In 1971, a year before Roe v Wade, I was a 22 year old, married nursing student in Denton, Texas. I contracted tuberculosis and was placed on a regimen of multiple medications in an effort to control the disease. While on a new, experimental medication, I learned I was pregnant.
The physicians explained that (1) they did not think I could survive a full-term pregnancy at that time and (2) there was a better than 50% chance that the baby would suffer severe and likely fatal birth defects subsequent to the medications I had been taking. Remember this was before the advent of sonography and amniosynthesis was a rare and risky procedure that often resulted in miscarriage anyway. After much soul-searching, my husband and I agreed to terminate the pregnancy, which was legal in Texas if it were to save the life of the mother. My pulmonary specialist made a referral to an OB in my hometown who agreed to perform the procedure. The OB noted that the tuberculosis bacteria is similar in presentation to leprosy and that made sense since leprosy was the scourge of the Jews and I was, after all, Jewish. He performed the procedure in hospital and I was forced to spend the night on the maternity ward, sharing a room with a healthy new mother and here baby. I believe the doctor engineered this in order to punish me. Anyway, a year and a half later, I recovered my health and my husband and I had two children, healthy, bright, and beautiful. They are now adults with children of their own. My husband of 44 years and I are convinced that we would not have had the rewarding life we have shared or the family we produced, had we not terminated the first pregnancy. Of course we regret that the procedure was necessary and we wish we had had other options, but the science was simply not advanced enough at that time. We believe we made the right choice for us and we believe that every woman should have that choice to make.