Why Early Abortion Matters

A Woman Who Ended Her Pregnancy within 12 Hours from Finding Out with Her Partner 

Why coming in early matters

DOCTOR:

why-early-abortion-mattersSo, you just finished a procedure about a half hour ago, and I thought something that would be important to talk about is how quickly you came in after finding out that you were pregnant. So, could you say a little more about that – when you found out – what the process was about getting in our door and getting this done?

PATIENT:

Yeah. So, I had a feeling for I guess, a couple of weeks, and found out last night – took a couple of tests – and figured out that I was pregnant and getting in as soon as possible was the most important thing for me. Because, I knew anymore time to think about it and my head would spin.

I was just completely immersed in this whole ethical kind of thought process and I think the best personal decision was to go ahead and get an abortion at this time. And, I was just so lucky to find you guys, and to be able to call immediately, be taken care of in such a thoughtful manner, and be able to just do what I needed to do, as soon as possible.

D: So, you found out last night, at what time?

P: Oh gosh, it was probably like 7 o’clock.

PARTNER: 7:00 pm

D: Okay and then you called at 7 this morning?

P: Yeah.

D: And you were here in my office – at 8:30?

Why Our Office?

P: Yeah and this is after calling about 10 different places in New York – doing a lot of research online – I guess, calling the top first results page – everyone – making a couple of appointments – and just didn’t feel very comfortable with anyone I talked to – or not being able to get ahold of anyone.

The email – I sent a couple of email requests to make appointments and that didn’t seem very like – reliable to me. I wasn’t going to wait around for someone to respond to an email, that’s ridiculous.

So, the fact that I was able to call at 7:00 am – was really, really important.

PTR: It was great.

Abortion politics and how laws differ in different states in the United States

D: It’s a controversial topic.  You may know some states require 24 hour waiting periods.

P: Oh, I didn’t know that.

D: Yes, it’s what they call the TRAP laws – Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.  They’re often in states where it’s harder to get an abortion, so people have to travel.

They have to talk to them – and then leave – and come back 24 hours later, sometimes encountering protesters twice.

It’s a passion of mine because I feel like it’s very paternalistic to think that you don’t know when you want to end your pregnancy, that somebody else needs to to tell you that you have to wait 24 hours.

I just thought maybe you have some thoughts on that, having just gone through what you went through.

P: I would be very agitated to find that out. I clearly was not educated enough about the laws in different states. I’m actually from Kentucky originally, so definitely there are more conservative policies there, and I’m use to this being a controversial topic, in social circles. So, I cannot possibly imagine being told that I would have to wait

PTR: 24 hours

P: I think – because for me time was of the essence.

D: Can you say more? Why was time of the essence? More emotionally?

Emotional Decision

P: Definitely, emotionally. As we kind of discussed, hormone wise I have probably been acting kind of funny recently. I think emotionally it would’ve made a big difference.

D: It seems to me for many women and I personally would have been in this situation – my experience is, it’s extremely hard to know you’re pregnant and know you want to end it and not be able to do that. It’s kind of hard to go on with any else going on in your life. Would you agree with that?

P: Yeah! For me, it’s a complete focus. This would dictate my entire life. Not to say I don’t ever want to make the alternative decision in the future – but I should have that control. I should be able to determine that time, I believe.

D: Yes.

P: I don’t think it’s anyone else’s decision.

D:  I was saying to you, I was particularly happy that you saw the pregnancy test, you knew what you wanted to do and you came in and took care of it. I was saying that, some of my more difficult patients have been women that get that pregnancy test. They pretty much have that same initial reaction but then they second guess it. For one week, two weeks, three weeks, four weeks – and I just had this woman who had been going back and forth, back and forth for six weeks. She was just completely tortured, and by the time she got in here, compared to everyone else she is the one who is really having the hardest time recovering from this.

P: I can understand that, it’s just a maternal feeling. I think it’s natural that we want to reproduce right? And I could completely have that same reaction.

D: The hormones are very confusing. That’s what I say to women who are on the fence is, it’s going to get harder to make your decision not easier, because your hormones double every 48 hours. So, in a week you’re hormones are 16 times what they would’ve been today, so just keep that in mind. If you think it’s going to become clearer, what you want to do, it actually becomes harder and harder to do the procedure. I think women sometimes just second guess that initial intuitive response, to seeing the pregnancy test. I think most women know quite quickly but then they because, of our culture and what’s out there women often go through this kind of torture decision making process.

P: You have other variables to weigh and other people’s experiences to take into account and you can’t help but you know, kind of second guess your instinct.

Experience of bringing your boyfriend with you for the abortion

D: Yes, so you brought your boyfriend in and how did that go? How did you both feel doing this together?

P: So much better.

PTR: I was very happy to be able to be included in the process. It was honestly a little hard at first because it’s entirely her decision so it’s always a little hard for a companion to know what to say, or when to say it, because I’m not going through it. And as much as I’m trying to understand what she’s going through, all I can do is support her and respect her choice and her decision. There isn’t much I can say but be there for her. So this is just what I think anyone should and can do, just let the other person take their time to reason for a couple of minutes and whenever they’re ready have another person come with them to support them throughout this time. Because it is emotional, and it’s a small procedure but it does require you leave your home and change your routine for a day, and it can be hard, so it’s important to support.

D: You were great. You were so supportive. You really were in there with her.

My hope in doing this is – the culture of abortion was set up by the feminist movement – and in a way to isolate women in the process of the clinics. Because you’re going station to station, and you’re alone doing that.

I’m a family doctor and it’s kind of a new feminism, one that includes bringing men along for the ride.

P: He would consider himself a feminist.

PTR: Yes. I’m originally from France, where Planned Parenthood is pretty easily accessible. It was always very strange, and odd to me that it was hard to find an option here. So when we found your office and obviously your reviews, with other people’s testimonies, and the clarity of your staff, it all made it very easy decision to take. Particularly because we saw that other places just did not give me the possibility to be in there with her, in any way.

P: I can’t imagine.

PTR: Yeah, I can’t imagine it for myself, let alone imagine it for her. Being able to be there with her and just hold her hand and tell her about our next vacation was great. Not only did it make me feel better, I hope it made her feel better too.

How did coming to Early Options alleviate the natural tension between a couple in this situation together?

P: Yes, definitely.

D: I think women can feel very alone and sometimes – it’s a strong word but – you know, victimized or that something’s been done to them in this situation, so that guys are responsible, but then also cannot understand what this experience is like, what the hormones are like, what the decision making is like, what it’s actually like to go through the procedure. So, I think historically it has made – it can create distance in a couple. But what I’m trying to do is the opposite. You guys made a mistake together. It was a mistake, and we all make them and it’s different to go through together and resolve it. And be there in the way that you can be, for her, so that you don’t feel so alone, that’s what I’m trying to do.

P: I can definitely say that you did a great job of that. I know last night I did not react the best way, on a personal level. I just definitely felt that way, I felt, and I knew that he’d be very supportive and amazing, but you just can’t help but feel like there’s just no way you can share these emotions that you’re going through. It’s just impossible to put into words and I think being able to share this today changes absolutely everything.

D: If you had ended up in a clinic spending 4-6 hours, coming out you would’ve felt… gone through a hard experience, and then in a way add to that tension between you, that sort of natural tension that’s created between a man and a woman in this situation.

P: Exactly.

PRT: She felt a little isolated and rightfully so because like I said I can’t feel what she’s feeling, whether its hormonally or physically. This is why as much as I share responsibility in the situation, I can only be here as a support of whatever decision she decides to take. And it makes the situation a little tricky, the fact that early terminations aren’t talked about as much as they should and are kept as sort of a taboo, whenever a woman goes through it she feels even more alone. She feels like, why is it happening to me? I think that’s what you were sharing with me. She felt like this would never happen to her. This doesn’t happen to anyone but really it’s more common than we think and it doesn’t mean, it’s not benign, but it should be normalized as something than can happen, an accident and be talked about. There are solutions to it.

P: I didn’t even know the solutions as you know I came in very uneducated about my actual options. The fact that my best friend went through it last week and we didn’t even get into the details. What choices she had and why she made her decision and she’s my best friend. It’s just very interesting that this is not something that is talked about.

D: Yes, that’s what we’re striving to do here and thank you for taking a minute to have this conversation that’s exactly what I’m trying to do and getting people’s voices out to normalize this.

P: Great talk.

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