Her story came out in bits and pieces as we continued to talk: like so many of my patients, she had always considered herself to be against abortion and never imagined that she would wind up across from me in this counseling room. She did not think she would cope well after the procedure and she was struggling with whether it was the "right" thing for her to do. At twenty-one, she was a few years removed from legal childhood yet still dependent on her parents, and she said that they were the ones making her terminate the pregnancy. "My parents will kick me out if I have a baby," she told me. "I'll be homeless. I won't have anywhere to go."Nicole certainly seems empowered by abortion, no? And while the abortioneer originally planned against allowing Nicole an abortion that day, she relented at Nicole's persistence and allowed her to have an abortion despite Nicole saying she was being forced by her parents.
You told me you're being forced. You told me you don't want to have an abortion. We can't see you when you've told me those things.
"I'm being forced, but I have to do this. I don't WANT to do this, but I HAVE to. You don't understand! It's my decision too. I came here for an abortion, and I have to have an abortion."
Nicole, what you've told me worries me. We find that women cope best after an abortion when they've been able to come to terms with it as their decision. Take some more time. The procedure, the cost won't change between now and next week. Come back next week if you decide this is the right thing for you. We'll still be here.
"NO!" she exclaimed. "I planned for this today. I can't come back next week. Nothing's going to change! You don't understand, I don't HAVE a choice. Yeah, I'm going to feel awful afterwards, and yeah, I'll probably regret it in a way, but it'll be worse otherwise – I have to have an abortion today!"
That makes it twice that Nicole's abortion wasn't really her choice. First, her parents force/coerce her to get an abortion and then she can only get the abortion if she can convince her abortion counselor that she's ready.