in my 20s. I had a good education but it was an all-girls convent school education from 12 to 16. More open discussion about sex, about our sexuality and why we want to do what we want to do when we are feeling so juiced up, and to have this discussion in the company of male teachers and guys my age would have helped - some. More education also about - not abstinence - we got way enough of that - but about protected sex, about how to take care of safe sex myself - forget taking the risk of having the guys manage alone - would have helped a whole lot better.

Sent by H. Wallis | 3:24 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion at the age of 21 and knew abortion was the choice for me. I didn't have to think twice about it and never had any regrets. I was only disappointed in myself for not being careful. I am now 28 and have a beautiful 2 year old boy.
Abortion is a personal choice- not a right or wrong choice.

Sent by Janelle | 3:27 PM | 1-22-2008

So much of what I am reading and heard on the show are the same feelings expressed by women who surrender/ed a child for adoption and have not been able to ...... to what..... accept that they have had a child and given it away, been able to openly grieve. The same lack of public grieving for the loss of the child is experienced by both women. Both were not allowed to ever talk about it again and if you did talk about it was only for a very, very short time.

I chose birth\adoption over abortion in 1965 and I never had another child. A hysterectomy ten years later assured I would never go thru the painful experience again.

Sent by jetta | 3:40 PM | 1-22-2008

Thank you for your program today. I am 53 and had an abortion in 1979 and have never regretted it, nor felt shame about it. I knew the day after I became pregnant that I was pregnant and took steps to terminate the pregnancy immediately. I discussed my intentions with my then partner and he supported me through the process and accompanied me to the hospital.

To my surprise, once I arrived at the hospital, I saw that I was the only woman there in the group of approximately 10 women waiting for abortions who had a male companion with her. I saw how unsupported and lonely the young women around me must have felt. I also quickly realized that there were several Spanish speaking women among our group for whom there were no translators available, and who were gripped with guilt, frightened, and terribly confused about what to expect.

After I was wheeled into a second room with the other women (where my partner was not allowed to accompany me) I reached out and held the hand of the young girl next to me who was crying as we waited for our abortions to take place. She was from Mexico. Because I'm bilingual, I was able to talk with and comfort her. She was grateful for my support, but also puzzled as to why I would be having an abortion when I was 25 and had no children. She was about 15 years old. I explained to her why I didn't think it would be right for me to have a child at that time, and that I felt that having an abortion was the responsible thing to do.

As the young girl lamented that she feared she would go to hell because of her decision, I explained that not everyone believes that and that I did not believe she would go to hell. I also tried to explain to her what the procedure involved medically speaking - as she really had no concept of what the doctors were going to do. I also reassured her that if she had misgivings about it, she could say so and not go through with the procedure. Despite her misgivings, she was adamant that she wanted the abortion, explaining that she could barely find enough food for herself and did not have any money nor a home in which to raise a baby. She felt that she could not provide adequately for a baby when she, herself, was struggling to survive.

In the aftermath of my abortion, I have not discussed it much with others as I view it as a personal matter. I find, however, that the fact that I had the support of my partner, and even more importantly, that I was able to be supportive to a young woman whose mother was probably 2000 miles away, allowed me to walk away from the experience in a positive way. I was, and remain, thankful that I had the choice to terminate a pregnancy for which I was unprepared, thankful that I had support and did not go through it alone, and thankful that I could help a vulnerable young girl come out of the process a bit less scathed.

Sent by Maria | 3:50 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion in 1978, for an ectopic pregnancy that occurred when I had an IUD in place. I know that in a society where abortion was not available I would have died. I am very grateful for Roe v. Wade, and I have always believed deciding to bear a child is a very serious matter. The legal availability of contraception and abortion is a huge step forward for women. We have full moral agency, and so we must claim that human moral responsibility and choose what is best for ourselves, our loved ones, and our poor overpopulated Mother Earth.
I am so glad you are having this discussion: but it is only the beginning. The taboo on discussing abortion distorts a whole range of decision-making that is not just personal but political. In 1988 a friend who was an abortion counselor "commissioned" me to write a play based on her experiences and that of her colleagues. We agreed that issues around childbearing are central to the economic and spiritual lives of women-- and yet historically women have not been part of the religious, medical or governmental institutions that have defined what is natural or perverse, legal or criminal, altruistic or selfish. Women don't even talk to each other about these things-- let alone demand that men accept women's experience and opinions as definitive! I did the research and wrote the play-- called first "Choices", and then, as anti-abortion forces became more threatening and even lethal, re-titled "Under Siege". The script incorporates as many points of view as possible: dozens of "war stories" very like the ones being told here today, except that my counselors used cynicism and gallows humor as a way of coping with on-the-job stress. My play was good enough to be chosen for the Sundance Play Lab in 1990, and the readings and workshops it has had are always greeted by an outpouring of emotion: so many people find the experience of seeing these stories on a public stage and talking about them post show cathartic. I thought sure that "Under Siege" would have a high-profile production and challenge the taboo-- or if not my play, another play or movie would fill in the blanks where a public discussion of abortion ought to be in our democracy. After all, The Vagina Monologues broke through THAT barrier. But it hasn't happened! Unplanned pregnancies and "pro-life" bombers are plot devices in the media, that's all, and in 20 years my play has yet to have a full production in this country. (It has been translated into Russian and produced in Germany and South Africa.) The script is on my www.stagepage.info web site, and student actors email me for permission to use monologues and scenes from it for class or a contest. I'm certainly happy to donate it to anyone who wants to use it -- but WHY is "the discomfort it brings others" an impenetrable barrier to a full and fair public airing of all aspects of an issue that affects most women and many men? Gee-- guys are on TV, selling cures for their Erectile Disfunction! Maybe once we talk about abortion a LOT, we'll find ourselves beyond embarrassment and in the comfort zone where citizens can influence one another.

Sent by G.l. Horton | 3:57 PM | 1-22-2008

I mostly just want to say THANK YOU to ToTN for having this show! I terminated a pregnancy in 1994 when I was 21 years old. My situation was notably similar to the blogger on this page called "Angry Grrl". And like her, I still think it was the best decision to make. I certainly don't talk about it much. The only people who know about it are the 2 people who went with me to the clinic - my then boyfriend (the father) and my mother. Since then I have told one person, my sister, and only because she was going through a different but equally serious time of personal crisis. Though I have been in several conversations that touched on the topic of abortion since then, they have never been long enough or in depth enough to make me want to share my own experience. Since I'm at peace with my decision I don't really feel a need to talk about it, but it is interesting to me that I've never had a long or in-depth conversation about the issue with anyone. I think this is because people, even those who believe the option must be available, don't really want to think about abortion. I suppose it's natural to not want to talk about it. However, it is essential to make it a public topic if only for the benefit of women who have limited sources of information and no one close to them to talk to about it.

Sent by Viva | 4:02 PM | 1-22-2008

Thank you for the show today. I hope you do a show like this every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I am 60 years old and had an illegal abortion when I was a junior in college. Since I was raised a Catholic, I had to overcome a lot of conditioning as I wrestled with the decision. My father had died a year before& my widowed mother was raising 6 of my siblings (ages 7-17) on a very meager income. In fact, I sent money home when I was in college to help her out. Since I was self-supporting & paid for my education with scholarships & summer jobs,I knew I was not financially or emotionally capable of raising a child. My boyfriend was supportive of my decision and knew neither of us was prepared for parenthood. Thank God, we had the $500 to pay for the abortion. However, I would not wish those dark pre-ROE v Wade days to return. When I had my abortion, I had to wait on a street corner in Towson, MD for a car that was picking up young pregnant women from all over the area to take them to a remote "clinic" somewhere in Baltimore county. Everyone had to be transported so that no one would know how to find the place (for fear of the police). It was eerie and scary to say the least. However, I had no other option but to put my faith in these people. The people at the clinic were kind,the place was sterile, the physician wore a mask so he could not be identified. However, he was very compassionate and explained what he was doing throughout the procedure. I was given antibiotics afterwards and was driven back to the same street corner where my boyfriend was waiting. I remember just sitting down on the curb and barfing & crying until I could pull myself together. I rationalized what I had done for many years but it was not until I went through some spiritual counseling at age 50 that I realized I had not forgiven myself. I learned in that session that the soul of that child had forgiven me and that I needed to forgive myself. Within a year after that profound experience of healing & forgiveness, I assisted in the birth of a little girl whom I am now raising as my own. Since I never had children of my own, I feel that little soul from 1967 returned 30 years later when I was ready to be a mother.

Sent by Mary | 4:16 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion in 1978. I lived in a rural area with no abortion services so I had to drive to a large city 6 hours away. I thought I might feel sad or guilty, if only for hormonal reasons. (I'd had a miscarriage some years earlier and really felt that loss.) I really never felt bad about the decision, not immediately and not over the pst 30 years. I already had two young children which was the number I could realistically care for at that time. Later my husband and I tried for 3 months to get pregnant. I saw that, at least partially, as a chance to give that soul the chance to be born if it wanted to come into the world. Nothing happened. Within a year, I realized that I was really comfortable with the family I had so had my tubes tied to avoid ever having to consider an abortion again.

I have not talked about this with many people. The knowledge that some would see me as a murder really encourages me to keep my mouth shut.

I appreciate NPR providing a forum to share this very common experience. It should be something people can talk about without worry of being ostracized.

Sent by Nancy | 4:33 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion when I was 19, married to my 1st husband. Neither of us was ready for parenthood. He went through the precounseling process with me, but wasn't able to be there during the procedure. It was a mutual decision, but it hit him harder than me, and he never got over it.

Sent by Jen | 5:04 PM | 1-22-2008

When I turned on my radio today I was suprised to hear the discussion on abortion but also grateful. I am 41 and I had an abortion when I was 19 in 1986. I have always felt tremendous shame and guilt from this decision even though it was definetly the right one at the time. I was in no way mature enough to raise a child and had no financial means to. The father is now my husband and we have talked about the abortion maybe three times in the past 21 years, mainly because it is such a painful memory. He went with me to the clinic and we had to walk through a line of protestors yelling "don't kill your baby" at us. Someone from the clinic came out and escorted us to the entrance, but to see the signs and hear the comments made an already painful situation unbearable.

I could not tell anyone about the abortion at the time. Both my family and my boyfriend's (now husband's) family are very religious and would have seen abortion as the killing of a human. I could not face the judgement that would come even though I desperately needed someone for support. My boyfriend was emotionally torn apart by the situation and I had to comfort him throughout the ordeal, which I came to resent later.

Some years later, after I told my sister and she told my mother, my mother said she suspected I had had an abortion. The only time my mother has mentioned it was when I had a miscarriage some 10 years later after getting married. In the hallway at the hospital on the way for a ultrasound to confirm that my baby no longer had a heartbeat, she stated that the miscarriage might be the "result" of what I had done earlier. Of course secretly I already thought that even though my doctor assured me my abortion had nothing to do with the miscarriage.

I went on to have a daughter who is now 14. I have never told her about the abortion. Other than my husband, mother, sister, and doctor, no one else knows. My biggest fear used to be that one day I would be "found out". I did finally seek therapy due to the shame and guilt I carried for so many years, which did help. My husband also sought out therapy with a different therapist to deal with his feelings about the abortion. We didn't feel that we could talk about it together with the same therapist, even 20 years later. That is how painful the decision was to make.

I no longer fear being judged for my decision. I don't volunteer the information, but I feel that I am strong enough to discuss it if I were asked. My husband still refuses to talk about it. The decision definetly affected my life. Would I do it again? I wouldn't do it again now, but if I were 19 again, scared, and without support (emotionally or financially), I would do it again. I have no doubt. I applaud your effort to bring this topic out of the dark by discussing it on radio.

Sent by Deborah Johnson | 6:30 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion at the age of 35, just recently. I told the father, who was not involved, and I told two close friends, and no one else. The father did not want me to have the baby. I was severely ill during the pregnancy, and I was torn about what to do, because I wanted to have a child, but not as a single parent. I felt this may be my one chance, but I was filled with shame and fear, as well as guilt for disappointing my parents (I didn't tell them) who are very traditional. I did not know a single person who had had an abortion (I'm sure I do, but no one's told me).

My ob/gyn (respectable) performed the abortion; she was very uninformative and did not provide me with any phone numbers for counseling, either before or after. She was uncommunicative about what the procedure would entail except to briefly answer when I asked. The abortion room looked like a small supply closet, I had to twist to get to the chair (I'm slender), and the ceiling had mold. It was an awful experience. I did not receive antibiotics after the procedure, and developed a uterine infection. Afterwards, I cried for weeks and regretted my decision. I felt very alone. Also, I had no idea that the procedure was not covered by my insurance (that makes no sense to me), and it cost over $650. Nonetheless, I am grateful that the procedure was available to me and I believe it is an important right for all women.

Sent by Anonymous | 7:03 PM | 1-22-2008

I had an abortion to save my life about five months ago. I don't regret it and felt relieved by it when it was over. I am so glad that RoevWade existed so that I can go on and live instead of dying at 24.

Sent by Liz Barnes | 7:10 PM | 1-22-2008

I am prolife and look upon abortion as a taking of unborn life that often haunts the people involved.

But if shame is to be heaped on anyone at all: it should not be heaped upon people facing difficult decisions.

It should be heaped upon this society for privileging heterosexuality and penis-vagina sex over other forms of sexual expression; for at the same time denying effective, foolproof birth control options and comprehensive sex education; for giving insufficent help in parenting; and for not going all out to make such options as open adoptions, foster care, and guardianship arrangments better, more available, and publicized.

Human beings, born and unborn, need and deserve better.

Sent by Marysia | 7:29 PM | 1-22-2008

I'm a social worker and I am totally convinced that the majority of social problems (poverty, crime, school drop outs)would be alleviated if there were no unwanted pregnancies. I chose to have an abortion at age 19 (13 yrs ago)whileI was working as a waitress and attending community college. My family members are conservative christians and to tell them would have broken their hearts. I was lucky, however, to have a best friend and mother who supported me through the process. I feel no guilt and still feel tremendous relief that I had my twenties to travel, complete my education, and build my career. I've told close girlfriends and men I've dated but I live in a conservative town where I would be severely judged if I discussed my decision openly. It seems that public support for abortion is waning, even among young people. I can't understand this? Has pro-life propaganda with their fetus-photos and judgemental rhetoric taken the place of logic and common sense? Would speaking up change anybody's mind?

Sent by Megan | 8:06 PM | 1-22-2008

I only caught a portion of the show today, but it really gripped me. I've had 2 abortions, one over 20 years ago, when I was 19 and irresponsible, and not in a relationship that would last. And one last year, at age 42....after being worked up for weeks for early menopause by my doctor, it was finally determined that I was 15 weeks pregnant. I was completely unaware, and totally floored, not to mention that I had been doing every single thing you wouldn't do if you knew you were pregnant, including drinking alcohol, taking OTC medications for various things, cleaning the litter box, eating sushi, etc. The first time I was sad and scared, but came through unscathed.
This last time has really taken a toll however, as I was pregnant by a man I really love, and I realized it might be my final opportunity to have a child. And even though I've obviously been pro-choice, I didn't necessarily WANT to have an abortion. And the experience was less than I would have , as I found myself being treated by the medical community as if I was doing something shameful, or as if I should be grateful (which I was, and am-grateful to have a choice)or as if I was stupid; hey, I was being treated by a doctor, and even she missed it. I was feeling miserable and sad, and certainly didn't need anyone judging me or my decision. And it was a difficult decision, one that was correct for me and my partner- he has 2 girls in college, and his father was dying at the time. Even though I am fervently pro-choice, and hope that every woman and girl continues to have that choice. But I do have some lingering sadness over having to make that decision.

Sent by karin s. | 9:06 PM | 1-22-2008

I have always dedicated this day to the ability to choose my fate. I, unfortunately, chose the abortion route three times, once in my 20's and twice in my thirties. Coming from a very devote Catholic upbringing, this really never came to mind because I knew that I had a choice in this generation to decide what I wanted to do. There is that saying, "What goes around, comes around" I feel that somehow it has caught up with me now in my mid 50s. In a positive light, I do have three wonderful children, who are very successful and are just beautiful human beings. I hold myself accountable,though, for my immature and selfish thinking that it was so easy to make the choices I did, due to Roe vs. Wade. I can't relive my past, but I know that I would NEVER want my daughters or son to ever do the most horrific decision I made in my time of reckless adventures. It was so easy then, but yet so hard to live afterwards...
Anne

Sent by VAnne71 | 11:25 PM | 1-22-2008

I believe there are as many feelings about this issue as there are women who've expereinced abortion. I was in my early 20's when I had one, and very much influenced by the feminist waters I swam in at the time. I also never knew of anyone who married because they were preggers (although I know now that is pretty common) and I would have been mortified to tell my parents. I told my boyfriend that I was having an abortion, secretly wishing he would ask me not to -- tell me that he wanted to marry me, have the child and support us (he was an artist who was working odd jobs then, pretty famous now). I was too proud to want someone to marry me because I was pregnant. I didn't want to force anyone's hand. Perhaps if I had taken more time and talked about it with him, we might have come to some other decision. As it was, I decided in the absence of any opposition. I often wonder if we would have risen to the occasion. I know that my reaction was flavored by the times and the place (a free-thinking, secular world) where I lived at the time.

Sent by anonymous | 11:35 PM | 1-22-2008

I am allergic to almost every form of birth control. From the pill and hormones to IUD (nickel) to latex. I have had to use old fashion rhythm method which has failed. I am 40 years old, and I don't think anyone should take having a baby as a result of an unplanned act. It is the most important decision of a womans life. I have shared my experience with all of my friends and have no issues, guilt or embarassment about it. Unfortunately my mother who is an evangelical christian and I did not discuss the matter with her, in that case it is no use

Sent by June | 12:01 AM | 1-23-2008

I had an abortion at the age of 40, my one and only pregnancy. I still feel a sense of loss, but not guilt. I was so very fortunate to have had a choice.

Sent by flora lovejoy | 12:25 AM | 1-23-2008

It is absolutely vital to let the light shine on this issue, I am SO GRATEFUL to NPR for going here and for all the stories posted here. I believe that children who don't make it, by choice or by circumstance, wait for the right time to come back into our lives. There is much evidence to suggest, although it isn't often discussed, that throughout even ancient history women have controlled unwanted pregnancy through various means. Recognizing (legally) this basic human right ensures that women today can remain relatively safe when they go through this devastating process.

Sent by --Crystal | 9:16 AM | 1-23-2008

I would like to echo the comments of Maria. Although I had an abortion much more recently than her (when I was 19; I am now 27), I have no regrets about the decision. I made a poor choice to have unprotected sex, and I regret that. The decision to have an abortion, however, was the right one for me at the time. I would not have the life I have now had I chosen to become a parent. I have spoken about my abortion with my friends when the topic has come up, but have never directly discussed it with my parents. They are aware of my strong pro-choice stance, and I am certain that they know what my choice would be if I was faced with an unplanned pregnancy at that age. I would not want to know everything about my parent's sex lives and their consequences, and I think that they do not need to know everything about mine.

I would likely make a different choice today if I became pregnant, but I am much more cautious about preventive measures now. I am in a long-term relation, have a stable career, and my partner and I have discussed the possibility of having a child. I believe women who have had abortions should be more open about their choice. There are more of us than the general public would assume.

Sent by Hannah | 10:10 AM | 1-23-2008

I am 45 years old and had an abortion at the age of 15. At the time I felt that it was the only option for me and therefore was not a difficult decision, a no brainer so to speak. That is not to say that the experience was easy or unemotional. Even though I didn't, and still don't, feel that abortion is morally wrong it was still a painful experience. I have no regrets and in my heart I feel that I made the right decision. Still, it is sometime difficult when right to life organizations are constantly battering us with their views and images as if they are the only ones that count. I also resent the implication that what I did was so horrific that this country needs a constitutional amendment banning it. In a perfect world there would be no need for abortion but as we know this world is far from perfect.

Sent by Michelle | 10:30 AM | 1-23-2008

I had an abortion about 25 years ago because my birth control method failed. My husband and I had to get special permission from the physician for my husband to be with me during the procedure because of potential conflicts. We were both unhappy with ourselves for not having taken permanent measures earlier. Neither the decision nor the procedure was difficult. I don't mind mentioning it except when someone says, like Neal said to one of the callers, thank you for calling. "i know it's difficult." Why do people assume it's difficult? There is an underlying presumption that something "wrong" occurred.

Sent by Rebecca Talley | 11:34 AM | 1-23-2008

I just listened to the day's previous show on the NPR podcast.

Almost two years ago, as a senior in high school, I assisted a close friend in having an abortion. I drove her to every appointment, including that of the procedure, as well as provided emotional support.

As a male, I was honored and privileged that I could have been there, and be enlightened on the experience.

As a human being, I feel grateful I was able to support another in their time of need by not offering my perspective, but love and a forum for expression.

Sent by Matthew Clark | 11:51 AM | 1-23-2008

I had an abortion when I was 25 - a few months before my wedding. We both came from large italian catholic families and decided to deal with it on our own - which resulted in pretending it never happened. The resulting guilt and pain destroyed me and my marriage. My father still doesn't know why his daughter changed so dramatically in front of his eyes. It took me a few years to get back on my feet, and with help of a wonderful program called Rachel's vineyard, I feel as if I am healing and was allowed to grieve for teh first time. But I would be a liar if I said that I didn't wear a private scarlet letter. I live in fear that I will never be a good mother, or a deserving one, and I find myself constantly feeling as if I don't deserve to be loved fully by anyone - friends, family or by my boyfriend. Thank you so much for this program - I can't believe I am not alone out there and for some reason, I feel stronger. Please thank your guests for their lifesaving work.

Sent by niki | 12:15 PM | 1-23-2008

I had an abortion 20 years ago when I was a single mother of 2 children. There was no question that I would get one, if I were to keep my job and continue to care for the children I already had. At the time I told one person and she took me in for the procedure at the Presidential Center for Women in West Palm Beach. They were wonderful and very supportive from start to finish. I never told the fellow. I felt it was none of his business since I would be carrying most of the burden. I did not tell my family except my daughter in later years. I told my daughter so she would never feel alone as I had should she have to make that decision. I want her to come to me. I did not tell my son because it would distress him to know about any additional problems I was already having at the time, he would never judge me. I never told any of my immediate family. I have been severely judged all my life by my parents, especially, and will not expose myself to any further judgement. I did tell my current husband and he totally agrees with my decision. After my parents are gone, I'm going to tell my brother and his wife about the abortion. They are rabid anti-abortionist and I want them to know why I had one. At that point I won't care what they think of me. I am not ashamed, I always do whatever it takes to survive. I trust no one to take care of me as I should be cared for. My husband is trying to help me on the trust issue. It's a long slow process. I hope this helps someone.

Sent by Pat | 12:35 PM | 1-23-2008

Thank you everyone for sharing so openly. Thank you.

Sent by K | 5:43 PM | 1-23-2008

I had an abortion about 3 1/2 years ago. It was a very hard decision for me because I already had a little boy and I am Christian. I was 23 at the time and I was scared because I was raising my son on my own. I felt overwhelming relief right away but that slowly turned into horrible guilt. Then my mom was killed in an accident and I secretly blamed myself because I thought maybe God was punishing me. When I heard this topic on Blog of the Nation yesterday I cried. The lady who said she felt God had forgiven her but she couldnt forgive herself hit the nail on the head for me. I have since remearried and have two more children, but I feel so giulty every time I think about how wonderful they are. The baby I killed would have been just as wonderful. I regret my decision to have an abortion every day. It was so selfish of me.

Sent by k.c. | 6:31 PM | 1-23-2008

I had an abortion 4 years ago and I have not regretted it ever! I believe 100% that it was the best decision I ever made. I hate that women always tend to feel regret. I also would like all those who feel women should not have a choice, that they should be responsible for caring for all the unwanted and unloved children who would have been born instead of aborted. Women need to be strong and realize that there are already so many children abused and hungry and so many reasons that if you cant take care of your young-then you should not have them!

Sent by MissM | 6:50 PM | 1-23-2008

On 1-22-08 I wanted to reach out to the woman who had an abortion at age 15 and who was still grieving.
Her voice revealed that it was she, not the fetus, who was lost that day. Somehow the people or the circumstances surrounding the surgery violated the
the very core of her being, the integrity of her
" self ". It is outrageous that she has had to live with this severe injury all these years. I hope with all my heart that she can find the help and kindness to mend this terrible rip.
I tried to send an E Mail during the program, but
fear it didn't go though.

Sent by Patricia Hoffman | 7:24 PM | 1-23-2008

I'm in the process of having an abortion now--a medical abortion (pills). I have two small children, ages 3 and 1, and I support them both by the hairs on my chinny chin chin, with an artist bohemian partner (read: no provider). I just discovered on Friday that I am pregnant, and live in an area of Mexico where it's still illegal. Luckily, a WHO-trained midwife provides this needed service. It is a horrible decision to have to make, and while I am pro-choice I had always thought I, personally, would never have an abortion. It is excruciating to judge oneself, and after careful thought and consideration, I decided not to have the baby. I can't say how I feel about it yet, at this moment the pills are not working, and Friday I find out if I have an ectopic pregnancy (one of the possible reasons the pills wouldn't work).
One thing that has surprised me very much in this process is how many women around me tell me about their abortions when I tell them what's going on. Women one would never imagine, and several with more than one.
If there is one thing I'm learning, it's "Never Say Never", and Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged. You really don't know until you find yourself in that situation.

Sent by Gringa living in Mexico | 11:38 PM | 1-23-2008

I am 34 years old and had an abortion when I was 16. I have never felt guilty or regretted my decision. When I became pregnant, young and naive as I was, I knew instantly what I wanted to do. It was the best decision for me at the time. Ironically, I have felt guilty over the years for NOT feeling guilty because society seems to make women feel so shameful on this subject. THANK YOU for talking about this taboo topic!

Below is a short-short story I wrote about my experience -

PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE

Lying flat on her back on a stainless steel table, she propped her legs open to a bright sterile lamp illuminating her womb while some machine easily inhaled that sweaty afternoon of endless groping on her twin size brass day bed. The doctor worked like a dentist sucking the spit and blood off his patient's teeth. Then he emptied the contents into a white plastic cup and set in on the counter as he left the room. The cup looked like the one she drank out of at a keg party last weekend. She just laid there breathing through the trogan charley horse racing across her ovaries. There had been no protesters and she was glad.

Sent by Dawn B | 9:32 AM | 1-24-2008

FROM PROGRAM GUEST TERI REISSER: I have just thoughtfully read every blog posted here, and I am profoundly grateful to NPR for providing this forum, in which they intentionally aimed for a nonpolitical, compassionate approach to this issue. Although the show was short, I hope it was clear that I have nothing but empathy for women who opt for an abortion procedure. My goal was NOT to create false guilt where none exists, but to say to the women who DO experience negative feelings: "There IS recovery. You CAN process these feelings and come out whole and healthy!" I wrote a small book for those women (and men) called "A Solitary Sorrow." It was not written to join the political debate. It was not written for the women and men who have not violated their own moral codes with an abortion choice. It was written for those who, for whatever reasons, have never been able to move past the abortion emotionally and spiritually.

Again, many thanks to my favorite radio network for giving people a chance to speak their feelings.

Sent by Teri Reisser | 12:34 PM | 1-24-2008

I was always pro-choice but felt I could never go through with an abortion, but when I found myself starting my second year of college, 18 and pregnant I wasn't sure what to do. My then boy friend was supportive but didn't want us to have the baby. That is a hard fact to accept. I had an abortion on monday morning and went to class afterwards. I was in a fog for a while, but I knew deep down it was the right decision. I knew that I wanted more for my life, and that when I did have children I wanted to be the best mother I could be, and I couldn't do that at 18.

I wish I could say I have no regrets, some days I can but other days I dwell on the child I didn't have. At the time we told no one until our closest friends knew something was up and reached out, I told her but they were it. Until the last few years when I have told a few close friends in hopes to ease their decisions. I have never told any family and dont think I ever will, i'm so scared that their perception of me will change. I've been dating my current boyfriend for over 2 years, after a year of dating I knew that I had to tell him, he had to know my deepest, darkest secret, and he handled it better than I could ever of imagined.

Honestly I wish more people cared about their children as much as I care about my future children. I dont want to have kids because I became pregnant, I want to find someone who I adore and who I want to make and raise children with.

My vote for the presidential election will not be based on the war, it will be based on my rights, my right to have an abortion and my right to marry another woman if I see fit.

Sent by Jessica | 1:46 PM | 1-24-2008

I had a legal abortion in 1990, at the age of 48. I'd been careless with birth control, I'll admit, but there was no way I was going to have another child at that age -- my (wanted) daughter had just gone off to college and I was in the middle of a new career.
I have no regrets whatever about the abortion and my husband supported me all the way, but the experience, in a big city, was bizarre. First, the receptionist for the new gynecologist I had just started seeing was very off-putting: first she said the doctor only did terminations for his regular patients and then only in the early weeks, but then couldn't find an appointment for me for 5 weeks! The next gynecologist I saw told me how brave I was, but interpreted my questions as signs that I really didn't want to have the abortion. Next, I had to bring $650 in cash to the clinic where he did the abortion, I felt like I was doing something faintly illegal.
At that point in my life, I had been involved in women's liberation and feminism for more than 20 years, and I was sure that I was not having another baby. But if I'd been younger and anywhere else but a large city, I could only imagine how uncomfortable and unsupported, and wrong, I would have felt. I am everlastingly grateful that abortion was legal and safe, and I urgently hope it will remain so.

Sent by Sonia Jaffe Robbins | 2:40 PM | 1-24-2008

I've read all the comments here and didn't see another one like mine. The comments here are from women who agreed the decision to abort was theirs. Not so for me, I let myself be coerced into an abortion in 1970, while in college in the Midwest. My boyfriend who was the father insisted. I didn't want to have an abortion and I was shocked at his demand I have one. He said a child would ruin his career and he would never agree to have children, ever. He insisted on the abortion and told me that if I'd do it he'd marry me; if I didn't he'd leave me. He knew my family was abusive and that I wouldn't want to go back home and he was right. My fundamentalist Christian minister father would have beaten me and thrown me in the street if he had known I was pregnant. I was terrified to do anything but go through with the abortion. My boyfriend made the arrangements and came along to make sure I went through with it. Afterward he told me that if I ever told his parents or anyone else he would kill me. There was no counseling offered to me at the clinic. I immediately began to suffer from depression and guilt over what I had done. I agonized that I had not had the guts to try to make it on my own alone with the baby. He married me a month later but the marriage was a disaster that I ended after 10 years. I have since remarried and have a wonderful husband and adult daughter; both of whom I've told about the abortion. Over the years I've had a few opportunities to stand up for principles and beliefs that are important to me, sometimes at great personal cost. These experiences have helped me recover some self respect. Because of the abortion, I have always had a sense of guilt and shame that has made me feel separate from most of society and other women in general. I live with the knowledge that I have a terrible secret. Every year on the anniversary of the abortion I think of the lost child and of it's father who didn't want it. My life has certainly "gone on" after the abortion and subsequent remarriage but not without permanent psychological scars. There has been perspective gained too; but at a terrible price.

Sent by Withheld | 2:45 PM | 1-24-2008

I had an abortion when I was 26. I was ashamed to have messed up my BCP regimen and gotten pregnant, but not ashamed about getting the abortion.

Nevertheless I didn't talk about it because I felt politically unsafe, so to speak. One friend hung out with me in the waiting room; he was the only person I told at the time.

Later I started to realize the covert ways women around me revealed their truth, so I entrusted my story to two of them in an act of solidarity.

I hope people realize and publicize the % of pregnancies that end in abortion so that the few women who feel major shame/guilt know they're not alone.

Sent by Marg | 2:46 PM | 1-24-2008

I have had two abortions--one at age 22 and one at age 36. I am now 51 years old and I have a 20 year old daughter. Both abortions were a result of failed birth control. I am careful about who I share my abortion stories with out of a fear of being judged. My first abortion was one year post college and my career was just beginning. I was unmarried and my boyfriend was supportive of my decision to abort the pregnancy. My second abortion I was married and had a daughter. My husband and I had just moved across the country and were struggling financially. I do not regret either abortion. The decision to have an abortion was difficult but ultimately the best one for me and for my family.

Sent by Tina | 4:05 PM | 1-24-2008

I've had friends that have had abortions - each person dealt with their experience differently. I found this site, www.abortionchangesyou.com which is confidential place for women and men who have experienced abortion. It's non-religious and non-political. You can read others' stories, write your own, and more.

Sent by sk | 5:58 PM | 1-24-2008

I was 32 years old when I had an abortion. I never told anyone in my family and very few friends know. The hardest thing to deal with regarding abortion is that everyone seems to have a right to voice their opinion, except for those who have had one. You can be seated on an airplane and have to listen to another passenger express their opinions against abortions, or you might be in a cafe or a waiting room or any public arena. I always wonder if they ever think about the fact that maybe the person beside, behind or in front of them might be the person they are talking about. My shame is not in having the abortion, but in not being able to speak up for myself, not being able to turn to the person (who has just passed judgment on anyone who had an abortion )and say "You are talking about me."

Sent by Terry | 12:29 AM | 1-25-2008

i was completely in love with my college boyfriend. when i got pregnant, part of me wished he would want to build a life with me -- even though in my heart i knew it would be a mistake and that neither of us was ready for a child. but i didn't have to worry . . . when i told him i was pregnant, he looked at me and said "if you have a baby it will ruin my life." i knew if i chose to keep the pregnancy i'd be alone so i decided to terminate. though i have had some sadness about it, i truly believe it was the best choice i could have made and i don't regret it.

Sent by marty | 11:19 AM | 1-25-2008

I have had 3 abortions. One at 18, 20 and 23. I did not think I would make a good mom. Although I may have loved them, I had anger issues from my youth with a physically and verbally abusive father. I could feel, that I would have continued the cycle. I would not say I am pro-abortion, but I am pro-choice. I do not believe the right to control what happens to our own bodies should be in question, ever. What should be questioned is: Why is it that the male species is able to have any input into what is exclusively female? Males cannot get pregnant, have no pregnancy issues as far as their bodies are involved. Shouldn't these types of issues be left only to females?

Sent by R Radford | 7:50 AM | 1-26-2008

I've heard many of these blog comments echoed at a weekend for abortion recovery that I've facilitated since 1999. When we began the program we thought we would attract young women from the many surrounding colleges. In fact, most of the women [and men] who come to grieve are from 30-60 years old. They have the time now to look back and realize what was lost. The healing comes from being with others who understand and who are willing to listen. The weekend does not take a political position regarding abortion. It is focused on recovery and finding peace.

Sent by Catherine Rennert | 3:12 PM | 1-29-2008

Give me a break!!! I am 44, had an abortion in 1986 only two weeks after marriage and have no regrets. None. What is with all the revisionism on this issue? There have been what, maybe hundreds of thousands of abortions (a million?) performed in the last 20 years--there will always be a percentage that regrets their choices. But the fact that the large multitude say nothing at all due to fear of the turn in popular culture is chilling. Gee, why do I feel like women as a social group in this country took several steps backward? My own gender disgusts me on this issue---get a spine.

Sent by Anne | 7:08 PM | 1-29-2008

I had an abortion in the spring of 1974; it was done by a woman who, like me, had worked in a group providing illegal underground abortion services before the Roe decision. It was done on my bed, and my partner was there to hold my hand. My friend did a fine job - both skillful and kind - and I'm still grateful.

Sent by Jane | 9:48 PM | 2-3-2008

I have had two. The first time was three days after my 18th birthday (thank god). The second time, I was 24. Both times it ended the relationship, but was worth it in the end. I do not regret either one. Neither time was I able to say that I could have given a child a happy life. I was raised by a single mother and know how hard she worked and how much she sacrificed for me. We made do with very little and I want more for my children. I want them to have a mother AND father who are mature and willing to care for them. I was fortunate enough to have the procedures in San Francisco, but still had to deal with protesters. I feel for those in less forgiving states. I am now a grad student, but donate money every year to Planned Parenthood. It is imperative that we keep Roe v. Wade intact. I cannot imagine what my life would be like were I unable to have had the surgery, or what may have happened to my body were I forced to have one done illegally. I have told my mother about the first abortion, but only long after it had taken place. She was surprisingly understanding, though I don't think I'll ever tell her about the second. I've since moved to the Midwest and even the very conservative people I've met have been sympathetic, once they have a face to put with the act. Instead of being ashamed, I think women should be acknowledged for having the courage to make a difficult decision and change the course of their lives.

Sent by CJ | 11:42 PM | 2-3-2008

I am a 24 year old grad student and I had an abortion a couple of weeks ago. I was about 16 weeks pregnant when I had my procedure. I waited so long because I was seriously considering adoption. I am in no way religious and am pro-choice but I considered adoption because I felt that, personally, it was something I could handle. My ex-boyfriend was completely against the idea and was willing to do anything to get me to have an abortion. He sent me a check for the procedure and thanked me for making what he said was the rational choice but I have yet to cash the check or say "your welcome" to him. I don't regret the decision I made but I do regret choosing to tell some of the people that I've told. Their reactions have made this process all that more difficult for me. Also, because I am such a liberal person, I sort of get the sense that it is expected of me to just move on and let the abortion go because I practiced my right of choice. I'm in that process of moving on but I wish I didn't feel the pressure to let it go so quickly.

Sent by Jen | 3:46 PM | 3-10-2008

I am 17 and I had an abortion two weeks ago. I knew what that was the best choice for me but my family didn't have the money to pay for my abortion and I am in school. I would have waited until we had the money but the Equal Access Fund paid for it for me on a loan basis i will pay them back. Without them I could have been so far along that the clinic said I would to have to go to Georgia for the abortion. Thank you Equal Access Fund and I am glad to found you. I dont know what people do who don't have fund help them when they are down like that. I am honets person and will donate back when I can to them since they help me out. i never knew i was prochoice until this. i am proud to be a prochoice girl now though.

Sent by Jenesha | 1:55 PM | 3-11-2008

I had an abortion at 18, 10 years ago. I was too young and headed off to college to play soccer at a high ranking University. My boyfriend at the time was a year younger, we were too young. I went to therapy after because I was having nightmares, but in the end I know it was the right CHOICE for me. And there were times that i thought i was being punished by God and asked why me. But things happen for a reason. I can't wait for the day I become a parent because now I can be the proper mother with no regrets. I am angered by people who say we are horibble people for making this choice, calling us murderers, amongst other things. life is complicated and so are our choices.

Sent by KM | 2:23 PM | 5-7-2008

My abortion happened in 1999 when I was 18. I got pregnant the second time I ever had sex. My boyfriend at the time broke up with me before I found out that I was pregnant and after I told him he quit his job, so he didn't even contribute to the cost of the abortion. At the time, I was living with my brother, paying him rent and making 6.50 an hour, part-time. So after the surgery, I did not have any money for two weeks. My best friend at the time was the only support I had. I had no intention of telling anyone, however the morning my friend picked me up to drive me to the clinic, he told my brother what was going on. Once I got home my brother and I sat down and talked about it, and he was completely understanding and supportive, emotionally and financially. I'm open about my abortion now, almost 10 years later, but for a long while I kept it a secret from most people. There is nothing to be ashamed of. The challenge is overcoming the ingrained thought that it is a sin (if you're from a religious background) and that you're a bad, careless, irresponsible woman. Which is interesting because I think getting an abortion was probably the most responsible thing I could have done for myself, and that potential life. Having a child at 18 with a careless father and hardly a paying job would have been disastrous. Abortion is such a social stigma which needs to be corrected desperately.

Sent by Ashley | 11:55 AM | 5-8-2008

I am so confused right now. I am 4 weeks pregnant with an ex-boyfriends child. He is 26 (8yrs younger than me) and i know either one of us is ready for a child. Financially or Emotionally. We are not even dating anymore. I don't want to be a single parent. My mother and the rest of my family live 1300 miles away. I have no real support here. I bartend for a living and realize that in 5 months I will have to quit. I have no other source of income. I am considering having an abortion but I am 34 yrs old. I am affraid I might not be able to get pregnant later on when I find the "right" guy to have a child with. Any suggestions?

Sent by confused74 | 5:36 PM | 9-13-2008