PERSONAL ESSAY

Days before SB8 went into effect in Texas, I found out I was pregnant

I needed an abortion in Texas. Because of SB8, I had to have one at home

By "Kat"
Published September 25, 2021 2:00PM (EDT)
Pro-choice protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Austin, TX. Texas passed SB8 which effectively bans nearly all abortions and it went into effect Sept. 1. A request to the Supreme Court to block the bill went unanswered and the Court still has yet to take any action on it. (Sergio Flores For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Pro-choice protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Austin, TX. Texas passed SB8 which effectively bans nearly all abortions and it went into effect Sept. 1. A request to the Supreme Court to block the bill went unanswered and the Court still has yet to take any action on it. (Sergio Flores For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

It's the weekend, and I am having a staring contest with a plus sign. I am pregnant, and the worst abortion ban in Texas since Roe was won is going into action in a few days. My first thoughts? "S**t, s**t ,s**t, s**t," followed by: "NOT AGAIN."

I had my first abortion at 19, during my sophomore year of college. I was nine weeks pregnant. The guy that got me pregnant paid for my abortion, but did not go to my appointment with me. I remember going to the clinic three times: First, for my ultrasound, tests, and consultation. Second, for my abortion. Third, for my follow-up after my abortion.

Waiting at the clinic, I felt utterly alone. Others in the room appeared to be there with their mothers or friends. I didn't tell my mom. I am abortion-positive, I am pro-abortion. I help run an abortion fund, and I have been a reproductive justice organizer in Texas for years. Despite my work and her openness to discussing her experiences with abortion and miscarriage with me, I couldn't bring myself to tell my mother. I still haven't told her about that abortion, or this more recent one I had. I feel like I am failing her somehow by not telling her. But I don't think I can look her in the eyes and tell her.

Despite this, I endeavor to write publicly about my abortion — to tell my story to strangers, anti-abortion protesters, and random people I will never meet on Twitter. I want to tell my story because, for many of us, it feels like the walls are closing in — and providing support for each other is important.

My senior year of high school, I drove my friend to get her abortion. I held her hand tightly and we just sat in silence. I wish I could have felt that comforting grip when I was 19 and in that abortion clinic. And I wish I could have felt that grip now.

Sitting on the toilet in my bathroom with the fan on, I clutched my pregnancy test and slumped down with my head on my lap. Tears dripped down my cheeks; I lacked the strength to wipe them off. All I could think about was how much of an idiot I was.

How could this happen? I rued. I take my birth control religiously. My partner didn't even finish inside of me.

I reckoned that if God were real, this was his way of playing a sick joke on me. Like many, I did everything right and still ended up in this place.

I took five pregnancy tests later that day. All positive.

Every. F**king. One.

Now, I had a serious problem. I knew all of the clinics in the city I currently lived in were completely booked until September 1st. I did the math: I was definitely already more than six weeks pregnant. I have a few reproductive health conditions that make my menstrual cycle irregular, and adding birth control into the mix makes it even more unpredictable. With SB8 looming, Texan clinics were already overwhelmed — and I knew I was not going to be able to make an appointment at a clinic to be seen in time. I also knew that I did not want to be pregnant at all. I needed to have an abortion.

So I had one. At home. 

I had an abortion at home because I couldn't access an abortion before the abortion ban took place — my access was already stripped from me before September 1st.

Texas has a dramatic political history with abortion. Roe v. Wade was ruled in Texas. And now, we have an almost certainly unconstitutional six-week ban and a $10,000 bounty up for any pro-life anti-abortion vigilante who reports people for aiding in someone's abortion. That includes people like me; I could get sued for $10,000.

All of this was on my mind while I had my abortion at home.

Once it was over, I was nauseous. I transitioned between my bathroom and my bed, lining my nook with absorbent pads and fighting a headache that stayed with me for days. I vomited several times.  The pain was unbearable; I took the maximum amount of pain medication that I was allowed, and slipped in and out of sleep. I bled. A lot. But when my bleeding began to subside, a relief fell upon me.

And for the first time in nine years, I prayed. 

SB8 is going to force many people, including me, to find alternative ways to have abortions. That's because abortion bans do not, and never have, stopped abortions from happening. Abortions happened before Roe v. Wade, they will happen after Roe v. Wade, even with SB8 in effect. Do you hear that, Governor Abbott? Abortions post–six weeks are still going to happen in Texas. And I hope you have many restless nights knowing that, and thinking about it.

Abortion bans have always been about control, and we have seen this through the enactment of the Hyde Amendment. Rosie Jimenez was a young Latina woman living in South Texas, and was one of the first women to die as a result of the Hyde Amendment, which prevented her from using her Medicaid to cover the cost of a safe abortion in a clinic. Across the street from the clinic where she had an abortion before the Hyde Amendment, Rosie died from complications. She had a voucher in her purse that would have covered the cost of an abortion at a clinic, but which she couldn't use.

 Rosie Jimenez died because of abortion bans, trying to build a life for herself. Many others have died under similar circumstances. As our elected officials are trying to control people and limit their options for safe abortions, the Rosies of our country are forced to take matters into their own hands. While many people have more access to information on safe abortion practices that they can manage themselves, I still think of the people that are going to go an unsafe route— due to lack of knowledge of other practices, fear, or access.

SB8 is a spit and slap in the face to Texans. But it will not stop us from providing abortion care to our communities. Abortion clinics, funds, providers— we are here for you.

No matter what.


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"Kat"

"Kat" is a young Texan and works with a mutual aid collective providing funding assistance and support to Texans seeking to have an abortion.

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