In 1971 abortion was still illegal in the U.S. It was during the summer after my sophomore year of college that I learned that I was pregnant at 19. I was living in Arizona at the time, so unlike many, I was fairly close to the border and had possible resources close by. I remained on campus while going to summer school so my parents knew nothing about this. I never told them.
I don’t remember how I found out about a particular women’s group that helped me; more than likely I was looking for resources on campus. I was lucky because they vetted doctors in Nogales, Mexico, to find those who would complete the procedure safely. I remember it costing $300 which I asked my boyfriend for because I sure didn’t have it. He was home in Pennsylvania.
One of the young women from the group went down to Mexico with me. Leaving the car on the U.S. side, we walked across the border. We went to the doctor’s office. She stayed with me in the “exam” room, holding my hand through the D & C I endured under local anesthetic, but I still felt the entire procedure. I could feel the instruments all the way up inside my belly. It was extremely painful. Afterward, the doctor warned me that if I ran a temperature or had pain in my belly to go see my own doctor. The woman from the group and I bought some trinkets before walking back across the border to keep any suspicion from arising. When we were asked if we had anything to declare, I was half inclined to say something though I will keep that part to myself. Needless to say, I did run a fever and did have to go see my own doctor a day or two later. I was given antibiotics. Yes, I was one of the lucky ones. It could have been so much worse.
My boyfriend accused me of keeping the money when he came back to campus. What an SOB! I dropped him quickly. He had always been bad news.
Featured image by Julie Frontera
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