Abortion Story #291: Adele’s abortion in 1965

Roar will publish a first-person story about abortion, “My Abortion: A Daily Story,” every day for at least 365 days. Below is an excerpt beginning Adele’s story. She opens up about having an abortion before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized care nationwide in Roe v. Wade. Adele speaks of being too afraid of being arrested to seek help for dangerous complications. Read her full narrative that was published in Cosmopolitan.

Editor’s Note: Recalling her story, Adele addresses her fear that a current Congressional proposal would impose her “terrifying” experience on others today. The bill, HR 490, would unconstitutionally ban abortion at six weeks of pregnancy. Read more in Rewire.

“In my early twenties, I found myself pregnant. It was 1965, and I was 23 and new to sex. There was no sex ed in my school, so I was never taught how easy it could be to get pregnant. This was back when having a baby out of wedlock was shameful, and women who did so were hidden away until delivery, and their babies were labeled “bastards” the rest of their lives. Babies were often surrendered for adoption, since there was very little support for single mothers. I was terrified.

My only alternative was abortion, and it was illegal. If you managed to find someone to do the procedure, they were not usually a medical professional. The procedure was not done in a sterile – or frequently even clean – environment. While I was fortunate enough to have the procedure done in my apartment, the person who performed the abortion was so worried he would be caught that he made me wear a blindfold the entire time, so I never knew what his face looked like….”

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