Woman on welfare bullied into abortion by her social worker

A woman who had a baby on welfare describes her social worker’s attitude when she became pregnant a second time:

“After having our baby in May, a caseworker at the Department of Social Services made us feel like we’d been irresponsible for having a second child. She lectured Jim [her husband], telling him, “You can’t keep your wife barefoot and pregnant the rest of your life. You’d better do something about it.”

She wanted to stop us having children and insisted on making an appointment for us to go to Planned Parenthood for counseling and birth-control supplies – conveniently located right next door.

At the clinic, I was examined and told that I had a bacterial infection.… They decided that I couldn’t have any kind of birth control, so my husband became the target. The counselor told us that Jim had to have a vasectomy. They really put the pressure on him, making him feel like he was under an obligation to be sterilized. Of course, Medicaid would pay for it. (They were willing to do anything to keep “welfare folk” from reproducing.) We didn’t want to do it, but they told us there was a 50-50 chance the vasectomy could be reversed later when wanted more kids and had more money. Afraid we would have our finances cut off of we had another child, we went along with it…”

She then found out she was pregnant

“I was happy immediately. “All right!, I just knew it!”… When our caseworker found out that I was pregnant with our third child, she was just disgusted with us. She couldn’t believe that we had been so “irresponsible.” She urged us to have an abortion, saying, “You just can’t go around having babies the rest of your life.” After making us feel like dirt, she reassured us that Medicaid would pay for the abortion, and that we could always have children later.…

Above: 7 weeks, below: 9 weeks

On August 18, 1975 I had an abortion. The doctor told me he would slowly dilate my cervix with a series of metal rods and suction out the “blob of jelly called fetal tissue.”

I wasn’t given anything for pain, the nurse had to hold me down. The nurse kept saying to me “it will be over in a minute, honey… Oh come on now, it doesn’t hurt that bad. Quit being such a baby!”

Afterwards, our caseworker didn’t ask about the abortion, or how I felt, she just wanted to know that I had it done.”

The woman had many problems with guilt after her abortion. She turned to drugs, and became abusive towards her other children. She dealt with extreme guilt, and eventually joined an organization dedicated to helping postabortion women.

David C Reardon Aborted Women: Silent No More (Westchester, Illinois: Crossway books, 1987) 273 – 276 

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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 Network. She lives in NJ.

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