Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis


When I graduated from college in 1971, jobs were hard to come by, many of the boys I knew were headed off to Vietnam or living under the threat of same. It still kind of felt like the war would go on forever but, I was getting kind of removed from it. The males I worked with were mostly older or had escaped the draft. And, at least I had a job. And an apartment.

Birth control was a problem. Especially in that very very Catholic town. The pill was new and while the word on the street was that taking it would kill you, the females I knew would have killed for it - me included. It was very difficult for married women to get a prescription. It was impossible for unmarried women.

Condoms were sold in seedy places that were dangerous. I had a friend who had a pot dealer who also sold them. But, mostly boys/men got all whiny when using them was suggested.

So, of course, I got pregnant. I was dating a cop who was nice enough and fun but absolutely NOT someone I wanted to marry. And I sure didn't want any children. Abortions in West Virginia were easy to find and arrange - Catholic birth control - but illegal and dicey. I stewed for a while and then decided I needed the advice of my parents.

I went home and told them. The were superior. Not happy but incredibly supportive and kind. They first wanted a second opinion and I went to an OB/GYN in Manhattan. It was back in the day when the definitive test for pregnancy took 24 hours and required a rabbit die. Nice. I was, indeed, pregnant, now, what to do.

My parents were very careful to make sure the decision of what to do was entirely up to me. They let me know they would stand behind and support whatever decision I made. I wanted an abortion and they went to work.

Roe V Wade was working its way through the court system. I twas clear that it would pass and soon abortions would be totally legal but they were not yet. In the United States. There were safe-ish places to get one in Manhattan but Daddy was really twitchy about that. He grilled the OB/GYN. The doctor said that if it was his daughter, he'd send her to England where abortions were legal.

And he and Daddy made all the arrangements. They assumed Mom would go with me, but I nixed that immediately. I was already causing enough stress and expense, no need to add to that unnecessarily.

So off to London I went. At the clinic, I met a girl from western Pennsylvania and we shared a room and a mini London adventure.

Neither of us could figure out British money. We didn't have much but wanted dinner. We figured out that Chinese food would be cheap so we found a Chinese restaurant and when it was time to pay just held out our money and let them take what they wanted. Oh yeah, world travelers.

We had our abortions the next day and then went home. I got home late at night and my parents were waiting for me. They were so sweet and kind and welcoming. I remember thinking then and many times since, they way they acted was the perfect model to use when people disappointed you.

To Be Continued
Tags: tbc
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