She said she and her fiancé used condoms and she was on the pill when she discovered she was pregnant. Her first reaction after taking a home pregnancy test was, ‘‘This has to be wrong!’’ She took a second test and got the same results.
Two weeks later, when she was about five weeks along, she used $550 in savings for a surgical abortion at Rockford’s only abortion clinic. It later closed.
So early in pregnancy, she could have used the abortion pill instead of having a medical procedure. But that would have required a return visit to the clinic, something she said she wanted to avoid.
Abortion protesters were picketing outside when the young couple arrived in the parking lot that morning. One protester was particularly persistent.
‘‘She was just blatantly yelling at my fiancé and I. I turned around and said, ‘Listen, lady, you don’t know what everyone is going through.’ She was just saying that I was already a mom and I have all these options — the opposite of what my doctor was telling me.
‘‘I looked at her and told her, ‘I'm doing this to save my life.'’’
An unplanned pregnancy during an affair with a married man is what led a 36-year-old Minneapolis area teacher to have an abortion, on Aug. 3.
They had been using spermicide for birth control, a method described as about 75 percent effective with typical use.
A missed period and pregnancy test confirmed her fears.
‘‘I cried for like 36 hours,’’ she said. Estranged from her husband, and with a young daughter, she said continuing the pregnancy was unthinkable.
Though she and the man she was having a relationship with were raised Catholic, she considers herself ‘‘pro-choice — I just never thought I'd have to make that choice myself.’’
Minnesota requires a 24-hour waiting period, so she called an area clinic to schedule the abortion, spoke to a doctor and went in for the procedure the next day.
She had friends and her partner had relatives who had protested at the same clinic. But on this day she didn’t recognize any of the activists there.
The protesters tried to hand her pamphlets as she drove into the parking lot, but she closed her car windows.
She was only five weeks pregnant, so chose to have a medical abortion, meaning she could use the ‘‘abortion pill.’’ That involved taking one pill at the clinic, and four others within the next 72 hours to finish the process. Her private insurance covered it, costing her only a $25 out-of-pocket co-payment.
Before the abortion, a clinic worker took an ultrasound and asked if she wanted to see the image. ‘‘I did want to see it,’’ she said. ‘‘Just because I didn’t get to keep this one doesn’t make it any less my child.’’
‘‘A pregnancy under any other circumstances would have been welcomed and rejoiced in my life,’’ she said.
A 31-year-old mother in South Dakota learned how difficult it is to get an abortion there when a doomed pregnancy led her to consider it.
In two previous pregnancies, the fetus was afflicted with a rare, inherited and ultimately fatal condition called achondrogenesis, her doctor said. It causes deadly deformities. One of the babies died an hour after birth; the other was stillborn.
The Rapid City woman gave birth to two healthy children after that and decided to have another child.
But early in the pregnancy this year she learned this fetus was afflicted, too. The woman said she was worried she would develop breathing problems that had plagued her during one of her earlier pregnancies. But the condition wasn’t life-threatening, her doctor said.
The woman’s husband has a chronic illness, and with two children to raise, she said she was worried about endangering her health.
‘‘That was my main reason for considering abortion this time. I needed to be here for my kids,’’ she said.
Her baby was delivered stillborn Oct. 14 during an emergency cesarean section. Complications developed and she lost a lot of blood but is recovering, her husband said.
Few South Dakota doctors perform abortions and the state’s only abortion clinic is a nearly six-hour drive to the east, in Sioux Falls. Her obstetrician, Dr. Marvin Buehner, treats high-risk pregnancies and does a few abortions each year when pregnancy endangers the mother’s life or health. But his hospital prohibits abortions otherwise.
Also, Medicaid pays for abortions in South Dakota only when the mother’s life is at risk, or in cases of rape or incest. An abortion would require traveling across the state, paying for lodging during the required two-day waiting period, plus hundreds of dollars for the procedure.Continued...