During the summer after my junior year, I returned from boarding school to my parent's home in D.C. just as they were leaving for their annual vacation. Of course, I had to throw a party. During the party, I went upstairs with a guy I had a crush on for years. For the first time in my life, I had sex without a condom. I thought very little of it, other than how excited I was that I had finally gotten this guy, and in a few weeks, I returned to school for my senior year. After a while, I realized that I hadn't gotten my period.
I was at an arts boarding school as a dancer and I knew I would be kicked out of school if I carried this pregnancy to term. Also, I had already been accepted to college and I knew I could not go with a child.
I went to Planned Parenthood in Boston. I did not tell my parents and I told very few of my friends. When I got there, I realized I had two problems: money and permission. The abortion would cost $400 and I had no money. Also, in Massachusetts, if you were under 18 years old, you needed either parental permission or judicial permission to have an abortion.
In order to deal with my first problem, I knew I had to get money from the guy who had helped create this problem. Calling him was terrible. First, he didn't believe me. Then he got mad. Finally he wanted to know how much money I needed. I asked him for $200 because I figured that this was half his issue, half mine. I didn't know how I would come up with the rest of the money and in fact, I ended up borrowing it from the guidance counselor at my school. The second problem was much harder to solve. I was not going to tell my parents. I was embarrassed and angry with myself.
Planned Parenthood set me up with a lawyer who would go to court with me. She was very nice and comforting. She met me outside the courthouse and we went in to talk to the judge together. He was an old man who seemed very intimidating. We went into his chambers and I had to tell the story of how I got pregnant and why I was deciding to have an abortion. I lied and told him that we had used a condom but it just hadn't worked. After 20 humiliating minutes, the judge approved my abortion, mostly because I had already been accepted to college.
The night before the abortion, I found a church. I sat by myself outside of it and prayed. I had never prayed before in my entire life. I asked for guidance and more importantly approval, or at least vindication. I wandered back to my dorm confused and nervous. I wished more than anything that I had someone to hold my hand.