Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Abortion Clinic

I've never had an abortion. I've never had an unwanted pregnancy or even a pregnancy scare. A fanatical adherence to birth control with a generous helping of good luck means that my three pregnancy test experiences have been like advertisements, filled with smiles, warm hugs and the good kind of tears.

The women I've known who have terminated pregnancies cross all party lines. A teen aged family member, a twenty something college friend, a mentor at the end of a troubled 20 year marriage. For a number of reasons, most of them logistic, I had never accompanied someone to a clinic for what is the most common surgery in America.

After learning I was pregnant with my first child, I planned a midwife attended home birth. Things were going smoothly until some light spotting began. To make a long story short, the quickest, cheapest option for an ultrasound and blood work was a clinic that also provided abortion care.

In a different sort of America, a wide array of reproductive and gynecological services would be provided under one roof. But that's not always the current reality.

Upon arriving at the facility I was met by a handful of protesters, quietly standing with their placards as close as the law allowed. No baby faced cherubs sporting graphic pictures were present, just a handful of graying older men.

I was an anomaly for reasons only I and the staff knew but also because I was the only patient in the waiting room who was alone. An object of kind but persistent curiosity, I was relieved when the tests came back indicating all was going fine with my pregnancy.

Elated that my planned parenthood was right on track, I left the clinic and was met by a rousing chorus of "SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!"

My husband is not pleased that I'm thinking of volunteering with a reproductive rights organization. This is a conversation that we've visited in passing through out the years. But my son's enrollment in a half day preschool will free up some of my time, so it's become a more urgent discussion. It's not ideologically based (long before he met me he donated money to a number of pro-choice causes) but a practical concern for my safety that is the cause for his concern.

We are fortunate not to have a lot of "wedge" issues in our marriage. Jim's desire to please and at times appease me is legendary. So for him to have reservations about something I feel strongly about is uncommon. Rare enough that when it happens, I'm usually content to see his side of things and let it go.

Ever optimistic, I'm confident that his fears will be placated.

Because I can't let the rhythmic chants that serenaded me and my unborn child go.


  1. Do you have in mind what kind of work you'll do for a group? I just remember one of the comments McCain made in one of the debates, where he essentially said that it was a young woman's issue and that young women should be protected....that is so not the case.

  2. The organization that I contacted seems pretty well organized and have workshops to orient volunteers, where they will probably discuss specific needs. There is one tomorrow so I'll see how that goes...

  3. Out of curiosity, are you thinking of volunteering w/ SPARK? If so, I highly recommend this! I have volunteered w/ them off and on for a few years and was on their advisory board in 2007. They rock!!

  4. Did SPARK used to be Georgians for Choice or is it an offshoot organization? I recently read a short blurb about one of the current chairs/execs at Racialicous, and she seemed really interesting.

    I have to figure out what is going to work best logistically, since I've got two drop off and pick up points to work around. Not to mention traffic...

  5. Yes, SPARK used to be Georgians for Choice. They changed their name and got a new mission statement, logo, direction, everything, in late 2007 - I was on the board that helped formulate it!