My Abortion #82: “Reasonable Access to Abortion”

Roar will publish a first-person story about abortion, “My Abortion: A Daily Story,” every day for at least 365 days.

The following public document comes from the Supreme Court of the United States’ blog

Pages 12 to 33 relate the stories of 8 women who offered their testimony as evidence in “support of petitioners Whole Woman’s Health, Austin Women’s Health  Center; Killeen Women’s Health Center, Nova Health Systems D/B/A Reproductive Services; Sherwood C. Lynn, Jr., M.D.; Pamela J. Richter, D.O.; and Lendol L. Davis, M.D on behalf of themselves and their patients.”

The women are Kate Banfield, B. Jo. Baxter, Amy Brenneman, Elizabeth Driehaus, Anne Fowler, Carol McCleary, Suzanne  Poppema, Sheila Schroeder, Leni Silverstein, and Jennifer Steffen.

Click here to read the entire document

Kate Banfield became pregnant when she was a student at Stanford. She knew if she didn’t terminate her pregnancy she would not be able to achieve the professional goals she had set for herself. This is her story.


Kate Banfield – wife, mother of three, and childhood education specialist – was a 19-year-old freshman in the class of 1990 at Stanford University when she accidentally became pregnant in the spring of 1987. Raised in Dallas, Texas, Kate’s first year of college was intense, as she juggled the challenges of coursework – exacerbated by dyslexia – with the demands of Division I rowing.

Kate returned to Dallas for the summer following her freshman year. She was living with her parents and working as a waitress when she learned she was pregnant.

Kate had always wanted to be a mother. She knew motherhood would be the most important responsibility of her life. As a teenager, she worked with children, as a mentor, camp counselor and babysitter.

But Kate also knew that if she did not terminate the pregnancy, she would not be able to continue at the university she had worked so hard to reach. She would not receive the education that was vital to her ability to succeed. At 19, she was not psychologically or emotionally prepared to be a mother. Having not found her life partner, she knew the struggles she would face to raise a child on her own.

Planned Parenthood referred Kate to a Dallas abortion clinic. She told only a close friend. On the day of her procedure, Kate and her friend circled the clinic in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid protestors. The two young women linked arms as a male protestor yelled horrible remarks close to Kate’s face. Taking a deep breath, she called out a “Power 10” in her head, a command used to drive a boat forward in a rowing race. The mantra helped her block out the man and focus on making it up the path and through the doors. Once inside the clinic, she felt her mind settle. The quiet of the place allowed her to think and reaffirm that she had made the right choice for herself. Just like the people at Planned Parenthood, those working at the clinic treated Kate with care, dignity and respect.

Kate returned to Stanford at the end of the summer for her sophomore year. During her senior year she met the love of her life, to whom she has been married for 23 years. They have three children together.

Kate used her talents working with children and her Stanford education to pursue a career supporting the education of young children. Prior to having her own children, Kate worked as a teacher, an administrator, a consultant and an advocate. She has helped hundreds of children through her work and is rightfully proud of her professional success and the life she has created for herself and family.

Following the birth of her first child, Kate deferred her career to devote herself full-time to the care of her own children. She returned to work as an educator 11 years later.

Kate was raised Catholic. At the time she had her abortion, she was concerned that her parents would not accept her decision. She recently informed her father of her abortion for the first time, and her public participation in this brief. He said that while he may not have agreed with her decision at the time, he acknowledges that it was her decision to make and in retrospect he definitely agrees with the choice she made for herself. Kate was at the beginning of adulthood when she became pregnant. Her choice to have an abortion allowed her to define and control her destiny.

Kate has never regretted her decision to terminate her pregnancy. She is deeply committed to the belief that all women should have the same access she had to a safe and carefully administered abortion. She also believes every woman should be treated with the same care and respect she experienced as they decide for themselves what path their lives should take.

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