Story No. 555: Dr. Dalia from North Carolina

Trigger warning: This story discusses domestic violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233.

I recently saw a patient in North Carolina who traveled five hours from South Carolina to come to our clinic. She started driving at 4 AM when she got off her job as a bartender in a beach town.

She was 18 weeks pregnant (she had delayed care for financial reasons) and has a six- and a ten-year-old who are currently living with their father due to her financial and relationship circumstances.

Her current boyfriend was hitting her and refused to recognize the pregnancy (he denied that “it was his”). She had been off drugs for one year and was trying to get her life back together so thta she could regain shared custody of her kids and leave her abusive boyfriend.

She really needed a safe abortion, but she had no health insurance and very few financial resources. The clinics in South Carolina are so short-staffed that the earliest abortion appointment is usually a month away.

This may seem like an extreme case, but it’s unfortunately a fairly common story I hear when meeting patients.