NOTE: Trust Women Week overlaps with the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and reasserts our firm commitment to reclaiming the future of reproductive decision-making in 2012. Throughout the week, we will be honoring women’s experiences and voices by featuring a different story from The 1 in 3 Campaign January 21-27.
Roe v. Wade was decided 39 years ago today. In honor of that decision, we are highlighting Judy’s story of the dangers of illegal abortion. During the 1960′s, Judy helped run a referral service so that women could find doctors who would provide medically safe (though still illegal) abortion care. Unfortunately, Judy’s college roommate – like so many other women – was unable to find a safe, compassionate medical care.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.
JUDY: One of the worst stories was actually one that I knew very well because it was my college roommate, who was in law school in Washington. This would have been the mid-60’s and she was lucky enough to find – I guess lucky is a questionable word here… She got the name of an illegal abortionist and it was the best she thought she could find. She had to meet them on a street corner in downtown DC. As soon as the car pulled up she was blindfolded, forced into the backseat, driven somewhere… She claims she was driven around in circles so she couldn’t try to remember the route and was disoriented, given no kind of anesthesia or painkiller or anything… Was quickly operated on and – still with a blindfold on! – was dumped on the street in Virginia. They didn’t even have the decency to take her back to the District.
So there she was bleeding on a street corner, didn’t know where she was, in pain… She had her abortion alright, but aside from the financial cost which I remember was $800 – which was quite a bit in the mid-60’s – she also paid a very high cost with her body and her emotions…
There were other stories like that, women who did what they could do themselves or went to butchers. We saw them sometimes after to be cleaned up, but what we were hoping to do of course was to see them before.
The 1 in 3 Campaign is a grassroots movement to start a new conversation about abortion — telling our stories, on our own terms. Together, we can end the stigma women face each and every day and assure access to basic health care. As we tell our stories and support our family and friends as they come forward with theirs, we begin build a culture of compassion, empathy, and support. No one should be made to feel ashamed or alone. It’s time for us to come out in support of each other and in support of access to legal and safe abortion care in our communities.
It’s time to start the conversation.