Roar will publish a first-person story about abortion, “My Abortion: A Daily Story,” every day for at least 365 days. Below is the opening excerpt of Debbie Bamberger’s story about her two abortions. She reflects on moving through emotions of shame even as she developed a career supporting others’ pregnancy decisions. Debbie weaves in her own abortion stories as she describes becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner, an abortion provider, and an advocate who helped expand access to abortion in California. Read Debbie’s complete story that was published by Refinery29.
“When I was 19 and a sophomore in college in Worcester, Massachusetts, I responded to an ad in the local paper for phone volunteers at Planned Parenthood. I already had an affinity for Planned Parenthood. My mother’s life story included a visit to the Margaret Sanger Clinic in Manhattan at 19 to get a diaphragm — she was having sex with her boyfriend — and I had gone to Planned Parenthood to get a diaphragm myself in my hometown of Poughkeepsie when I was still in high school. Volunteering at my local clinic was a life-changing experience for me. I met women working there who opened my eyes to sexism and misogyny. I loved speaking on the phone to women seeking an abortion, providing help to them, and I appreciated the easy availability of birth control and emergency contraception.
I knew how to prevent pregnancy and wanted to, but I was also more careless in college than I had been in high school. I haven’t thought too much about my reasons for this, but I may have been testing myself and my fertility, or I may have felt cocky about the ability to have an abortion if I needed one. I had a lot of sex and took emergency contraception many times, back at a time when that meant a huge dose of regular birth control pills and subsequent nausea. But, I lucked out and didn’t get pregnant….”