Conversations about abortion were always something that I avoided. I didn’t want to have the conversation. People can be harsh and hateful when it came to talking about it. I finally got to the point where I could talk openly about it after having an abortion myself.

When my partner and I found out I was pregnant we did not second guess our instant decision for an abortion. I was in graduate college, focusing on my own career and my boyfriend was healing from his own medical situation. My parents were supportive, and mostly worried. When I decided to talk about the decision in depth with my mom she told me that she had an abortion herself when she was my age. It was not something he has ever regretted, and it was necessary. With the support of my family and boyfriend I decided to call Planned Parenthood the next day.

I calculated that I was 5 weeks along when I made the first appointment. In order to see the doctor and have an ultrasound I had to drive an hour and half away. Several clinics in AZ have been shut down and very few provide the procedure. At six weeks my ultrasound did now show any pregnancy. I was asked to return the next week for a second ultrasound. After yet another drive, and much more gas than I could afford, I returned and the ultrasound still did not show any fetus. I was sent to have blood work done, and several hours later was sent to the emergency room with the thought that I could have an ectopic pregnancy. I waited for five hours in the ER, just to have an ultrasound that clearly showed the fetus. That was good and bad news. It meant I was not in danger of having an ectopic pregnancy, but that I also had to make another drive the next week for yet another ultrasound. After that final ultrasound I spent another 2 weeks waiting to have the abortion. I was turned down the first time because of my high blood pressure. During the second attempt the nurses did everything they could to calm me down, and get my blood pressure down. At that point I was finally able to have the procedure. I remember laying back, holding the nurses hand and crying as soon as the procedure began. The nurse squeezed my hand and told me to “let it go”. They were tears of relief. It took me six weeks, in the middle of graduate school, in a completely new town for me to finally be able to feel free. I knew that I was not ready, and not at a point in my life, where I could have a child.

Planned Parenthood clinics need support, and the funding, to have quality ultrasound machines. I may not be the only woman who had these issues, and when my bank account is to the point where I can donate money and support clinics, I fully plan on it. I encourage others to as well.