I Had to Drive to a Different State to Get Abortion Pills
This article is part of POPSUGAR's 50 States, 50 Abortions, a large-scale storytelling project that aims to elevate the voices of people who've had abortions. For more information about how to find an abortion clinic near you, please visit The Cut's abortion service finder.
I was 19 when I conceived. The guy I was seeing really wanted to hook up before we went to this Christmas party. We were out of condoms, and at the time, I wasn't on birth control because I was living with my parents, and my mom "didn't believe in birth control."
My boyfriend said he would just pull out, and I told him that was a terrible idea. We started arguing about that. We went back and forth. I didn't want to be late to the party. So finally, I just gave in.
Fast forward to maybe five weeks later. It was Jan. 5. I remember looking at my period-tracking app. It said that my period was supposed to start on my birthday, which was the following day. My period never came, which seemed very uncool of her, because I'm fairly regular.
I decided to give it a couple of days. A couple of days turned into four days, and then four days turned into a week. Finally, I called my boyfriend and said, "We have to go to Walmart, and you're going to buy me a test, because I think something's wrong."
We picked up a test and went back to his place because I couldn't take it at my parents' house. I told him I didn't want to know what the results were. If the test was negative, then we could pretend this didn't happen. If it said anything else, I didn't know what we would do.
I peed on the stick and stepped out to eat the lunch we'd picked up on the way to the store. He popped out of the bathroom three minutes later and said he had great news. I was like, "It's negative?" He responded, "What? No. The good news is I'm not sterile, and neither are you, subsequently." I flipped out. I threw my sandwich onto the table and immediately burst into tears.
I decided I had to leave. I was supposed to meet up with a friend at Dunkin' Donuts, so I grabbed my purse and my work outfit and booked it there. I was trying to keep up a facade, but my friend noticed that I seemed off and asked if I was OK. I told her things weren't good and that I thought I was pregnant. "Oh god," she replied.
I knew I couldn't go through with it because the relationship I was in wasn't healthy, and I wasn't interested in being a single mom in Amarillo, TX, where I lived at the time. So I met up with him the next day and told him I didn't want to continue with the pregnancy and I needed him to pay for the abortion. Initially, he was supportive. He had to get a loan from the bank to pay for it. He told his mom, who had to cosign on the loan, that he needed the money for school books.
We very quickly realized that there was no Planned Parenthood in Amarillo. The closest one was in Lubbock, and they didn't perform abortions. So the next best thing was the one in Albuquerque, NM. He got one of his stoner friends to drive us all the way to Albuquerque, where we had rented a hotel room. They were smoking the entire ride over. I remember being really nauseated because I was pregnant. He made fun of me for not being able to deal with the smoke very well.
Finally, we got to Albuquerque. My appointment was the next day at 9 a.m. We were met by protesters who screamed at us as we walked in. My boyfriend was arguing back with them.
Once inside, I remember they told me, "Your insurance actually would cover this. Are you sure you want to pay out of pocket?" I was terrified of my parents finding out, so my boyfriend paid for it, and then instead of waiting with me in the waiting room, he went back outside to yell at the protesters. He returned by the time my name was called, but they told him he wasn't allowed to come back with me.
I had an ultrasound first, and I think the doctor was concerned that my boyfriend was making me get the procedure because he asked, "Even though you have a perfectly healthy eight-week pregnancy, are you still sure? Are you sure you're not being forced to do this?" I was like, "Yes. I'm sure. I don't want to have a baby. I especially don't want to have a baby with him." (Editors' note: While some states require doctors to provide state-mandated "counseling," as of the time this piece was published, New Mexico does not, according to AbortionFinder.org.)
They gave me two types of pills. They give you one at the doctor's office to take in front of the doctor, then they give you the second one to take at home the next day. I took the first one, and then the doctors and nurses — who were really sweet and supportive — sent me home. We drove back to Amarillo. The next day, I took the second dose.
It was really, really painful — probably the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life. My boyfriend was there, but he was only supportive the night of the abortion. The very next day, I woke up and decided to take off from work to rest. He insisted that we had stuff we needed to do, so I ended up running around town with him all day.
Eventually, that relationship ended, and I didn't really have a support system outside of that. Amarillo is a very conservative town. I didn't want to tell my parents, and I didn't know any friends who had gone through it. I didn't trust anybody enough to tell them without feeling like they would judge me.
So I just carried it by myself.
— Anonymous (she/her) (Texas), as told to Chandler Plante