Forgive me if I’ve told you this story before…The one about how I thought I was pregnant once just from heavy petting when I was sixteen? It was a ludicrous idea because my pants never left my leg but somehow I was convinced that grinding with clothes on while listening to the Simple Minds got me knocked up.
My period was about a week late. I had no experience with it being late before. My mind went to that story mother told me about the woman who was impregnated by a bullet that had brushed a man’s scrotum and passed by her ovaries (Never found out if that story was true or not).
My boyfriend said I was crazy, to not worry about it. How could I tell my mother who thought I was the great black hope – college bound and destined to make her happy that she had decided not to abort me? I decided that I would have to abort and not tell anyone- not even my mother.
My reason for not telling her?
Simply because she would kill me.
Where would I go? How would I pay for this? There were so many times that I sat next to her on the sofa, wanting to say something but I couldn’t. She was my best friend and I could not bring myself to ask for her help. Why didn’t I? After all she got pregnant with my brother at 15. Shouldn’t she understand? Didn’t she tell me to never keep secrets from her? Even if I was pregnant.
So why did I lie by omission?
Because I was afraid. That’s all and did not want her to know. I needed her help but fear kept me from speaking to her and I am almost certain that fear kept this 15 year old in Seattle from speaking to her mother.
From this article in KOMO News dated March 23, 2010
Mother furious after in-school clinic sets up teen’s abortion
SEATTLE — The mother of a Ballard High School student is fuming after the health center on campus helped facilitate her daughter’s abortion during school hours.
The mother, whom KOMO News has chosen to identify only as “Jill,” says the clinic kept the information “confidential.”
When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15 year old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy.
“She took a pregnancy test at school at the teen health center,” she said. “Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion.”
Jill says her daughter, a pro-life advocate, was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours all without her family knowing.
“We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus,” said Jill. “They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility.”
The Seattle School District says it doesn’t run the health clinics at high schools. Swedish Medical Center runs the clinic at Ballard High and protects the students’ privacy.
T.J. Cosgrove of the King County Health Department, which administers the school-based programs for the health department, says it’s always best if parents are involved in their children’s health care, but don’t always have a say.
“At any age in the state of Washington, an individual can consent to a termination of pregnancy,” he said.
But Jill says she not only didn’t have a say in her daughter’s abortion, but also didn’t know about it.
“Makes me feel like my rights were completely stripped away.”
At 15 years of age, I still depended upon my mother for shelter, clothing and food. She signed my report card, my field trip consent forms, she showed up to the welfare office to prove that she was taking care of me. There were times when she did not feel like braving the Chicago winter to ride 3 buses to my high school for parent/teacher night- but she did. She could have said “get the hell out of my house Afrocity” when ever she got angry with me- but she didn’t.
So why didn’t I give her the gift of trust?
Long story short. I was not pregnant. Never before had a red spot made me so happy. I told my mother afterward and she basically said had I told her earlier, she would have told me that I was NOT pregnant and saved me seven days of acid stomach and chewed pencils. ” I am your mother and I have a right to know, ” she said. “You could die from an abortion if you don’t find the right person- that’s surgery you know…you need help getting home.”
I am pro-choice. I always will be but- and this is a big but. I believe that a child underage should notify their parents.
According to Washington state law, this mother did not have to give consent but I can feel and understand her outrage over learning that her daughter was taken to have an abortion during school hours. What if her daughter came home that day and hemorrhaged in the upstairs bedroom while mom was gleefully downstairs watching Jay Leno?
A mother should know. And to the young women out there, if you are in trouble, give your parents a chance to help you get out of trouble. They would be happy to know that you trusted them rather than a stranger. If your parent is the enemy, as the case in the movie Precious, then you go to a trusted ADULT, family member etc.
Autographed Letter Signed,