Just three years after Roe v. Wade passed, feminist writer Linda Bird Francke wrote about her abortion experience. Her story originally appeared under the pseudonym “Jane Doe” in The New York Times but was later published in a book of essays under her own name. Her experience and feelings afterward are still so very common today. In her own words:
Though I would march myself into blisters for a woman’s right to exercise the option of motherhood, I discovered there in the waiting room that I was not the modern woman I thought I was.
When my name was called, my body felt so heavy the nurse had to help me into the examining room. I waited for my husband to burst through the door and yell “Stop,” but of course he didn’t. I concentrated on three black spots in the acoustic ceiling until they grew in size to the shape of saucers, while the doctor swabbed my insides with antiseptic.
“You’re going to feel a burning sensation now,” he said, injecting Novocain into the neck of the womb. The pain was swift and severe, and I twisted to get away from him. He was hurting my baby, I reasoned, and the black saucers quivered in the air. “Stop,” I cried, “Please stop.” He shook his head, busy with his equipment. “It’s too late to stop now,” he said. “It’ll just take a few more seconds.”
What good sports we women are. And how obedient. Physically the pain passed even before the hum of the machine signals that the vacuuming of my uterus was completed, my baby sucked up like ashes after a cocktail party. Ten minutes start to finish. And I was back on the arm of the nurse.