“I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t even have the right to choose,” said Jane, an anonymous source, 44 of Chicago, who faced having a child in the hospital and news from her doctor that if she wanted to carry her pregnancy to term, she would have to be bedridden. And even then, it wouldn’t guarantee that she could save the pregnancy.
The overturn of Roe vs. Wade has left many people, including those in the Chicago area, having to defend why legal abortion access is so important in the first place. While others are attempting to keep the abortion ban momentum going.
Eric Schiedler is the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League in Chicago, which is an organization that participates in anti-abortion protests. The organization also does what Scheidler calls “sidewalk counseling,” where volunteers approach women outside of abortion clinics and attempt to talk them out of getting an abortion.
Scheidler said that what they’re trying to do is keep women from making a decision he thinks they’re going to regret and that will affect them poorly in the long run.
While some, like Sheidler, share the notion that no matter the circumstance, abortion goes against their values, others have found that it wasn’t until they had a first-hand experience that their belief systems changed.
According to Jane, she spent her whole life being pro-abortion rights but thought she would never make that choice personally. Then at the age of 44, she found herself in a completely unpredictable circumstance.
In the early stages of Janes pregnancy, she ended up having to go to the hospital due to hemorrhaging, while at the same time her child was also in the hospital. “There was no way that I could lay in bed with my feet elevated during the time that my child needed me, the child that was already born needed me the most,” she said.
Maria Flynn, 54, of Chicago said that at the age of 18 she also made the decision to get an abortion. “I feel that as women we have a right to do whatever we want with our body,” Flynn said. “I would not want to have a child brought into this world in an unfair circumstance, without financial support.”
While Flynn was considering getting an abortion, she had to navigate around the religious beliefs of her family and the overall attitude surrounding abortion at that time.” “Protesters with signs, people yelling at you, telling you that you’re a murderer. It’s not a good feeling it really wasn’t,” Flynn said.
For Flynn, the actual experience of the procedure was also difficult, “I’ll never forget the smell of that room. I’ll never forget the feeling of that table. I’ll never forget the last words that the doctor said to me before they put me to sleep,” Flynn said.
Jane said that there’s a certain phycological healing that follows an abortion, and it was not an easy decision. But she was grateful that the choice was there for her.
Despite abortion being a mentally and physically grueling procedure, studies show that most women do not regret their decision to get one. According to the Turnaway Study done by the University of California San Francisco, 95% of women report that having an abortion was the right decision for them over five years after the procedure.
“It was not an easy decision, but the choice was there. The choice was not taken away from me,” Jane said.