Story No. 92: Patient from Iowa

When I was 19 I had an ectopic pregnancy. It was overwhelming. It was incredibly painful and scary, and it was also terribly disappointing to my parents – who had to be notified because I was on their insurance. The first part of treatment was a straightforward endoscopic surgery to save the ovary. Unfortunately, my hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels didn’t drop so the next step was an abortion.

I’ll never forget a disapproving male doctor sneering at me and saying, “I don’t do abortions.” I’ll also never forget saying, “Then get me someone who will.”

I was lucky, and they had someone else on staff and I was able to finish school and build a career before starting my family when I was ready, 11 years later. The memory of a man telling me I didn’t deserve his medical care, even in a perilous situation, is still painful. Whenever I read about legislation written by men about women’s reproductive rights, for a moment I’m 19, in agony and being humiliated by a doctor again. I’m so grateful to organizations that fight relentlessly for all women and our health. I’m ready to fight back.