I’ve studied what happens to people who are denied an abortion for an unwanted pregnancy. Here’s what I learned.
By DIANA GREENE FOSTER
When I was in high school, I learned a secret my grandmother had kept for decades: She’d had an abortion. The story came out after she passed away and my grandfather announced that, at her request, in lieu of flowers donations should be made to Planned Parenthood. For me, as a naïve teenager, it was a surprise that someone so maternal and loving would have had an abortion. I had been taught – through TV shows, movies and books – that abortion was something that irresponsible people do to avoid childbearing. I am sure this is how many people still see abortion.
The story my grandfather told was that my grandmother became pregnant early in their marriage, during the Great Depression when she and my grandfather didn’t have the jobs, money and security to provide for a child. So she traveled from New York to Puerto Rico to get an illegal abortion. Later she went on to have three children: my dad, my aunt and my uncle.