I had a 3rd-trimester abortion. When I want to restore my faith in humanity, I go back to the clinic where I had it.
- I was 28 weeks pregnant when I found out that my daughter had developed serious brain malformations.
- My husband and I decided that the best thing to do was to terminate the pregnancy.
Editor's note: The author requested to be referenced only by her first name to protect her family's identity.
I was halfway through my first pregnancy when my husband and I relocated from Austin, Texas, to a place we'd grown to love, Boulder, Colorado. To our shock, the move from a state with some of the most restrictive abortion-access laws to one without
Less than two months after moving, we learned our daughter had developed in utero with multiple serious brain malformations. After extensive tests and frank discussions with doctors, our decision to terminate the pregnancy was clear to us. I was 28 weeks along at this point.
It was incredibly heartbreaking, but we had gathered enough information to know it was the most humane outcome available to us.
I was down the road from one of the only clinics that provides late abortion care
I'd tried to do everything right — how could this happen? As I've since learned, the earliest some fetal diagnoses can be detected is at the 20-week anatomy scan. I experienced further delays in learning the diagnosis because of muddled communication with my former OB-GYN in Austin, my move and transfer of care, and the Marshall Fire, which devastated the area and nearly burned down my new hospital.
Coincidentally, our move to Boulder placed us down the road from one of only three clinics in the country that provides third-trimester abortion care, Boulder Abortion Clinic. Had I still been living in Texas, I would have had to travel for care, like so many later-abortion patients do, on top of an otherwise terrible and expensive situation.
My husband couldn't accompany me to my appointments at the clinic because of COVID-19 restrictions, so I had to go in alone. But I soon realized I wouldn't be lonely.
The providers working in this clinic are the most compassionate, dedicated, and downright cool people I've ever met.
The doctor who did my abortion gifted me a book on my last day at the clinic. The social worker guided me through a viewing of my daughter that I chose to do after the procedure, and it's a moment I'll be forever grateful for.
Everyone working there treated me not just as a patient but also as a fellow human. At a time when I felt completely lost, my sense of reality shaken to the core, their kindness and consideration meant so much.
People there understand what I went through
After my procedure, I felt a strong pull back to the clinic. It's hard to describe what it's like to go through something like this, but the people there just understand. I've gone back a couple times to ask questions and visit with them.
I like to bring them things — handmade decor to adorn the clinic or donations for future patients. My heart bursts for them, even now, more than six months later.
Sometimes, when no one is around, I drive to the clinic and sit in the empty parking lot for a while. I think about the trauma of losing my pregnancy and how I found the softest place to land. Inside those clinic walls is the only place I saw my daughter, and it will forever be special to me.
I hope my story illuminates the nuanced reality of "last-stop" abortion clinics that accept patients like myself after hospitals and other clinics have turned them away.
Their work is vital, and anyone who finds themselves seeking their care is in a desperate, time-sensitive crisis.
We each show up with a variety of circumstances but with one thing in common: None of us thought we'd find ourselves needing third-trimester abortion care. And we were relieved these clinics and providers were there when we did.
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