I read an entry recently that made me want to cringe to the point of literal physical discomfort and bawl my eyes out simultaneously. It was titled "Lucky Girl" and was written by Bridget Potter about her experience of the pursuit and eventual finding of an illegal abortion in 1962.
She became pregnant as a result of failed birth control. Male condoms were considered "disgusting, unreliable, and boys didn’t like to use them anyway." Needless to say sexual education was not considered a good idea back then. Because, after all, young people should not be, and therefore won't be, having sex, anyway. Any sort of education would surely encourage teenagers to go out and have safe sex.
So, then, after the pink foam spermicide she was using failed, only 19 years old and nowhere near ready to have a baby or get married, she thought of seeking an abortion. It ended up being a several week journey of judgment, (from disapproving male gynecologists), and disappointment which inevitably took her all the way to Puerto Rico. It was in a remote part of the island that she eventually had the procedure done in what looked like a house on a wooden table with no anesthesia.
When she returned to the states and saw a gynecologist for the aftermath, she learned that she is not the only one who has been through such an ordeal. She was, however, a lucky one...
“The familiar symbol of illegal abortion is the infamous ‘coat hanger’—which may be the symbol, but is in no way a myth. In my years in New York, several women arrived with a hanger still in place. Whoever put it in—perhaps the patient herself—found it trapped in the cervix and could not remove it… Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion—darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.”
If there is a simple and safe solution to stopping unwanted pregnancies, why would we deny women the right to such a procedure? Are we just looking for a way to "punish" women for having sex? May they never repeal Roe v Wade here and may they also never insert loopholes to make access to abortions more difficult for women of all classes *cough* STUPAK!
Even today, 67,000 women die from abortions each year around the world, mostly in countries where abortion is illegal. Women should not have to subject themselves to self-torture in order to avoid having a child.
See "Lucky Girl" by Bridget Potter http://www.guernicamag.com/features/1615/lucky_girl/
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