It was Valentines week 2013 when I had an abortion in west Texas. I was very fortunate to have had my abortion early in 2013 – before Wendy Davis and before HB 2 went into effect. At this time, I was blissfully unaware of all that was happening in Austin.
I was in love with Stanley. We were young and recent college grads. But we were both underemployed and financially insecure. On top of that, at 24, I was only beginning to understand relationships. Understanding compromise between two is challenging enough, I couldn’t begin to think about three. We were in no way prepared to be parents. I know although I had Stanley, I felt alone because my pregnancy was something I kept from everyone, including my mother and my sister.
Not wanting my parents to find out through our insurance, Stanley and I went to what we though was a “clinic” in an effort to confirm the pregnancy. Before even giving me the results of the test, the crisis pregnancy center only talked about adoption and child rearing. I was lied to. They talked about beliefs that weren’t mine. They spoke down to me about love, the cosmos and the beauty of life. Except, they weren’t talking about my life.
Thankfully I was old enough to not be so impressionable. I was mature enough to know what I wanted my future to look like. I was wise enough to know myself, my mind and my body.
I thanked them for the free pregnancy test and I promptly made an appointment at Reproductive Services for an abortion. I made my decision with Stanley’s full support and I walked into the clinic ready to take back the reigns of my life. But then I waited and I waited. I had to wait through unnecessary infomercials, I had to watch videos about the procedure. I had to wait through unrealistic disclaimers and was told there was a chance I could get breast cancer. I waited for them to offer a sonogram I didn’t want to see. From there, I was forced to wait 24 more hours. When seeking an abortion, time is of the essence, BUT the whole process was created to take up time.
When the time finally came, I had a medical abortion. This means I was prescribed pills that cause severe cramping to trigger contractions and terminate the pregnancy. I was also prescribed Vicodin, to help with the pain. At the time, I didn’t think they’d be necessary (silly Sam). I was instructed to take the pills before bed. I dozed off pretty easily not sure what to expect. I found out soon enough when I woke up to intense pain in my abdomen; I felt like my insides were collapsing. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. When I wasn’t in the bathroom, feeling like I was dying, I was crying in bed.
Luckily, that night, I had my partner, Stanley. Stanley stayed up with me, he made 3am visits to find the largest sanitary napkins available. I don’t know how he found the ultra large ones but he did. Somehow, they weren’t enough because my bed was soiled in the morning. Stanley, made sure I was ok and helped with laundry. He made the bed and made sure I was comfortable. He was the only person I told about the abortion at the time. Stanley was involved through the whole process, (I didn’t impregnate myself). He was there through pregnancy tests, accidental visit to the crisis pregnancy center and the subsequent talks of reassurance. He was supportive and understanding. I don’t know how I would’ve made it through the multiple dr’s visits, pharmacy visits and the abortion without him. I don’t tell a lot of people that I used to cry a lot after that experience. I didn’t know how to verbalize the shame and stigma I was feeling, so I’d cry. Stanley stood by me the whole time. Even when I’d randomly start crying out of the blue or take my frustrations out on him.
For a long time, because of all the stigma, I felt ashamed. However, I do believe in myself and in the decisions I’ve made. I was fortunate and privileged in my experience. I had access to healthcare, despite the legislative obstacles created for me. I want other women to understand that they deserve the same options and opportunities that I had access to.
Since my abortion I’ve been incredibly blessed. I got to move across the state to work for Battleground Texas and the Wendy Davis campaign; I’ve attended and traveled to different conferences in and out of the state on community activism; I’ve returned to school to work on my Masters; AND I now have an awesome job for a badass state advocate.
I also want to share that now, I’m a voter. I’m a feminist, sociologist, a model extraordinaire and a very happy queer Latina. I’m also pleased to report that now, after my abortion, that I do know a little more about love, the cosmos and the beauty of life.
Samantha, a storyteller with WeTestify, recently shared her story at the Repro Power TX speakout in El Paso. Check out the video and sign on to support our campaign for abortion access and reproductive justice in El Paso.
Photo courtesy of Samantha Romero