Last summer, due to a false negative pregnancy test in my first trimester, I didn’t learn about my pregnancy until I was 16 weeks along. I stopped getting my period, due to my birth control pill, about three months before I became pregnant, so I was used to having irregular to nonexistent bleeding. The pharmacy I used switched my birth control pill unbeknownst to me and during that week of my body’s adjustment to the new pill was when I became pregnant. It occurred to me during these few months that I should take a pregnancy test to be sure my lack of bleeding was normal and my universities’ reproductive health clinic assured me it was common on the pill and I even took a pregnancy test, which came back negative. Months passed and I began to experience severe morning sickness, though I ruled out pregnancy due to the false negative pregnancy test and when I finally took another pregnancy test after some undeniable symptoms, I was shocked to learn the truth.
When I first discovered I was pregnant, I knew from the beginning that seeking an abortion was the right decision for me, and I began to research the different options available. I made an appointment as soon as possible at a local women’s health clinic and it wasn’t until the ultrasound that I learned I was further along than I initially thought. Due to the false pregnancy test I was inaccurately estimating I was still in the early stages of my first trimester. I was 16 weeks along which significantly hindered the services accessible to me. The clinic was unable to provide me with the services I needed because they didn’t have the resources to provide a dilation and evacuation abortion and sent me home feeling incredibly panicked and significantly less in control of the situation. The stage of my pregnancy immediately made finding the services I needed arduous and after learning that almost none of the clinics in Colorado could accommodate a second trimester abortion, due to overcrowding, I was forced to fly to Chicago, where my family lives, to have the procedure done there.
Though I knew my parents would be supportive of my decision to have the abortion, it was not something that I wanted to share with them, solely because it was a personal decision and I’m a private person. After learning that multiple Chicago clinics could get me in for the abortion right away, I made the decision to inform my parents about what was happening, though I wouldn’t have if I had been able to access what I needed in Colorado.
My story isn’t at all uncommon but the privilege I had in being able to afford a last-minute plane ticket, the actual cost of the procedure, time off work, and supportive family members was unique. It’s imperative to recognize that the issues I faced with accessibility, disproportionally harm low income people and people of color. People who can’t afford an abortion when they first find out about their pregnancies and are forced to save up or who don’t have the resources to travel far distances to access one of the few clinics in their state that will provide late first, second and third trimester abortions.
I shouldn’t have had to go to a different state to access the services that I needed, and I shouldn’t have had to tell anyone that I didn’t want to tell about my pregnancy, but I was incredibly lucky to have had the support of my family and the financial ability to cover the costs. Too many people in this country do not have these privileges regarding their choices and their bodies which is completely unacceptable. Attacks to further exacerbate existing abortion accessibility issues are constantly being made and I’m committed to fight back and stand with communities of color, queer and trans communities and low-income communities for the rights we all deserve.