i'm (not) keeping my baby
June 29, 2008 9:03 AM   Subscribe

i live in dallas-fort worth, texas and i'm getting an abortion.

i'm an adult and i am in a relationship. i do not have insurance.

is there anything i should prepare for? what type of abortions are open to me? is there a better place to go to have this done (i'm willing to travel if it's really worth it)? if you've gone through this were there after effects you weren't anticipating and could have prepared better for had you realized? any particular locations, doctors, etc that are better than others?

if you'd rather keep your answer private, please email me at anonformefi@gmail.com

(i know this is a hot button issue and you may have well meaning advice, but this is the course of action that i'm going to take. please don't try to change my mind)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
The National Coalition of Abortion Providers has a list of providers in Texas. For financial assistance, you might talk to the National Network of Abortion Funds or the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:21 AM on June 29, 2008

Information on the types of abortion can be found here.

Information on medical abortion (abortion pill) can be found here.
posted by All.star at 9:22 AM on June 29, 2008

Hi, anon. I used to be a clinic escort at Planned Parenthood (though not in Texas), and can't speak highly enough of them. I'd suggest giving them a call - they can talk you through what services they have depending on how far along you are and any other health risk factors you might have, talk to you about what side effects you can anticipate, and most likely also let you know what your other options locally are. Depending on how badly you want to avoid protestors, etc., they may also be able to suggest what days/times would be better to make an appointment. They usually handle pricing on a sliding scale so your lack of insurance may not be too much of an issue. Or they may be able to point you at groups like one we have here in PA, who raise money to help with travel/medical expenses for people who can't afford even the sliding scale rates. Their website will also give you some preliminary information about different types of abortions.

The emotional aftermath seems to have been so very different for the women I've known who had abortions, that I wouldn't presume to even begin to guess what it will be like for you. I would suggest that even if you think it won't be a big deal emotionally at all, you find one or two people you can talk to about it, who will be able to provide emotional support for you if you do need it, before or after your abortion. If your partner can be one of those people, that's great, but try to find someone else too - your partner will be having his own set of emotions and may not be able to support you as effectively as you or he would wish.

I hope everything goes smoothly, and you are able to take care of yourself physically and emotionally while all of this is going on. I'm sorry I can't offer advice that's local to you, but I hope this is of some help.
posted by Stacey at 9:23 AM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

If it's at all possible (you are six weeks or less along), try to get RU-486 instead of a surgical abortion. You can get it at Planned Parenthood or from any OB/GYN. If it's too late for that, while I can't help you with the Texas logistics (my experience is from long ago and a different state) I can tell you what will happen (probably, unless things have changed radically in almost 20 years) at the clinic.

You'll have to go in first for an exam and then they will set the date for the actual procedure, probably in a week or two. It used to cost about $300 - $400 and you had to pay it all upfront. It's probably considerably more expensive now, so be prepared. You can't eat or drink anything the morning of the procedure. When you go in, they'll make you wait an ungodly amount of time (I finally decided that this is done on purpose, to bore you into a sort of calm, passive state.) The procedure itself is not pleasant, but it's pretty quick. There will be some pain. There will be some blood. They'll give you pads and you'll need to have pads at home - no tampax for a while.

Afterwards, you're going to be kind of out of it and it really, really helps to have a friend with you. In fact, the clinic probably won't let you drive home by yourself anyway. You'll be tired and crampy and out of it all that day and possibly the next, so try to plan a good 48 hours of nothing to recover. You may be surprisingly hungry about 5 hours later - that's when that good friend goes and gets take out for you. You may be unutterably sad - that's partially hormones and will pass just like the tiredness and the hunger and the sort of numb feeling.

After the first couple of days, though, you'll probably feel physically fine. After the first 48 hours, the blood will be more or less like a normal period and it will kind of restart your cycle at that date. Emotionally, there are sometimes some more lasting effects - depression, general sorrow, etc - so be as kind to yourself as you can for a while and be ready to take steps if necessary (therapy, antidepressants, fish oil, etc.)
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:27 AM on June 29, 2008

You might want to read this thread. It was very helpful to a friend of mine who was trying to make the decision between medical and surgical abortions.
posted by kimdog at 9:46 AM on June 29, 2008

I've been a clinic escort too, and I'd like to add to what Stacey said. Please prepare yourself for the possibility (rather, the almost inevitability) of protesters. The amount of vitriol that WILL BE directed at you is shocking and IMO, inhumane.

In Illinois, the antis have to stay beyond the property line of the clinic. I don't know the laws in Texas. Find out (certainly you can ask the clinic about this kind of stuff). If there is any possibility that an anti is allowed to come close to your car, make sure you have someone to drop you off as close to the door as possible. If you think that hearing something ... not nice ... said to you or shouted at you will be troubling, wear an iPod and play something loud enough to block them out.

Funny thing is, those people who claim to care so much about your well-being on the way in will be nowhere to be found on your way out.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:49 AM on June 29, 2008

You - and others in your position - probably should be made aware of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, 'fake' clinics run by anti-choice advocates.
posted by Orb2069 at 10:04 AM on June 29, 2008

Take a friend. If you're having a surgical abortion you won't be allowed to drive home. If you're having a medical abortion, you might appreciate the support. If taking a friend isn't an option, arrange for a cab to pick you up if you're having a surgical.

In Texas the protesters have to stay off the property, but that means that they'll be on the sidewalk. Technically they have to be walking on the sidewalk, or else that's loitering, and they're not allowed to block your car, or impede you in any way as you try to drive/walk onto the property.

I totally second the advice to just give the clinic a call and ask them whatever is on your mind.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:05 AM on June 29, 2008

I just reread my post and wanted to be sure it was clear that when I said "your other options," I meant your options for non-PP doctors or clinics, not adoptions or crisis centers or whatever. Hopefully that was clear, but better safe than sorry - I am all for people making their own decisions about this and I'm sure you've made the decision that's right for you.

As long as I'm posting again - if you have any questions about the protestor / getting into the clinic thing, please feel free to send me an email. I don't know the Texas laws but can tell you what it's like in PA.
posted by Stacey at 10:15 AM on June 29, 2008

Please thoroughly check out any Planned Parenthood clinic before you undergo any sort of major treatment. Throughout my years in in Los Angeles I've found the doctors to be great, but the rest of the staff to be brusque, uneducated, and rude - not something you need when going through something psychologically delicate.

I'm sure you can find an actual gynecologist there that would suit you well. Please consider that before you take the Planned Parenthood route. Bedside manner means a lot when you're undergoing surgery. I honestly speak from experience.

I wish you the best.
posted by Kloryne at 7:25 PM on June 29, 2008

In other words - I guess I'm saying Planned Parenthood should be your choice if you're absolutely broke. Otherwise, I would advise you to see better care.
posted by Kloryne at 7:27 PM on June 29, 2008

*seek* better care, rather. Heh.
posted by Kloryne at 7:28 PM on June 29, 2008

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