I Had to Drive Hours to Another State to Get an Abortion
I was going through a really rough patch in life in 2014, and in November, I found out I was pregnant. I was working three jobs — 90 hours a week — as a single mom and just trying to take care of my two kids.
I also get really sick when I’m pregnant — as in bed rest — and I knew that I couldn’t afford to have another child. I made my decision based on what was right for me and right for my family at the time.
I was living in Boonville, Missouri, and working as a server and a bartender at three different restaurants. The wife of one of my bosses told me about Hope Clinic in Illinois. I could have gone to Planned Parenthood in Kansas City, which is 1.5 hours away, or St. Louis, which is 2.5 hours away, but I would’ve had to go to either of those clinics a total of three times because Missouri mandates a 72-hour waiting period between your initial appointment and the abortion, and then there is the abortion and the follow-up appointment.
I think those waiting periods are absolutely ridiculous. If someone is going in for an abortion, she already knows what she wants to do. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had to wait three days or not. I wasn’t going to change my mind.
I chose Illinois because there was no waiting period and I could go to the clinic just twice. Hope Clinic is in a suburb of St. Louis about 2.5 hours away, but it would mean I was able to take less time off of work by going to Illinois. It was also gas money for two days instead of three, and I was just so broke at the time.
I drove to Illinois with a friend of mine, and we had to be up there by 6 a.m. I feel very privileged that I could go to Illinois. So many women in this part of Missouri are low-income. I was struggling, but I still could go. I still had transportation to get there and the father helped me pay for it. But so many women don’t have those things, so they have no way to get all the way to Illinois or make the trek three times to Kansas City or St. Louis. They don’t have the resources to get there to get an abortion.
I’m now married and have two more children, 2-year-old twins. I met my husband a couple months before my abortion through my group of friends. We were just friends, and then we started dating around February of the following year. And we’ve been together ever since, for five years. Things just kind of progressed pretty naturally after I met him. And now I’m a stay-at-home mom because the daycare of the twins would have been more than my salary.
The twins were a surprise, but it was different because I was in a much more secure place. I was only working one job. I had a stable relationship. Everything in my life was completely different than when I had gotten pregnant two years prior. I was pretty excited.
- As told to Sheila Cosgrove Baylis