Why Abortion? More Letters
Reproduced from Abortion is a Blessing by Anne Nicol Gaylor.
OVER THE YEARS a few hundred letters have been written to the ZPG Referral Service in Madison, requesting abortion referral information.
Most of them are brief: "I would like information on abortions. I am forty-eight, married, and for health reasons cannot bear another child." Or, "Please send me some (any) information on abortion. I cannot phone you as it's a party line." And, "Read your personal interest ad in the paper that abortion is legal and available. Would you please send us more information on this. I'm married and we have seven children now." And, "We would very much appreciate any information you might be able to provide concerning abortion for the mother of a family that is presently sufficient."
Parents also wrote:
Can you please help us? We have an eighteen year-old daughter that is seven weeks pregnant...She is four months from graduating from high school and if the school finds out she is pregnant they will kick her out. She is also accepted at a college and wants to go very bad.
Now that abortion is legal in Wisconsin we thought we could get a doctor to do it. Everyone we talked to refused. . . . We have to have some help soon and make some definite plans for her, or she might look for help by herself, and I'm afraid of what would happen. She is our only child, and we don't want anything to happen to her. Please try and help us....
Desperation is conveyed in a great many of the letters.
Since I've never done this before I really don't know what to ask. I am pregnant, five weeks, and I definitely cannot have a baby. My family and my job would be over. . . . Please, I am almost going crazy. I don't know what to do any more. I need some kind of information very soon.
I am twenty-four and found out yesterday I am pregnant. . . . I have made up my mind an abortion is the only answer as the man I am pregnant by is the guy I have been going with for four years, but in that four years he has only worked three months and I know he won't change. Also, he is half black, and even if I wanted a baby, it wouldn't be fair to the baby. It is hard enough making it in this world without being part black and without a father and without a decent home.
Anyway, I have made up my mind that it's the only solution and want it done as soon as possible. Please help me as I haven't told anyone except you. Please call me collect as soon as you get this letter.... I need help soon!
Please, please help me. I am absolutely sure I am pregnant, but I cannot possibly have a baby. It would not only postpone indefinitely completion of my much loved college work, but my having a child would bring untold problems to my parents, both of whom are prominent members of this community.... The man is at his home, 300 miles away, so I am as usual when it comes to an abortion, alone. Please help me.
I found your address in a Planned Parenthood booklet, and I would like to know if you can help somebody like me. I just found out that I am pregnant and I am eighteen and a half and unmarried. I can't tell my parents because it would hurt them too much and also because I am scared.. . . Please help me. I am so scared I don't know what I am going to do.
Sometime ago I heard your comments on the radio about legalizing abortion, agreeing with you all the way. I am a widow, fifty years old, and find that I am two months pregnant. I am putting two children through college with one other at home. You could write me or call me, but the only thing in telephoning is that someone would be listening in as they do in a small town. Please try to help me-the sooner the better. Thank you.
Here are a couple of reports:
I had wanted to write you earlier and thank you for your most gracious and kind assistance on the phone .... I was truly very desperate and so very sick .... The type of surgery was absolutely unexpected since I was given total anesthesia, thus feeling no pain or cramps. I had expected from my past experience six years ago in Chicago to be in great pain.. . . Again, my deep thanks for your efforts on women's behalf.
I want to thank you for your prompt reply to my letter and for the information given me. I don't think I have ever felt so down in my life, but when I arrived at the clinic in Madison they made me feel so at ease and they were so very kind to me that I shall never forget it....
I think the following letter from a young married woman in rural Dane County is my favorite. Surely no document of its size ever radiated more appreciation cheerfulness, and good will. The hospital I referred her to required a psychiatric note stating that an abortion was necessary for her life and health, hence the reference to the psychiatrist.
Dear Mrs. Gaylor:
I am writing to inform you that my abortion was a great success.
I went first to the psychiatrist and got a letter the same day I went to him. He was very kind in every respect.
I called the doctor you suggested the same day, and he told me to come to Milwaukee as soon as I could. That doctor is just a fabulous person, and I would recommend him to anyone who has to have an abortion. I went into the hospital the fourth of September, had surgery the fifth and came home the sixth. The surgery was a D & C with a general anesthetic. The hospital was everything a hospital should be: very clean and everyone on the staff was so very nice. I was so impressed by the hospital that I wrote a nice thank-you card to them for the many kindnesses they showed me while in the hospital.
I had no pain after surgery or when I got home. Once in a while I had a slight twinge, but it didn't amount to anything. All I can report about the doctor and hospital is that I can't say enough good things about my experience.
I would like to thank you so very much for being so nice and willing to help me in my time of need.
This gracefully expressed letter came from a sixteen year old girl for whom I had scoured the state seeking a doctor to help her.
Dear Mrs. Gaylor,
I've wanted to write so many times before, but never knowing what or how to say thank you, which seems hardly enough to one who has done so much, I have put it off until now. For this, I am very sorry.
I have so much to be thankful for and all of this I owe to you. This summer would have been so difficult for me if you hadn't taken the time to help me. Instead these past few months have been so wonderful. I find myself appreciating even the little things that I am able to do, knowing that without your help I couldn't be doing much except hiding at home.
Next month I am going to visit my father. I know I wouldn't have been able to face him if I had been pregnant. You see, he expects so much of me, as most fathers do of their daughters, and I just couldn't have hurt him like that. I know I should have thought of that a long time ago, but unfortunately I didn't stop to think about anyone but myself.
Some people say that sooner or later I'll regret having had an abortion, but I know that if I had gone through with my pregnancy there would have been much, much more to regret.
Now I can start over, a much wiser and I hope, more mature person. So many girls don't get a second chance. Thank you for mine.
And, last, a most untypical note from a harried young man seeking information for his girlfriend:
Dear ZPG: I am the dummy who meant to send you a request for information and sent you my sociology lecture notes instead. Here is the letter I meant to send. J.B.
Back to the Table of Contents.