The news came months after a leaked opinion draft suggested that the court had already issued this ruling, but there remained some hope on behalf of pro-choice advocates that the final opinion would be somewhat less radical.
It would seem, however, that is not the case. And the issue of whether abortion is legal or illegal in the United States will now be left to the states to decide, individually.
Obviously, this is a complex issue and a deeply personal one, so we approach sharing the following stories with you not as a “QED” argument in favor of abortion, but rather as a perspective on the real-life ways in which access to abortions has affected the lives of the women who responded to internet threads asking:
“Women who have had abortions: What were your feelings immediately after wards and what are your feelings now about it?”
Caution: Some of these stories discuss issues that may be upsetting to readers, so please take caution.
1. “I was in a long-term relationship with my now-fiancé, stable, and financially secure. I just plain did not want a baby, and I still don’t.”
“I had a surgical abortion, and I did not have any intense emotions that some others talk about. It felt no different to me than any other doctor’s appointment. I wasn’t happy or sad, and I wasn’t unsure or scared. I didn’t have doubts or wonder if I was doing the wrong thing. Afterward, I was happy to know it was over because I knew I didn’t want a baby inside me. I just went home, had pizza, and went to bed early due to the pain killers and mild anesthesia I was given. The next day continued on like any other.
Maybe I’m callous, but it wasn’t a traumatic or emotional experience for me. I didn’t struggle with the decision. I knew what I would do the second I found out.
At the time, I did wish I heard more stories like mine. Almost all abortion stories sound traumatic, with girls feeling a mix of shame, regret, and sadness. I didn’t have a hard time deciding to end it. Forcing an unwanted child on someone will do more damage to the child.
I could’ve given a child a healthy and stable two-parent home. We could also afford it. But I didn’t want to. Neither did my fiancé. I just turned 30, and we still don’t want to. I was OK with my choice then, and am still OK with it now. It was a selfish decision. It would have been even more selfish to bring an unwanted child into the world.”
2. “I had a live birth out of wedlock. The bulk of my family is very conservative and judgmental. I was ostracized immediately by all my siblings… My siblings eventually reconciled with me three years later and accepted me back into the family after I had chosen to return to attending church. When my child was 13 years old, I was unexpectedly pregnant out of wedlock again.”
“I told no one in my family except one cousin who drove me to the hospital for the abortion. I chose abortion because I am positive my siblings would have repeated their behavior again and this time my living child would be old enough to witness it, understand it, and feel the pain that my family members caused.”
3. “The moment I found out I was pregnant, it was overwhelming. I felt immediately trapped, I felt my life was over no matter what I would do, that there would be no turning back and this was my future from now on.”
“If you are a man and can’t relate: think about finding out your body has failed you and developed a gross tumor. Every day that tumor eats your body more, changing everything from your bone structure to the shape of your body. Its nutrition is all the hopes and dreams you ever had for your life. But the nightmare doesn’t change after 9 months, you are trapped for life. You are supposed to sacrifice your health, savings, education, and everything for that tumor. The worst part is that people around you (people you don’t even know) are telling you that a tumor is a huge blessing and you should accept your part because it is your “part”.
On December 14, 2011, I had an abortion. I was 17 years old. I had been with my ex for two years then and still had one year left in high school. I already had doubts about our relationship, it was definitely not on a solid base… In short, everything in my life would be so much worse if I was a mother right now.”
4. “I had one in 1969. I had to travel to the UK to get one where I had some relatives for a support network. The father was an idiot who would have ruined my life if I had been tied to him with a child forever. Best decision ever. No regrets then. No regrets now.”
5. “I was 19 when I had an abortion. I was on meth, my boyfriend at the time was on meth, and he was incredibly abusive toward me.”
“I had been kicked out of my parent’s house. After I told my mom I had just found out I was pregnant, she let me come home. I initially agonized over the decision to terminate the pregnancy, but then I began to see things clearly.
What would stop my ex from abusing me in front of the child? How long would it take before he abused the child? Would I even make it through the pregnancy unharmed? I was young and naive and high and thought that maybe he would change and become a great boyfriend and father. Then I laughed at myself for even entertaining that idea and began to focus on cold hard facts: I was hooked on meth, and I had been using regularly throughout the pregnancy and had no way of knowing what kind of damage I had caused. That was the deciding factor.
Nothing about my circumstances was good for a child. I had the abortion, and today, 16 years later, I know that was the best and wisest decision I could have made for myself at that time. It took another six years before I finally kicked the shit for good, and I still believe I made the right decision to terminate. I am still relieved that I was able to see beyond me and make the right choice.”
6. “I’m one of those older women who had a surprise pregnancy right after my third and youngest child turned 18.”
“I knew right away I couldn’t do it again; I’d be 63 when this one turned 18, which was the age my mother died, and her mother as well. I’d been a mother literally all my adult life, having had my first when I was 17. My significant other isn’t in the best of health either. It was an easy decision to make together.”
7. “I was euphoric. I know that sounds awful, but hear me out. I was 17 and had just escaped an abusive relationship with a much older man. I was still dealing with his harassment when I found out I was pregnant. If I had his child I’d never be free of him. My first thought was suicide. When I stopped panicking, I made the appointment. Some might ask why I just didn’t opt for adoption. He would never sign away his child. I couldn’t hide a pregnancy because he’d find out.”
“Now: I don’t think about it often, and it’s still a relief when I do. It is my belief that my child waited for me to give her a better father. I know that both of our lives are a thousand times better than they would have been had I had her with my ex. TBH, I doubt I would have survived to the end of the pregnancy.”
8. “I had [an abortion] this last spring. I found out I was pregnant during my break on an eight-hour shift at my shitty minimum-wage job. I immediately knew that I was going to have to get an abortion.”
“Afterward, I was just so happy to not be sick anymore. I couldn’t keep anything down except cooked ham slices, and I was just excited to eat something.
I knew I had made the right decision, and I felt no guilt. However, I felt dirty. I felt ashamed. Not depressed about the lost pregnancy or anything, but I had always considered myself a ‘good girl,’ and I felt like a failure, a disappointment, and like I had been tainted. And I was afraid to bring it up because it’s such a polarizing topic that people feel violently strong about. I have always been pro-abortion, but the societal stigma of the act weighed on me for months without me even realizing what had got me so down.”
8. “A couple of years ago, my now ex-husband and I were looking to start a family. He then cheated on me and wanted a divorce. Not long after, I found out that I was pregnant. Baby trapping a man does not lead to happiness, so I aborted.”
“I was sad, but it was mostly due to my failed marriage. I’m so relieved and from that experience I came to realize I do not want children whatsoever.”
9. “To be honest, I was super angry that I got pregnant. I have always been hyper-vigilant about birth control and have never missed a pill.”
“I was raised religious and thought that the process would be more emotionally difficult. I was anxious about the pain and the hormonal shift, but immediately afterward, I felt mainly just exhausted and cramped up.
As for how I feel four months later? I honestly don’t ever think about it. I don’t feel guilty. I sometimes count the weeks of how far along I would be in the pregnancy and imagine how I would cope with that. I live in poverty and have a tough time holding down a job, and I’m dealing with my mental health and past abuse. I’m really glad I was able to have the abortion.”
10. “Immediately after my abortion I started laughing out of relief. Sure it may not be a ‘classy’ time to burst out laughing, but I couldn’t help it. I remember someone in the room saying, ‘she’s distraught,’ and I said, ‘No, I’m just SO GLAD to not be pregnant anymore!’ Years later, still relieved.”
11. “I had three miscarriages. They have wanted pregnancies, and my husband and I had to go through fertility treatments to conceive. My second miscarriage ended with me in the hospital and I could have died due to a hemorrhage. These were first-trimester miscarriages, and I don’t think most people understand how dangerous even early-term pregnancies can be. When I became pregnant again, we knew early on that something was wrong.”
“Rather than wait any longer for a potentially life-threatening situation, a heartbreaking long night in the hospital, or have a D&C, I chose to terminate at home with medication at 9 weeks.
Because I didn’t need surgery, I was able to conceive my second child the very next month. I am pro-abortion, no matter the circumstances, because it’s no one’s business. But politicians and judges are trying to enact policies that could be downright life-threatening for women like me.”
12. “I don’t regret mine at all. Pregnancy ruined my life. I’m still having life-changing side effects years later.”
“I needed an abortion to save my life and yet I still had to wait two weeks to find someone willing to do it. I literally said goodbye to my family and fiancé because I thought I wouldn’t make it. I almost didn’t. My organs were failing. No one cared about my life, but they certainly cared about the cells that were killing me. Abortion for everyone, for any reason. We need to take back control of our bodies.”
13. “Years later, I’m still relieved. I am glad I did not have to have my rapist’s child.”
14. “I had one last year. I can’t tell you the amount of women who told me things like, ‘You will regret this,’ or, ‘You will feel a guilt inside of you for the rest of your life.’ I didn’t feel this way.”
“I knew what was best for me, and it wasn’t a child. I couldn’t afford one. I was still in college, and the dude wasn’t even my boyfriend.
Immediately afterward, honestly, I felt relieved. I still feel relieved and thankful that we have the technology to safely terminate pregnancies.”
16. “I’ve had two. I felt nothing but relief after. The first one was because my ex got me pregnant on purpose and then forced me into it. It made me realize how manipulative he was and forced me out of that relationship.”
“The second one was an accident. I had just moved to a new city, started a new job, and was in a temporary living situation until I found something more permanent. I would have not been able to take care of the child and I didn’t want to be pregnant.
I’m so, so glad I was able to have safe abortions both times.”
17. “I had one a year and a half ago. It was a one night stand and I was dumb, but he is equally to blame. As soon as I found out, I knew I didn’t want it.”
“Having the abortion was an easy choice for me. I am in Australia and I count myself very lucky that I can easily access it. I feel no regrets and I wasn’t sad. I don’t mind talking about it. I think the more open we are about these conversations, the less taboo it will be and the harder it will be to ban it. I understand that some people may find it hard but it’s an important topic to talk about.”
18. “Two years in, I feel so happy that I had it done, as I would never be where I am in my life now. If I ever do decide to have a child I want to be able to give it the life it deserves, and to have had a child with someone I can trust.”
“I now have a loving partner and a future to look forward to. I am thankful every day for the healthcare available to me in the UK.”
19. “I’ve had two, both over twenty years ago, and feel nothing but relief piled on relief, with a side of relief, drizzled with a fine relief reduction and sweet, sweet relief for dessert.”
20. “I’m a very nurturing mom of two children. I did not have the resources to have a third, so I had an abortion. Zero regrets right afterward and still no regrets eight years later.”
Some responses have been edited for length/clarity.