Clinic Workers Tried to Coerce Teen into Having Late-Term Abortion

When Darla was 17, her mother took her for an abortion. She tells her story:

“I didn’t want to do it, but it was like I was being dragged. The first thing they did was an ultrasound, and I think I was 24 weeks pregnant. So I had a week legally left. I saw her [the baby] actually on the ultrasound, of course. I was 17 years old, I wasn’t going to say, “Turn the machine around; I don’t want to see.” And when I saw her, I knew that I wasn’t going to do it.

sonogram of baby at 24 weeks

So we spent the whole day over there, crying and arguing with the doctors and staff like that. When it came down to signing the piece of paper that said I could die during the procedure, I said no, I wouldn’t do it. We went all the way up to the director of the clinic. They were saying it was best for me, because I was young. My mom was really pushing for it too, so they stood by her. Maybe she was trying to get people to convince me. …They were trying to convince me that it was safe, that in years nobody had died or whatever, that it was relatively safe.

I went in thinking that I was going to do it, but when I saw it on the ultrasound, I couldn’t do it.… So what ended up happening was that they wanted me to sit in on a group where they explained stuff. I guess they thought they were going to trick me and take me in and do it. I don’t know, I remember a lot of stuff that just doesn’t seem right now. So I sat through the group and they said, “Okay it’s your turn; the doctor’s waiting for you.” And I said, “No I’m sorry, I’m just sitting in on this group and I’m not going to go in.” And I asked where my mother was. They stalled for a minute, and I just got up and walked out and said, “I’m not going to do it.”…

24 weeks

So we sat outside for about an hour and a half, and three or four nurses came out at different times and said, “The doctor’s waiting, you’re ready, let’s go in, come on,” and they would take my hand and try to pull me in. And I said no, that I could not do it.”

Rita Townsend, Ann Perkins Bitter Fruit: Women’s Experiences of Unplanned Pregnancy, Abortion and Adoption (Alameda, California: Hunter House Inc., 1991) 39-40

Darla had her baby. It’s easy to imagine most 17-year-old girls caving in to that kind of pressure.

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Author: Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a writer for Live Action and a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians and Consistent Life. She lives in NJ.

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