If You Are Unwillingly Pregnant
What you can or might do if you are unwillingly pregnant and having difficulty obraining a safe and legal abortion. How to avoid coercion into child-rearing.
(Also some suggestions for those not yet pregnant.)
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This article is addressed to women who have (or in future might have) an unwanted pregnancy and who are unwilling to be coerced into child-rearing. It's about recognizing that while denial of a safe and legal abortion may compell you into carrying to term and delivering, no one can coerce you to parent the resulting infant.
I am assuming that you have already given careful thought to your plans for your own life and to your willingness or lack of willingness to accept the 18 or more years of compromise and servitude you'd have to put in if you were to raise this infant. If you haven't yet done that, do so now. Ideally this careful thought should take place before your first exposure to the risk of conception.
First of all don't give up too easily on getting a safe and legal abortion..
If you don't already know the abortion laws of your state, learn them today. There may be some route to a safe legal abortion. Some states while generally unfavorable to abortion do still allow it in cases of rape or incest, so if that is your situation be sure to use that. (Do NOT make a false claim however.) Most states still allow abortion if your life is in danger, some do if your health is endanger. So find a sympathetic MD who will agree that such danger is present. (Note : a woman MD is more likely to agree.)
If your pregnancy resulted from incest, confront the male involved and insist that he pay full costs of your getting a safe and legal abortion, whether in your own state or somewhere else. There's always going to be a somewhere else where it is safe. Remind him that if this pregnancy results in a child, DNA testing will confirm that he is the sire and he will be subject to felony conviction for incest as well as 18 years of paying child support. Try not to sound like you are conducting blackmail, just asking for his help in avoiding a birth that would have very unpleasant consequences for you both. If he won't cooperate, try his spouse (if he has one) who may be a lot more helpful to you (and possibly vendictive towards him)..
If your conception occurred while you were still under the age of consent (whatever that is in your state or the state where conception took place), this pregnancy is the result of Statutory Rape. The consequences of conviction for this would be unpleasant for the male involved. Talk to him or to his parents or his spouse. Insist that they pay for all the expenses of abortion, so much cheaper than having to support you throughout the pregnancy and then support the child. Again, try not to sound like you are black-mailing them, just trying to get them to provide a civilized solution to a problem that they are co-responsible for causing. The easy way out of a nasty situtation.
If your state law requires parental consent or notification and you are under-age (thus subject to this requirement), remember that you have the alternative of getting consent from a Judge. First consider whether you are really afraid to tell your parents. Maybe run this by another relative who you are sure you can trust who could advise you ? If you do tell your parents but they are unwilling to consent, remind them that when you go before a Judge, that Judge is going to ask a lot of questions and your answers will be on the record. Do your parents really want any family "dirty laundry" hung out in public view ? Also inform your parents that if you are coerced to give birth, you will instantly be surrendering the unwanted child for adoption via the Safe Haven law. Of course you will need to get information about which Judges are likely to approve and which ones are opposed. Planned Parenthood may have this information. Or a local Abortion Rights or local Feminist organization may have even better information.
If your state law allows abortion when the fetus is damaged, defective, likely to be deformed, or some similar condition, be sure to tell the doctor (or the Judge) about any situation that might be pose likelihood of such damage. You might "confess" that at the time of conception you were drinking alcohol frequently and that this continued until you realized you might be pregnant. (You might not have suspected pregnancy until some time after the missing menstration because you were using a normally reliable contraceptive.) Of course once you realize, you stopped drinking and you will remain sober if you can. Because even a small amount of alcohol during pregnancy, probably especially in early months, can result in serious fetal harm, and because adopters will not knowingly adopt an infant with such harm, the doctor or Judge may well realize that preventing the birth is in the best interests of the state. Alternatively perhaphs you were exposed to an illeness or virus that is known to cause fetal harm. Perhaps a friend was ill with an illness that might have been Rubella ? Perhaps you were visiting an area where mosquitos carrying the Zika virus have been found ? Perhaps you were exposed to some chemical known to be carcinogenic or teratogenic (ie tending to cause fetal damage) ?
Your state law probably does allow abortion in the case of rape.If your pregnancy resulted from rape (or if conception date is close enough) and if you reported same to police immediately and got medical attention immediately, you should be able to get a safe legal abortion. If you delayed in reporting and failed to get prompt medical attention, you risk not being believed or authorities will claim that you are not credible, thus you will be denied this greatly needed abortion..
Travel to a state with better laws and good clinics if your state laws are obstructive or prohibitive. This is probably the very safest choice, and it is actually quite legal. It may be difficult, scary, expensive, but it is safe and legal.
Use the internet to obtain the Abortion Pill (actually 2 pills), which is perhaps not quite as good as a clinic abortion using these drugs, but still a ton safer than is normal parturition
There may be an underground clinic run by women and well trained medical personel that performs safe illegal abortions. Back in the era before Roe, there were quite a few of these. The best known was "Jane" in Chicago, which performed 11,000 abortions in the course of 4 years.
DO NOT go to a "back alley" abortionist. DO NOT go to Tijuana. DO NOT take serious risks. Better to endure the pregnancy, the birth, and instantly surrender the infant into a Safe Haven as described below.
Do make damn sure to get the best possible prenatal care. This is critical for your future health. It also improves the chances that your unwanted infant will be healthy and thus will be wanted and adopted by a responsible and loving home.
Learn the Safe Haven laws of your state so you are prepared to use them. These laws, which exist in every state, allow you to deposit an infant up to a certain age (usually 3 days, but longer in some states) at a designated Safe Haven site (hospitals almost always a designated site, fire house often also a site) and walk away child-free. You surrender all parental rights and are freed of all parental duties.
If you plan a home birth , make sure your midwife or doula is in complete sympathy with your plans to relinquish immediately after birth.
If you plan to deliver in a hospital or medical birthing center, announce at the momment you enter that you are not keeping this infant. If possible sign the relingquishment documents before your labor goes any further. Let the birthing attendants know that you are rejecting this infant. Absolutely refuse to let them place the neonatal against your body (if they try, tell them "take that slimy thing away or I will throw it on the floor") , and absolutely do not allow them to place the unwanted infant at your breast. Do not allow the infant to suckle. Suckling will unleash a cascade of hormones and neurochemicals that may cause you to temporarily abandon your thought out plan to relinquish. But you can regret that hormonal madness for the rest of your life.
Sign the documents (if not already done) and leave the facility without the infant. If the hospital refuses to let you leave without the infant, grab your cell phone and call 911 to report that you are being held (kidnapped) against your will. (You can check yourself out "against medical advice" if necessary, though carefully consider if this is medically safe for you. ) If you can retreat to a location not revealed to the facility , that's ideal. Turn off your cell phone (honestly, it's possible to survive a few days without a cell phone.) If possible, stay with a trusted friend who supports your decision .
Learn about contraception and make damn sure you use it for every (hetero) sexual encounter.
I especially urge you to learn about barrier methods (diaphragm or condom) as they are safest in terms of side effects.
Condoms are ideal in many ways, though like all other methods they do have a non-zero failure rate.. Learn which condoms are the most reliable (Consumer Reports has tested and reported on this several times in the past.) and make damn sure to use them for every encounter. Carry your own supply. Condoms have the added benefit of protecting you from AIDS and other STDs.
Of course if you are (hetero) married and your husband says he really does intend this to be permanent (not one of the 50% of marriages which end in divorce or desertion), the safest method of contraception is vasectomy. (However this won't protect against AIDS and other STDs).
Learn about "Plan B" also called "Morning After" implantation prevention medication. Obtain a supply ahead of need. If you cannot buy it locally OTC or with a friendly MDs prescription , either get a trusted friend to obtain it for you and ship it to you or buy it over the Internet. This is only effective if taken very soon after possible fertilization. Take it within a few hours of any condom breakage or slippage or any other event that might have led to fertilization.
Abortion Pill , usually known as Mifeprex or as Cytotec. This is not currently available OTC. You will likely have to buy it over the Internet. This is a very safe means of abortion during first 8 weeks. While it would be safer to do it with medical supervision, doing it on your own is still much safer than the risks of ordinary pregnancy and birth.
In case of rape , report same to police immediately. (This is the best use you will ever make of your cell phone.) Inssit on immediate medical attention, with Police following the paramedics to the hospital. Make damn sure you are taken to a non-Catholic and Pro-Choice hospital that will provide you with Plan B to prevent pregnancy from resulting. Make damn sure that a Rape Kit (evidence collected from your clothes and your body, especially including seminal fluid = DNA of the rapist) is collected and keep after the police to make sure it gets processed. Be willing to testify in court so your rapist gets convicted and thus denied oppertunity to continue his misogynistic hobby.
(By the way, if you have a largish dog at your side whererever you go, your risk of rape and other forms of assault will be greatly lessened.)
Learn the abortion laws of the state in which you currently live. Decide whether those laws impose barriers which would be difficult for you to over-come. Keep aware of impending legislation. Vote only for candidates who are committed to keeping abortion legal and obstacle free or to removing all current obstacles..
If you live in a repressive state, emmigrate to a better state. There are still states where you do have an unimpeded right to choose. This move may be expensive, so start your dedicated savings account right now. A healthy savings account also gives you the needed travel money if you choose to remain in your state but would travel to another if you ever need to do so in order to obtain a safe legal abortion.
Even where fully legal, abortion can be expensive. Start a dedicated savings account right now. This account is sacred to your reproductive self control. Don't use it for any other purpose (except maybe to save your adored dog's life).return to top of page
|site author Pam Green||copyright 2003|
|created 4/12/03||revised ?/?/03|
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