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Jill's Story

Note: The following testimony is excerpted from the book Giving Sorrow Words: Women's Stories of Grief After Abortion by Melinda Tankard Reist.

My boyfriend and I had been going steady for over 12 months, sure we were going to wait until we got married. I was 16 and a virgin, but we saw each other every day and one time the petting went to the point of no return. I had just had an appendix operation and I thought that was why my period was late.

Think again: sure enough, I was pregnant.
By three months my pregnancy was starting to show. My boyfriend and I were really happy about it and I bought my first maternity dress. One Sunday night, instead of going to church, we decided to tell my parents. Their reaction took me totally by surprise. They told my boyfriend, whom they never liked anyway, to get out.

Their only words to me were, "You are having an abortion!"
ABORTION! That was something that had not even entered my head. I loved this baby growing in me; I didn't want to kill it. But I wasn’t asked what I wanted.
The next step was an appointment with the family doctor. Yes, no worries—hadn't he arranged the same thing for his daughter when she got into trouble? Anything to help a friend.

Dad told me how one of his girlfriends had become pregnant and had an abortion and years later had thanked him that she had. I didn’t want to know; all I knew was they were trying to kill my baby.

My boyfriend and I were going to run away. I saw him waiting outside in the car that night but Mum and Dad just wouldn’t go to sleep so I could sneak out and in the end I fell asleep.
A couple of days later Dad and I flew to Sydney (Australia). We went to see another doctor and I was taken to a hospital with chandeliers. I can still picture them as if it was yesterday. The nurse came in to give me my pre-med needle. I begged her to let me see the doctor. "You will see him in the [operating room]," she told me.
A group of about 15 women were sitting in the waiting room.

There were two open doorways and one closed door that led to the operating room. A nurse continually walked past one doorway with a stainless steel bucket with a lid on it. I had nightmares about that bucket for years.

Even though it has been almost 23 years, everything is so clear in my memory.

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