- Apr. 21, 2010
- 7 Comments
Editor’s note: About 3 million women experience unexpected pregnancies in the United States each year, and most are between the ages of 15 and 24. At an age when life’s opportunities start to present themselves and a picture of the future is coming into view, these women are faced with a difficult choice they aren’t ready to make: abort the pregnancy or have a baby. Although most people approach abortion as a philosophical and moral issue, these women approach their decisions from the most intimate and life-changing perspective. These are the stories of four Kansas women, including two KU students, confronted with a pregnancy they weren’t prepared for and a choice they have to live with for the rest of their lives. Two asked that their real names not be used to protect their privacy.
Five months pregnant and Taé had never felt the baby kick until today, while waiting in a room at Planned Parenthood.
It kicks again. She smiles, places her hand on her slightly distended belly to feel where the kick came from. The baby kicks again. And again. And again.
She yells for a nurse.
“Something’s wrong. The baby. It’s going crazy.”
“Oh,” the nurse says from the door. “That’s probably the baby dying.”
The words crash over Taé, punching into her like the positive pregnancy test had five months ago.
Her baby was dying.
She hears the “Yes, yes, yes” she heard from family, friends, the baby’s father about getting an abortion. She remembers the “Never” she told herself.
Her baby is dying and it is her choice. Her choice to go to the clinic. Her choice to abort the pregnancy. Her choice.
She cries the tears she’s been holding back since she walked through the front doors with her dad two hours earlier. She cries for the decision she was backed into, the one she never thought she’d have to make.
She cries, alone.
Taé was alone in the waiting room, but she wasn’t alone in her decision. Every year in the United States, about 1 million of the 6 million pregnancies end in abortion. In 2008, physicians performed 10,642 abortions in Kansas – more than half to women ages 15 to 24, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Although nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, no two stories are the same.
Taé was conflicted about her decision to abort, but Katie did what she felt she had to do to keep an abusive ex-boyfriend from marring her entire life. Two years later, pregnant by another man at age 20, Katie had the baby but gave up her son for adoption.
Erin, at age 16, decided to keep a child conceived in rape.
Vanessa aborted five weeks into her unwanted pregnancy so she could provide a better childhood for her future children than she had.
These women all say they made the right decision for them at the time – a responsibility, they say, every woman must carry.
Scroll over the graphic to find out more about pregnancy in Kansas and the United States.
-Produced by Kayla Regan
Edited by Sarah Kelly