First of all, thank you so much to Albany for creating this site and giving women like me an outlet to tell our stories in a safe place filled with so much love and compassion. 

I first contacted Albany for help in finding my records about a week ago. She was able to locate the clinic where I had my abortion and give me the number to call. This morning, I received the package with my records on a disk. 
I had my abortion almost 20 years ago at the age of 16. At the time, I lived in Virginia. I thought finding my records would be impossible, but all it took was a phone call, and a couple of faxes. Oddly, I had to fax a copy of my ID which was strange, because I didn't need it the day I had my abortion...go figure. Even though my abortion was 20 years ago, several things about that day still haunt me. I had always had irregular periods, so being late didn't alarm me. When I realized I was 5 months late, I got worried and took a home pregnancy test. Sure enough, I was pregnant, but had no idea how far along I was. When I was given my ultrasound at the clinic the day before my abortion, I asked how far along I was. I was simply told that I was OK because I was still "legal". I never really specifically asked to see the image. I just believed them when they told me I wasn't too far along to have the procedure. 
The nurse explained to me that the next morning, I would be put under anesthesia for the procedure and would need a ride home. She told me to wear loose clothing and bring extra pads with me. I was at the clinic the next morning with all the things I was told to bring and my high school boyfriend who was insisting that I go through with the procedure so I didn't "ruin our lives." 
That morning, I was given paper work to fill out. I lied about my real name. I used my first name and his last name. I lied about my age. I was only 16. I told them I was 18. They asked for my driver's licence and I told them I had left it at home. They asked if I was paying in cash and I said yes. I was told the ID wasn't a big deal since they only really needed it if I was using insurance. Since I was paying with cash they would let it slide. 
I was taken back to an operating room. The walls were green and it smelled like chemicals in there. It was also freezing. I had on only a paper gown and a blanket covering my lap. One nurse started an IV and another nurse put a mask on my face. I was out pretty quick. 
The next thing I remember was waking up alone in the recovery room. I was bleeding really bad...so bad the blood had started to soak through the blanket on me. I started to cry. I guess a nurse heard me and came in. She told me the blood and pain were normal and gave me a Tylenol. (The blood and pain were not mentioned before my abortion.) 
A few hours later, the bleeding had slowed down and I was allowed to go home. I was given some antibiotics and condoms. I was given after care instructions that said to come back if I started to bleed too much and not to drink milk with the pills I had been given. 
I got home and told my mom and dad I had really bad cramps and was going to lay down. They had no idea what I done that day, and still to this day don't know what I did. I talked my mom into letting me stay home from school the next day. I just told her I was sick. I then had the weekend to recover and went back to high school on Monday as if nothing had ever happened. 
Over the last 20 years, I have had 3 children and 1 other child I placed for adoption. I am actively pro-life. I am a sidewalk counselor and volunteer for a crisis pregnancy center. No one knows about that day 20 years ago. 
Today, looking at my records, I realized that I was almost 19 weeks along when I had my abortion. NINETEEN WEEKS. After researching some of the terminology in my records, I discovered that I had had a partial birth abortion. I had NO idea that this was the procedure they were using on me. I don't think I would have done it had they been honest with me about how far along I was or what kind of abortion I was having. 
Words can not express the anger I feel toward that woman who told me I was "legal" to kill an almost viable baby. I am angry that they so clearly allowed a minor child to have this done with no parental consent. Yes, I lied about my age. But they made no effort to ensure I was legally old enough to have this procedure alone. I was given NO other options. Adoption was never addressed. Help with parenting was never addressed. All I was to them was a girl with 1700 dollars in cash. 
I still feel ashamed of what I did. I don't know if that will ever change, but I am now more angry at the abortion industry than ever. Nothing about that day was a choice. I was pressured into going. I was still being clearly pressured by my boyfriend right in front to the clinic staff. No one asked me what I really wanted. I wasn't given the choice to see the ultrasound. I wasn't given the choice to decide if I wanted the kind of abortion they did. 
Albany, thank you for the chance to get this off my chest. For 20 years I have held this secret alone. As I type this right now with tears steaming down my face, I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. I am angry at the right people. I still blame myself for not being stronger back then, but I know now that there are many others that worked hard to make that abortion happen. I was a 16 year old child who was afraid and made to believe this was my only option. 
Getting my records today showed me that there was a team of people there to make sure I had no choice. I am more resolved than ever to show women out there that they DO have other choices. 
And for Albany to do this for women like me...to have another human being who cares enough to tell me that I am forgiven, and loved, well, that just may make this final leg of my journey just a little more bearable. 
Thank you!!!"

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