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I haven't talked about my abortion, to anyone, since it happened six years ago. I was 19, in college for a medical profession, and thought I was in love. When I was 18, I started dating a guy who was older and more experienced than me. I wasn't a virgin when we met, but I wasn't on any birth control either. We used condoms at first. He complained they took away all the sensation. He convinced me he had impeccable timing, and we should try pulling out as a birth control method. I was easily convinced...

I realized I hadn't had my period in almost two months. I was in denial about being pregnant and delayed taking a pregnancy test until I told my boyfriend about what was going on. He had come to my hometown to visit for the weekend and we got a hotel room to be away from my parents. We drove to the grocery store in silence. When we bought the pregnancy tests at the checkout, I remember the cashier saying, "have a nice night." I wanted to jump across the conveyor and rip her throat out. On the way back to the hotel I made up my mind. My only option would be an abortion; I had over four years left to finish my doctorate and couldn't afford to have a child.

After both pregnancy tests turned positive, I cried the hardest I ever have in my life. I cried and screamed for hours. By the time I fell asleep, I was so dehydrated I was dizzy. The next day, we went to a local clinic to confirm the results. They asked what my plan was and, without hesitating, I answered. The nurse gave me information for a clinic across town.

At the other clinic, I was informed that I was past the point of taking the abortive medications and would need to have the surgical procedure. This was even worse news, because I had plans to backpack across Europe with a high school friend in a couple weeks. They couldn't fit an appointment in beforehand, so I had to go to Europe almost three months pregnant without telling a soul. We ended up cutting our trip short. I was so sick, I couldn't hold a single bite of food down, and I lost a significant amount of weight over 10 days. I claimed it was a stomach virus and still tell people to this day that's why we cut the trip short.

I have a faded memory of the actual procedure. My boyfriend was there the entire time, holding my hand. I remember digging my fingernails into his arm at one point. I remember in the waiting room afterwards, someone said, "I like drinking gatorade when I know I'll be sick, because it tastes good going down, and it doesn't taste terrible coming up." I remember going to the same hotel where I took the first pregnancy tests and passing out for the rest of the day. I remember feeling nothing but relieved afterward, and six years later, I still have no regrets.